Success by Design

HOW Magazine
Success By Design

By Tiffany Meyers, January 17, 2008

We’re five years into the new millennium, and the gurus of modern business have at long last decided to agree with IBM’s Thomas Watson Jr., who said that good design is good business. The celebrity CEOs of Apple, Target and Procter & Gamble have carried that torch into the 21st century, leveraging design as a safeguard against the commoditizing forces of the global marketplace. Their stories have been featured in the most authoritative business publications on the newsstands, from Fast Company to BusinessWeek, not to mention in the design trades.

So everyone seems to agree: Good design equals good business. But there’s something about that word, it seems; it introduces a ghost of doubt. Because while CEOs Steve Jobs, Robert Ulrich and A.G. Lafley provide examples of corporate design ambassadorship, one could argue that they have pockets deep enough, and reputations solid enough, to afford taking risks on design.

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Re-Re-Rebranding

HOW Magazine
Re-Re-Rebranding

By Tiffany Meyers, January 17, 2008

While a typical company might hold its breath and launch a rebrand once or twice in its lifetime—then live with the results for better or worse—Minneapolis interactive firm space150 undergoes identity overhauls with unprecedented speed, devising an entirely new logo, website, business cards and bevy of self-promotional swag every 150 days. At first blush, it seems the off-the-wall hijinks of a free-spending startup without a business plan. But space150 is not your typical company, nor is its CEO/creative director, William Jurewicz, a man without a plan.

In early 1999, Jurewicz—computer whiz, astronomy junkie and entrepreneur—bought a home. It wasn’t a nesting impulse. Rather, with a mortgage to borrow $20,000 against, he launched space150 in March 2000–just as the dot-com crash slammed into the fragile bubble of the U.S. economy. “Those were the freaky-sweaty times,” Jurewicz says. “[I thought,] I have nowhere to go now. Open a window, and let’s jump.”

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The Resurgence of Hand-Made Design

HOW Magazine
A Show of Hand

By Tiffany Meyers

Recently, designer Kevin Grady came across a cardboard box. In it: Some of his work from the early 1990s-and a copy of Emigre 29. Published in 1994, that issue of Emigre featured a 12-page insert by the British collective The Designers Republic.

“I have to admit, I was kind of shocked,” says Grady, Partner of design firm Grady&Metcalf and Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director of Lemon. “When that issue came out, I remember being totally blown away by it. And it was one of the most celebrated issues of the magazine.” (Illustration by Janice Kun.)

No doubt, he concedes, it did break great big swaths of new ground. But in hindsight, Grady realizes that it was also a product of its times: That was a period in which designers were piling layers upon layers of vector art, stretching type, and throwing enormous ellipses around everything-just because they could.

“The typography of that era was very much about itself,” he says. “It was very apparent that designers were just figuring out the computer. It was like, ‘Wow, I can stretch type. So that’s what I’m going to do.’ ”

One turn of the century later, designers have fully figured out every feature and filter. The novelty of the Mac—the thrill of stretching stuff they couldn’t previously layer-has worn off. And in the past few years, they’ve rediscovered the process of working by hand, producing a marked surge of graphic design that incorporates diverse elements of handwork.

Some are using letterpress and silkscreen technologies to produce small-batch or one-off products like invitations, posters, and handmade paper. Others are feeding their handwork-like hand-drawn or painted type and illustrations, mixed media, and collages-back into technology, scanning and manipulating those elements in order to scale up the handwork for large print runs.

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Gen Y + Boomers: 2 Sides of Same Coin?

How Magazine
Generationally Speaking

By Tiffany Meyers

In many ways, an assessment of Boomers and their babies/grandkids (or the millions of young Americans known as Generation Y) is an apples-to-oranges prospect. The two groups have come of age in vastly different eras of U.S. history, consuming and creating different cultural touch points.

To compare the two generations, you’d have to compare the space race to MySpace, Earth Day to Green Day, the Mod Squad to the iPod, and so on all the way up to Watergate vs. Monicagate. Perched on (almost) opposite ends of the demographic spectrum, each group brings a unique set of needs to the marketplace as consumers.

All of this makes the traits they do share particularly notable. For one, these groups both live with a rather unflattering reputation for suffering from self-entitlement issues. Also from the Department of Blanket Statements, they’re said to view the future of the world through rose-colored glasses-particularly in comparison to the purportedly nihilistic Generation X that sits between them.

And of course, they’re two highly sought-after consumer sectors.As the two largest generational segments in the U.S., Boomers and members of Generation Y exert tremendous influence over the nation’s social, cultural and political landscape. Wielding formidable power and influence in economic terms as well, they’ve emerged as two of the sweetest spots for marketers pitching all manner of products and services.

The first thing to know about Generation Y is that it possesses more monikers than a demographer’s spreadsheet. In its roughly 30 years of existence, this group has been called Millennials, Reagan Babies, Generation Next, Echo Boomers and iGeneration, to name a few.

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