Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Marketing and the Persuaders

Tonight I am watching the show Frontline on PBS. This episode is called the the Persuaders. It's a very interesting documentary style show. This one in particular, because it is discussing, marketing and branding. One of the issues it was talking about was the noise that is out their for us the consumers to have to wade through. The other is how they sell to us. One of the ways is basically they sell to us on an emotional level. They try to sell to you on a psuedo-spiritual level. They work to make the products they are trying to sell you an experience. What I am getting from this show, is that it's scary how much research they do to figure out how to sell anything from shoes to coffee is amazing. Ad adjencies are even working at combining the TV shows we watch with the products they want us to buy. I know thiis is true. One of my favorite shows does this rather blatantly. Extreme Makeover Home Edition, is sponsored by Sears and you see the Designers from the shows going into and shopping at Sears.  This show does the emotional level selling and tugs at your heart, and says hey good things do happen, and sears does it.

The thing that gets me is the combination or relationship of Design and Marketing. It's a very lovehate relationship. Marketing needs design to get it's message across, and design needs marketing to pay for it. Design, the design that I learned says, less is more, that whitespace is king and that the more whitespace you have the more the element you have on the page is pronounced. By marketing says, hey, we have this space right here, what if we put an ad here. Of course as a designer, you go, no you can't do that. That will throw off the entire design. Of course that no, doesn't stand, and after a losing the battle you, trying hard to design an "ad" that you didn't want to make in the first place and knew would throw off the design. So you work hard to create an "ad" that, while still throws off the design, it doesn't throw it off as bad as it could be. So you create the "ad" and create a template so that marketing can create the ad themselves and it stays within the design schema that you worked so hard to create. So after feeling better about the fact you lost the battle, you hand them this design framework, which is quickly thrown out the window.  So as a designer, you feel that you have soldout on your design. In the end it turns out being something you aren't proud of anymore, where the inital untouched design, you were so proud of.

In the end it amazes me how much marketing affects our lives.

Quote of the Week

So right now I am listening to this week's edition of .NET Rocks (Which I podcasted) with Kate Gregory and she had a great quote when asked what she had for breakfast, and she said "coke, I'm a device for converting caffeine to code." This made me laugh out loud, and I am on the train.

Monday, November 08, 2004

life through a piece of glass

For some reason, I am having a really hard time wearing my glasses all of the time. I mean, I really should. Anything outside of a 15 foot radius is.. well not blur but not in focus either. And if I am looking at something close and lift my head, it takes a little while for my eyes to focus  on on something far away. Wearing glasses just shouldn't be a big deal for me, I've had a pair since I was three, but for some reason, I don't think to wear them, till I notice I can't see things as clearly as I would like. I think it's because for so long I only had to wear them when I would read, but that is changing.

I guess that I just need to get in the habit of wearing them.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Reflections of light

Photographers know that to get the perfect picture it is all about the light. The strength of the light source, the direction and angle of the light has to be taken into account. With all of these variables in place and correctly manipulated, then and only then can you create the depth, feeling and emotion that you are trying to convey in your image. Science says that light is both particle and waves. In fact there is a whole spectrum of light, with white being the combination of the light spectrum and black being the absence of light. Philosophers say that light is merely the perception of our environment. That if the light were changed, so to would our perception be changed.

So what if there was no light. As in you couldn't see light then wouldn't all of those definitions be meaningless?  Without light, what would a photograph be? Wouldn't it be just a piece of paper that is linked in our mind to a memory? Without light, wouldn't our environment be made up of sounds, feelings, textures and emotions? Well with that being the case then the light in our lives would be our family and friends, the people and places that make up our life.

There is a lot of light in life. I can't smell lavender with out thinking of my Grandma K. Not so much because she wore it, but because it is one of her favorite colors. And of course when I think of her, I light up, remember how she always use to ask our Mom if we could have some candy or gum, of course, she would spell out C A N D Y, or G U M. We were the only kids I knew that could spell those two words at the age of 3.

I can't hear Classical Gas without thinking of my Grandpa K. I fondly remember standing in his leaving room listening to Mason Williams' Classical Gas for the first time and the goose bumps it left on my little arms. Or the time Grandpa, Dad and I walked into the "Stereo Department" at Fedco in Pasadena, and listened to this beautiful piano piece, on these outstanding ADS speakers that were so accurate you could here the pianist fingers striking the keys.

I can't hear a V8 engine roar without thinking about my Dad's old Dodge truck and all the work we put into that thing, changing the motor out, and putting a 440 engine in it. Or setting off the neighbor's car alarm, when you would blimp the throttle (Yes, we did it more then once, and yes every time we did it, it was on purpose). I can remember play name that tune to classic rock, and conversations ranging from electrical theory to, not being reckless with someone else heart.

I can't smell acrylic paint with out thinking of my Mom painting the most beautiful statues and lamps. I can't feel a crocheted blanket without thinking of and feeling the love that she wove in to everyone. Anyone that received one as a present knew, that it was a real honor, and something that came from a loving artisan. To this day, when I don't feel good, I grab my crocheted blanket to feel comforted. (No, it's not a wobbie)

I can't smell fresh morning dew on grass and not think about my brothers, sister and I getting up, to play on the swing set or play hide and go seek, or even, (much to Mom's chagrin) climb up the apricot tree and then climb on the roof of the house. There were four of us, so there was always a way of playing a team sport. Even if that team sport was all four of us teaming up against Dad at wrestling. (I don't ever think we ver won that event, but then again the East German judge didn't like children)

There are new reflections of light in my mind as well. Saying "I do...I will" at my wedding and kissing my Beautiful Wife. Just hearing her voice is one too! Hearing the Little Boy laugh his mischievous little giggle, which means you know he did something he wasn't suppose to, but chances are, he will get away with it anyhow because he is just so darn cute. Heck even seeing Max the wonder puppy jump up and high center himself on the couch this morning is one. (My Beautiful Wife, said I enjoyed that one maybe a little too much)

It's hard with having to work so hard, and do so much to not miss any of them. The truth is I do miss more of them then I care to say. There are some things I don't get to see firsthand. So those pieces of light get reflected to me, just as I have reflected a few to you just now.