A year and half ago I wrote this post confessing my love of brands and specifically discussed the start of Microsoft’s overhaul of their familiar design.
In particular, I was concerned to see if Microsoft could play out:
plans and methods beyond the purely visual that can keep Microsoft from becoming a member of the brand-new-living-undead
Unfortunately, it wasn’t going to be as simple as that.
↳”Microsoft’s Windows 8 Is The Perfect OS That Nobody Wants” Fast.Co
This article pretty much sums up all the reasons why and how Microsoft stumbled with Windows 8. Although they probably earned quite a bit from all the sales of How-to-use Windows 8 books this past Christmas (my boyfriend’s dad definitely appreciated that!)
To certain people, I’ve always said it’s dangerous to confuse marketing with user experience and design. I want to clarify that statement. It’s bad to confuse the obvious questions of why you’re making a thing (to sell vs. to use), but the how should definitely be as similar as possible. The teams should be using the same research to analyze from, be on the same strategy roadmap, and communicate through the same tools. I think this beautiful in-depth look at the collaborative process of creating Pinterest’s Place Pins is a great story of how combining product and brand wins.
↳ Don’t these lovely illustrations look remarkably like a Google Doodle?
Looking back now, I think it’s odd that both the Fast.Co article above and my original post fails to mention much about the on-going success of Google. More than 70% of the smartphone market is in Android. And I do believe iOS’s drastic redesign is huge nod of recognition for the product design principles Android and Metro design push forward.
But in the end of the day, it’s less about the visuals or even the idea.
It’s about how people connect to that idea and believe in it. Traditional marketing and branding has always had a bad reputation for manipulating those fundamental understandings for money. I used be so proud of my magical talent of insight on where companies, people, and ideas were going. But I’ve been wrong about my favorite start-ups and spectacular people this year. I really don’t think I could’ve foreseen Kodak’s struggles in the 1990’s.
↳ Mad Men’s Don Draper makes Kodak speechless in this YouTube clip.
To love brands is to love ideas.
It’s really hard to not at least like some of them. There was an NPR broadcast (that may have been about this book?) where they revealed most online product reviews are skewed by people who don’t actually use the product. Not by malicious representatives of competitive products, but by people who have used similar products and want to bolster the company producing it—unpaid, self-appointed, brand ambassadors.
I don’t think I can say I love brands anymore.
At least, I can’t love them more than your average person. I don’t actively follow the blogs, study the marketing methods, or play around with corporate identities anymore. Instead, I have started teaching myself more interaction and user experience design.
↳ I took this class on Coursera, but I don’t recommend them quite yet…
It seems like selling stuff to people is harder now. Whether it’s because of all the things we have now or because we expect that much more, users want to have something completely-new, totally-familiar, and absolutely-satisfying—often all at once. Maybe it will never become more than some glammed up version of “Emotion Technology.”
But maybe it will be something different.
Maybe we change the definition of education so it’s less about cramming your brain with as much data and info that there is and more about taking in what is needed at the right time. Make life less overwhelming for the autistic and the technology less intimidating to the underprivileged. Teach people about social media and social responsibilities all in the same beat.
We start by knowing how to use that “Start” button.
“Dear Human: You’ve got it all wrong. You didn’t come here to master unconditional love. That is where you came from and where you’ll return. You came here to learn personal love. Universal love. Messy love. Sweaty love. Crazy love. Broken love. Whole love. Infused with divinity. Lived through the grace of stumbling. Demonstrated through the beauty of… messing up. Often. You didn’t come here to be perfect. You already are. You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous. And then to rise again into remembering. But unconditional love? Stop telling that story. Love, in truth, doesn’t need ANY other adjectives. It doesn’t require modifiers. It doesn’t require the condition of perfection. It only asks that you show up. And do your best. That you stay present and feel fully. That you shine and fly and laugh and cry and hurt and heal and fall and get back up and play and work and live and die as YOU. It’s enough. It’s Plenty.”
Waiting for things to happen out of their own accord. For a sign my entire life. Moments pass and then hit me over the head. I’ve never been a person of great faith so I always thought I was the ruler of my own fate. Really though, I should’ve been learning to ride the waves—going with the ebb and taking advantage of the flow. And not just in my work. Or when things turn dark. Like when one too many people died in the Game of Thrones.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change”
Brené Brown’s TED Talk: Listening to Shame
(Thank you Emma Watson for pointing the world this way)
John Peña of dailygeology included my Downhill Derby performance as a day’s entry. My favorite rendition yet!
Make the tree worth the message you cut it down for.