Category Archives: Features

Whether we blog about something of interest around the world or around the corner, our Features category examine graphic design trends and viewpoints that are interesting and helpful.

The official logo of the London 2012 Olympic games is turning five next year. Like most growing children, this logo’s naturally developed affinity for trouble-making is the defining characteristic that we’ve come to love as proud global guardians of the Olympic identity.

The initial reports, post unveiling ceremony, were scathing and unkind. Blogs and their readers were quick to pan the logo and spew hate at Wolf Ollins, the agency involved in it’s creation. Elbowruminations was also on the scene back in 2007 covering the hype. Kevan defined the logo nicely with a simple equation: Inukshuk + 1989 = the logo.

With the Games quickly approach, has this $840,000 investment appreciated in value since it’s rocky introduction as an epileptic trigger and most recently, a zionist symbol and a sure sign of a pending alien invasion.

I am tempted to say yes.

Not because it’s nice but because it’s still horrible and horrible is what we want.

Remember 2007? It was boring and so were we. Entertainment was defined by the ipod clickwheel! The design inspiration for the year – 2007 was at the height full of swooshy istock swirls. Ack! Just look at us now. We don’t even press buttons anymore. Fashion has no rules. In fact, dressing up in old clothes with huge out-dated glasses is the height of hipster fashion.

If you ask me, as gaudy as the logo appeared five years ago, I think we’ll be ready for it. With Arab Spring in full swing and the “no reason riots” in Vancouver and England complete, people are tired of behaving properly and following boring rules.

As we have learned, violence causes unwanted destruction and pain – which is inconvenient. We need something less violent to break us out of this deep rut of political and economical dissatisfaction. What better way to express our discontent than through awful design. This logo does not conform to any laws. It remains physically unwilling to bend to any social norms. It’s belligerent, unashamed, narcissistic and itching for a screaming match with a person of authority.

It seems like that’s how we feel these days.

Which is why we have the perfect logo for London 2012.

Thank you, Wolf Ollins. You know us so well.

You know it’s picnic season in Canada when you notice the salad dressing! Kraft has recently overhauled the look, shape and ingredients of their iconic 50 variety dressing line and the results from a design perspective are truly excellent.

The previous packaging was certainly starting to show its age. The dated font choice, antiquated Photoshop effects around the Kraft logo as well as on background shapes, and even the tired looking salad photography have been replaced with a fresh, modern concept that seems to be attracting even the most dedicated meat-eaters towards entertaining leafy greens.

Another noticeable difference is the increased size of the Kraft logo, making it obvious that Kraft is trying to asset itself as a company looking to be on top in the salad dressing aisle.

The new bottles feature fresh, object oriented graphics, strong modern fonts, and a transparent label that lets the contents do the talking. The labels were printed in six colors via UV flexo on Fasson® clear-on-clear pressure-sensitive film labels. This change in labeling was in response to ACNielsen research which found that consumers prefer to see more of the actual product they are buying before bringing it home.

The new design approach that is working so well ascetically, is also influencing the bottom line. This reason for changing the look and feel for Kraft dressings was created by an unhealthy drop in market share of 4.7 percent and a continuation of sluggish sales figures. The new package design and reformulated salad dressings have resulted in sales of some Kraft salad dressing increasing 15.8 percent in the first year of sales. Adding to the positive numbers was a slimmer, lighter bottle design increasing shipping efficiencies by 18 percent.

Overall, Kraft is seeing a bigger piece of the pie at a table crowded with hungry competitors and graphic designers are seeing a better product design. It’s looks like we’re having a win-win for dinner.

Privacy. The meaning of word is changing almost as quickly as the internet is changing the way we live and work. To my parent’s generation, it meant garden fences on a quiet street. The version of privacy in the online arena is a foreign concept to them. The amount of information their children make available on the internet induces extreme queasiness.

A younger generation, growing up in the age of the internet, exhibits behaviour from an unfamiliar end of the privacy spectrum – many times without understanding the risks. As the social web blooms, the transmission of not only personal details, such as minute by minute thought updates, geo-location information and even credit card purchases become easier and faster than ever to share. As this kind of personal information moves to the web, so do the risks to this information’s safety. An older generation, feeling comfortable with the traditional concept of privacy, cringes at each new attempt Facebook makes to grow the reach of their personal information. The younger generation monitors these stories with the same interest as the local weather report knowing the risks are a part of being connected.

Despite the risks though, there is a benefit to trading-in our privacy. It comes in the form of aggregate data. By knowing how and where to share information we can influence change, save time, money and improve relationships. For example, sharing physical location in traffic can contribute to a smoother commute. Or by having the options of finding out where someone enjoyed dinner or did not enjoy a movie will improve your next outing. These examples may seem trivial but the concept applies globally. Sharing data, anonymously or otherwise, provides us with a powerful platform for change.

Facebook moderates our conversations, Foresquare and Gowalla track our activities, Twitter broadcasts our smallest thoughts, this information is sorted, shared, and turned into a complex web of data that is used by others to make informed decisions. The privacy we choose to disclose is traded-in for access to better experiences and useful knowledge. The level of knowledge available to each other is arguably directly proportional to the level of privacy we choose to keep.

I am quick to agree that giving up a certain level of privacy is a frightening proposition. Although privacy, the way it used to be known and loved, no longer seems to be an option as our relationships and jobs demand our online participation. Managing risk has become the new privacy.

Is privacy worth the risk that comes with trading it in? Perhaps our only choice is to find out.