What is the one brand you cannot live without (except Apple, Google and Ikea)?

Last week, after the latest Apple ‘Lallapalooza, juggernaut, mother of all product releases’ event for the Ipad 2, I began to think seriously about brands. I found it interesting that a brand (Apple) can command such a following for a product release. How do such brands develop such passionate followers ? Note: for the record I followed the release myself so partially this was a bit of self introspection.

I started to think about the brands that are important to me and realized the the list was quite long. I started to wonder what brands other people felt strongly about. To get a more realistic idea of what these brands could be, I conducted a very unscientific study where I surveyed  my friends on Facebook and my Twitter followers (863 as of this writing).

The question posted to Facebook and Twitter was the following:

‘What is the one brand you cannot live without (except Apple, Google and Ikea)?’

I chose to exclude certain dominating brands to get a better idea of some of the smaller brands in peoples lives.

Alphabetical result list:

Adobe
Arla
Artek
BBC
Bang & Olufsen
Carhartt
Copic
Facebook
Fender (2)
Finn.no (Norwegian marketplace)
Filippa K
Flickr (3)
G-Star
Illy
Leica
Lego (2)
Logitech
Nespresso (pod coffee)
Nikon
Northface
Norröna (outdoor equipment)
Nikon
Omega
Pampers
Paypal
Pepco (electricity)
Prophoto (photosite platform)
Wordpress
SVT (Swedish television)
Senseo (pod coffee)
Systembolaget (Swedish liquor retailer)
Tiger
Wikipedia
Windows
Vitra
Volvo

If we look at the list we can see that it covers a wide range of consumer products with a few brands were mentioned more the once. Flickr, the photo-sharing site was the brand with the most votes (3). Next on the list, with two votes, we have Lego and Fender Guitars. Lego can be explained by the large number of my friends that have children at the moment. A bit of a surprise is Fender, the guitar manufacturer. Apparently, Fender products generate a great deal of passion from it users. Pod-coffee (Nespresso and Senseo) and Public Service Television (BBC and SVT) where, as a category, also voted for more the once.

So we can say that my friends and contacts value viewing photographs on line via Flickr, playing with Legos, playing Fender guitars, drinking good pod-coffee and viewing Public Television.

Statistics:
5 responses out of 185 friends on Facebook.
9 responses from from a Twitter following of 836 persons.

Erik Spiekermann: Putting Back the Face into Typeface

A very well produced interview with Erik Speikermann. I was particularly taken by his take on a few points of the design process:

1. His Creative Process

I look at design inspirations for a long time – I look through books, on the internet and then I begin to sketch what I have seen. Then I put it all away for sometime. The next day (or next week) I sit down and draw it from memory – and then it is different. It is what I remember these design inspirations are be, but it is never the same as the original.

2.Teamwork

Most things I have done have been with other people. My responsibility is to show people that the design process is always teamwork, there are no geniuses, no single incredible person that can do it all of this.

New Job

After many years at my existing employer, I have decided to move on.

In March 2011, I will begin employment as an Interaction Architect at the digital consultancy Antrop in Stockholm.

I am extremely excited about this role and look forward to working with this group of creative, experienced people.

Infographic Resources

A week ago I got a question from fellow tweep @glvsn if I knew of any good in infographic resources for beginners.

Now 2010 was THE year of infographics and there are thousands of examples of infographics, some better then others (actually allot better), but ‘how to’ resources are not as common.

After some tweets back and forth between myself, @axbom and @belos_theclouds we assembled a pretty good list.

I took this list and fleshed it out with a few other links of my own.

I hope you find it useful.

Huge Infographics Design Resources: Overview, Principles, Tips and Examples An excellent resource gives a brief history, design guidelines and some good examples of successful infographics

10 Awesome Free Tools To Make Infographics This is a very good list that points out some basics, but really summarises a number of key free online tools for creating infographics.

Good Inforgraphics This comes from the GOOD website, which just drips with good design.

Society of News Design (SND) – Infographics A comprehensive list of articles, blog posts and longer essays on inforgraphics. Can loose yourself for hours in there.

Books on Infrographics Good list of visual design basics as well as some more advanced graphic guides.

The Anatomy of an Infographic Article that describes the three components of an good infographic: visual, content, and knowledge.

Seven and a Half Steps to Successful Infographics A excellent post from visual journalist Sarah Slobin based on 20 years of infographic experience from New York Times, Fortune Magazine and CNNMoney.com. Nuff said.

Finally:

‘Don’t stand in the way, let the information tell its own story’

Old vs. New vs. Good

A prominent digital designer was in Tokyo recently, and shared a story about an experience he had in his neighborhood in London. He decided to embark on a journey to as many antique shops as possible, and to purchase antiques with particularly romantic stories attached to them. Unexpectedly, each of the shopkeepers surprised him with a consistent response to his question, “Tell me about this object.” The dominant responses being, “Well, it’s *old*.” Or, “It’s from the 1800s, and is really *old*.”He found this response of “it’s old” (and therefore it’s *good*) quite puzzling. And then got to thinking how as a digital, “new media” person folks would ask him about his work to which he would respond, “It’s digital. It’s *new*.” And by the same token, implicitly, it’s *good.* He realized that neither “new” nor “old” are sufficient rationales to express quality. That the quality of “good” is something more. Like this story he related. It’s a good one, for certain. -JM

From the latest Posterous post from John Maeda.

Noun Project: Visual Icon Dictionary

I have been fascinated by info-graphical icons for some time. They always struck me as the perfect design elements – simple and understood regardless of user culture or language. That is why I was very excited to read about the Noun Project.

The Noun Project’s mission is to share, celebrate, and enhance the world’s visual language. Their goal is to collect and organize all the symbols that form our language into one easy-to-use online library that can be accessed by anyone. All the symbols on the site are completely free to download, and can be used for design projects, architecture presentations, art pieces – almost about anything.

Continue Reading →

The 30 Steps to Mastery

When I read this I was struck by the simplicity.

Ben Casnocha extends a two-step process for “How to Draw an Owl” with a few more to proclaim how to achieve mastery:

1. Start
2. Keep going.
3. You think you’re starting to get the hang of it.
4. You see someone else’s work and feel undeniable misery.
5. Keep going.
6. Keep going.
7. You feel like maybe, possibly, you kinda got it now.
8. You don’t.
9. Keep going.
10. You ask for someone else’s opinion — their response is standoffish, though polite.
11. Depression.
12. Keep going.
13. Keep going.
14. You ask someone else’s opinion — their response is favorable.
15. They have no idea what they’re talking about.
16. Keep going.
17. You feel semi-kinda favorable and maybe even a little proud of what you can do now.
18. Self-loathing chastisement.
19. Depression
20. Keep going.
21. You ask someone else’s opinion — they respond quite favorably.
22. They’re still wrong.
23. Depression.
24. Keep going though you can’t possibly imagine why.
25. Become restless.
26. Receive some measure of praise from a trustworthy opinion.
27. They’re still fucking wrong (Right?)
28. Keep going just because there’s nothing else to do.
29. Mastery arrives, you mistake it for a gust of wind.
30. Keep. Fucking. Going.

Nuff said.