Do You REALLY Want to be a Design “Rock Star?”

11.24.2010 / Author: Speider Schneider

Speaking on a panel discussion at the recent and fantastic Phoenix Design Week, the subject was on how Phoenix could grow to become the “Design Capital.” When the organizers wrote me to ask if I would be on the panel, I gladly agreed, but I had to shake my head and laugh. I have heard every design organization, in every city, ask the same question. From experience, I knew the answer was that it would never happen.

It’s not that there isn’t great talent spread through every city, because there is. When FedEx started overnight deliveries, many creatives I knew in New York City realized they could work from a home elsewhere, enjoying a simpler life than being crammed into an expensive apartment in Manhattan or the other boroughs, just a quick subway ride away from a client. FedEx proved to be faster than most subway lines.

With that and the eventual explosion of digital choices, talent spread out across the globe, to every small town and thatched roof hut that had electricity and wifi. The world became a “design capital.”

As I started to point out that no city was known as the “graphic design capital,” several people pointed out that New York City was known as the “design capital.”

“Not for graphic design,” I quickly pointed out. “The cities that have been anointed with such a title are known for architecture, fashion, interior design, but not for graphic design.”

The audience fell into a silent zombie state. People are exposed to graphic design all around them; web sites, signs, brochures, CD covers, coffee cups with huge logos, soda bottles and packaging. So much so, that it has no special impact in their minds, so it is invisible, hiding in plan sight. The best demonstration of the importance of design, is to let people live without design for a day. Everything blank, doorways that lead nowhere and toilets that are ten feet off the floor. Design is everything.

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Emotive Branding: The Path to Meaning (And Kick-Ass Creative)

11.01.2010 / Author: Emotive Brand

The task of conveying personal relevance and generating emotional importance based on a brand’s Emotive Core is an incredibly interesting and challenging creative task. It provides a richer playground for creative thinking. It is also gratifying in that creative efforts based on emotive branding change not only what people do (buy more stuff) but how they feel about themselves and the brand — and how they behave as a result of that.

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Creative Process Study 14

11.01.2010 / Project: BevReview


We were commissioned by the founders of the drink aficionado website,, to design a new identity. The logo would be used primarily on print collateral and eventually a redesigned website. To decide on which symbols were relevant for this project, our team did a significant amount of research and interviews with the owners of the company, to get at the guts of what BevReview is about — its mission, if you will.

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Do you believe in global design? Do you think the unification of communicational codes is a positive or negative phenomenon? Do multinational companies, with their “neutral design”, attack or destroy cultural diversity?

11.01.2010 / Question submitted by: Pierini Partners


With these visual design borders softening, it’s a great thing when we’re talking about the unification of signage and a shared visual language—especially when it comes to things like safety and wayfinding systems. The prime example of something like this is the wordless IKEA instructions. Say what you will about the quality of their furniture, but the non-verbal visual language they employ is impressive. However, it is kind of sad to see the slow demise of regional design styles and trends. Whereas 15 years ago, you could look at a piece of design and have a good idea that it came out of the Minneapolis area. Now, visual trends (especially in identity design) are no longer limited to borders because of Internet’s connectivity, and because of that, they seem to burn themselves out even more quickly.
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How much of the inspiration for your work would you say comes from the client? Yourself/creative team? Or something entirely external (muse, etc.)?

09.20.2010 / Question submitted by: Design Kompany

Pierini Partners:

When I work in a new layout, I always take the client’s vision into account. I don’t believe in inspiration as a mystic phenomenon. I’ll translate it into the designer’s ability to understand the commercial needs, use the resources of the category and combine them in order to achieve impact in the consumers. With this point of view, the client becomes an essential part in the creative process. My team and I think the client’s vision is a deciding factor, and there is no doubt that it contributes, in a lesser or greater way, to the aesthetic definition of all our projects.
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Principles of Creative Development Research

09.20.2010 / Author: Sabine Stork

Consumer research is often seen as a necessary evil rather than a real contributor to the creative process — unfairly so we’d argue at Thinktank. We strongly believe that well conceived and executed creative development research can both ground and enrich the creative process. But — and admittedly, it’s a big but — you need a ‘virtuous triangle’ to achieve this: good thinking from sympathetic researchers, enlightened clients and agencies/creatives willing to listen!

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