Archive for March, 2012

card tricks

We relocated our studio in January and it’s taken until March to get our new business cards. This is the fifth card design we’ve had in our studio’s history, including vellum stock, letterpress, and  rounded corners. We’ve always loved cards with a tactile quality and a sense of surprise (although I do remember a client taking a pair of scissors to my two-sided-letterpress-Euro-oversized card and cutting it to fit in his rolodex…heh).

We did the new cards through MOO, and chose their LUXE line with a seam of blue color between the layers of  Mohawk Superfine paper. We printed ten different design/work quotes on the back.  I believe this is the fourth set of cards we’ve done through Moo (the others were all photo-based designs) and I highly recommend them for service, quality and price–plus packaging that delights the designer in all of us.

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the merchandising of a president

Last week I was cruising around the internet and I found this poster, which very clearly wanted to be pinned.  And so I did.

But on my way to Pinterest, I discovered the home of the poster, Store.BarackObama.com. Now I am well aware that Barack (no secret, I refer to him as my boyfriend, and while I had several years of disappointment, I am still (STILL) hopeful) Obama is the President who understands branding. In fact, I started this blog in 2009 with a piece on the branding of his campaign. But this store blew me away.

Perhaps one needs to be a California liberal who appreciates the collaboration of message, typography and image…but this is really something. We have gone beyond stickers and signs folks. We’re talking iPhone cases, doggie bandanas, yoga pants, soy candles, grilling accessories, and a designer store called Runway to Win (Tory Burch tote, Jason Wu T shirt).

Of course, I was delighted to see one of my favorite coffee mugs (thank you Ann) on the site as well. I think I will pass on the Joe Biden mug (though cleverly titled, Cup of Joe).

Whether you vote for my boyfriend, or the other one, you have to admit, this is a change…and I think one that is designed with thoughtfulness and a dash of humor. Nicely done.

Why I am going to keep pinning on Pinterest

There has been a recent flurry of copyright controversy over my new favorite website, Pinterest. The issue is (that is, I think this is the issue), that Pinterest makes it so easy for people to “pin”, without a photographer’s permission, and therefore (I presume), steal. The terms of use are a little messy, and if you read every word, scary. One could infer that one would be sued for well-intentioned, inspiration-based acts of pinning, spurred on by frightening memories of 12-year old girls being sued for downloading their favorite music on Napster a few years ago.

Seriously. No joke.

This is what I know:

Our work has been stolen by strangers, ex-employees, colleagues and other agencies. This includes B.I. (before internet). This year I found one of our logos on another firm’s website. Sometimes I contact folks, sometimes I let it go. Depends on the day of the week, my mood and what I am guessing is their intent. In the case of the wandering logo, our client was a nonprofit and the agency was doing good work for them. It wasn’t high profile, and I didn’t do anything. However, if I ever meet them at a cocktail party, I might mention it…

The more open we are to sharing, the more open we are to stealing.  That is, if we choose to look at it that way. I care tremendously about copyright for designers, illustrators, typographers, photographers and writers. I judge people (harshly) who print out photos from the internet and use them for presentation. I make my clients buy their own fonts (and provide a lecture about how typographers design fonts and if we want good typography, we must pay for it). I have three blogs and provide a credit, and a link if possible, for every image I post. Sometimes I miss something. But I am aware and try to be a good steward of creative license.

Back to Pinterest. Pinterest is doing something new and exciting. They are making it easy for people to find and share inspiration. From what I hear, they aren’t making money at it yet. There are some awkward things about the site (count me as one who would like to have private boards), but the team there makes improvements on a daily basis. And I have to say, it’s my happy place. I visit several times a day and have connected with friends and relatives over shared DIY projects, coffee photos, inspirational quotes and recipes. I have a board just for the color blue. And I have one of places that make me swoon. Some of the pins are repinned from others. Some are my own internet finds.

In almost every case, I have a credit or link to the original creator, or at least a link that will eventually lead back to the creator. But not always. I’ve never taken a photo from a photographer’s site, but I have repinned images without credits.

The internet is a messy place. Pinterest is working on the issue. There are ways to mark your work so it can’t be pinned. One can also place a watermark on every photo. There are issues with collaborative boards, like Behance, where they make it easy to pin a contributor’s image, without the contributor’s permission. Agreed, messy. New ideas are messy. Artists, more than anyone, should understand that. It will take time to figure it out.

In the meantime, I believe the power of the internet is in the opportunities it provides for us to create, share, connect and inspire each other. Pinterest does that. With joy. And I believe, with good intent. I don’t choose to live in fear, protecting my ideas so no one can steal them. Or to be fearful of seeking and sharing new ideas, concerned that I will get in trouble.  (I am dangerous that way…I also let my kids eat dirt when they were small, believing that the roughage and a few germs would be good for them.) I am going to believe that most people want to do the right thing. And I will try harder to do the right thing. I will take the extra time to research the photos I pin, and to include the credit and link. And if I can’t find it, I won’t use it. Of course, if I were ever approached and asked to remove something, I would do so immediately.

Let’s keep sharing, and pinning responsibly. And let’s keep encouraging folks like Ben Silbermann and his team to imagine and invest in new ideas and technologies. This is today’s issue, but there will be more. So let’s keep talking, ok?

By the way, come visit me at Pinterest…I’m Kim Tackett.