What do designers do?

Graphic designer deskIt’s sometimes hard to describe

I remember, as a young designer, proudly showing my younger sister a brochure that I designed for a Fortune 500 company. It was just back from the printer, and I was excited to add it to my portfolio.

“So, did you take the pictures?” she asked.

“No. But I picked them out.”

“Well, did you write the words?” she wondered.

“Nope.”

“Did you make the logo?” she asked, in a last-ditch effort to understand what I’d done on the project.

“Well, some designer did. But not me.”

This interaction left me wondering, “What is it that I do for a living again?” Continue reading “What do designers do?”

What do designers do?

Understanding the anatomy of a logo

Logo bannerCreating or revising a logo for an organization is usually an important undertaking with far-reaching implications. The logo is the face of your brand to the public, so it’s important that it communicates your organization’s intended brand message. But if you’re not familiar with the different elements of a logo, talking with a designer about what you want your logo to convey can sometimes feel like trying to communicate via interpretive dance. A quick overview of the basic anatomy of a logo can give you a vocabulary to help you communicate with a designer as you wrestle with logo choices.

Two basic parts of a logo

All logos contain a logotype or a logomark—if not both. The logotype—also called a wordmark—is an alphabetical representation of the brand. Many organizations use only this element in their logo—think of Disney or Coca-Cola. The logomark—also called mark, icon, or symbol—is an image or symbol that represents the brand. Some organizations use only a logomark to identify their brand. Think of Apple or Twitter, for example. However, only extremely well-known organizations can afford to dispel with a logotype and trust that their logomark can stand alone.

Most logos combine both elements. Let’s look at the logomark first. Continue reading “Understanding the anatomy of a logo”

Understanding the anatomy of a logo

Our work: Empowering inclusive hiring

Autism facts header

Building a critical resource kit for employers

“For Microsoft, Impact Sourcing is about knocking down artificial barriers to employment and allowing high-potential individuals to bring their strengths to the marketplace. By partnering with our suppliers, we can bring people in who would not otherwise have an opportunity and support their success in the workplace.”
—Tim Hopper, Senior Program Manager, Responsible Sourcing, Microsoft

We’re excited to highlight our recent project for the Microsoft Global Procurement Responsible Sourcing team and the Global Impact Sourcing Coalition (GISC). GISC is a collaboration between leading companies, such as Microsoft, to provide more inclusive global supply chains, helping to ensure that all people have opportunities to obtain productive employment.

The Responsible Sourcing team asked Denny Mountain Media to develop a collection of resources for the GISC that we called the Autism Empowerment Kit. The Empowerment Kit includes a report on workplace inclusion of adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and provides employers with guidance, recommendations, and other resources for providing support and workplace accommodations to empower employees with autism throughout their employment lifecycle—from recruitment to training and career development. Continue reading “Our work: Empowering inclusive hiring”

Our work: Empowering inclusive hiring

Hallmarks of an up-to-date website

Best WebsitesI think it’s safe to say that I spend more time redesigning websites for clients than I do designing new ones. During the past few decades, we’ve reached the point where pretty much every organization that needs a website has one. These days, new websites are for new organizations. The rest of us are in the business of tending to our existing websites.

It’s taken a long time for us to get away from the mindset that building a website is something akin to publishing a book: lots of hard work, but then you finalize it all and release it into the wild—no more tweaking required. It turns out that websites are more like gardens, always growing and changing, in need of regular weeding and pruning, and adjusting to shifting seasons. And like gardens, planning—and a healthy dose of foresight—helps ensure good results. Continue reading “Hallmarks of an up-to-date website”

Hallmarks of an up-to-date website

The rise of the unicorns

UnicornOrganizations everywhere are coming to the realization that to be successful and relevant tomorrow means undertaking innovative action today. A major factor in making this realization a reality is building up foundational capacities, and this starts with your people.

THE AGE OF THE UNICORN

Disclaimer: I am not a fan of labels and stereotypes, as people are usually a combition of “types” or may transition between them throughout their career based on the positions and level of authority they hold. That said, stereotypes can be helpful in understanding general groupings, so letʻs slap some labels on our unicorns and see what all the fuss is about!

While it helps when building a strong corporate culture to identify “non-negotiables” or ideal employee psychological profiles, innovative and forward-thinking companies must prioritize hiring a range of creative, multi-disciplinary thinkers and doers with diverse experiences. When you bring the right mix of people together, they push and pull an organization in such a way as to create dynamic tension and shift mindsets and workflow.

The employees who bring the ability and desire to move fluidly across disciplines are often described as “unicorns” because they are rare and harder to find and we imbue them with the quasi-magical ability to help resolve any business challenge. However, in the business world unicorns come in many colors—today’s most sought-after unicorns include the Intrapreneur, the Swiss Army Knife, and the Change Agent. The differences between them and how each type adds value to the organization is key to developing the right hiring process. Continue reading “The rise of the unicorns”

The rise of the unicorns

A genealogy of gratitude

GratitudeLife is short. Be grateful for what you have. Appreciate every moment. These are sentiments I have heard from many wise people and I would agree that they are true. Being grateful is one of the most vital mindsets for a satisfying human experience. It helps people differentiate between needs and desires, between the material and immaterial, and to value “what is” versus “what is not” or “what could be.”

However, I think it’s time that we transition to a higher version of the concept of gratitude. I suggest that we aim to create a “genealogy of gratitude,” (gratitude that self-replicates across humanity), rather than limit the realization of the value of gratitude to an individual’s unique life experience. I suggest that we start by being grateful for what we have––and then move to being grateful for the privilege of benefitting subsequent generations. Our lives are made better and more meaningful by appreciating the small things, but our collective legacy could be to raise an entire generation that acts with gratitude for what it can gift the future. Continue reading “A genealogy of gratitude”

A genealogy of gratitude

The horror vacui | the power of white space

When is nothing more valuable than something? If less is more, what do you want less of, and in order to get more what?

Luxury direct“Prose is architecture and the Baroque age is over.”
—Ernest Hemingway

The ancient physics term, horror , or “fear of empty space,” gained new meaning when Italian critic Mario Praz mid-century used it to assess cluttered Victorian interior design. He noted that there seems to be a human impulse to fill up all available space. We can barely stand a white wall without a painting or poster on it. A blank page in a sketch book terrifies some, enlivens others—but either way demands that a pencil be picked up and something created to fill the space. Continue reading “The horror vacui | the power of white space”

The horror vacui | the power of white space

How about #hashtags?

HashtagIf you’re a Twitter novice or a Facebook first-timer, wading out into the world of #hashtags can seem—like everything else social media—a bit overwhelming. Other than “the good ol’ days” when compulsive pound-sign pressing led you straight to a call-center’s actual customer service rep, when did a “hashtag” serve any real-world purpose?

Sure, they get their fair share of flack, but in our era of digital communication, they’re the backbone of most conversations. They even landed their own Oxford Dictionary callout (‘cause YOLO, amirite?) back in 2010 (Scrabble was quick to follow suit). Love it or hate it, hashtags make topics traceable, amplify any online heart-to-hearts, and act as markers for mainlining relevant subjects that matter. Plus, they’re about as enjoyable as they are essential. Continue reading “How about #hashtags?”

How about #hashtags?

The perks of being a type snob

West Desmond/Slaughterhouse imageSometimes designer’s obsession with typefaces can seem as esoteric as a wine connoisseur describing the nuances of their latest find, or as arbitrary as two hipsters bickering over who has the more obscure taste in music. Designers are well known for their dramatic contempt for certain fonts (say, Comic Sans or Papyrus) and for the high praise they shower on other fonts, using terms most of us reserve for good scotch or loved ones. Continue reading “The perks of being a type snob”

The perks of being a type snob

If you work in an agency, you are in sales

Watering the treeSALES: PUBLIC SPEAKING’S SCARY COUSIN

If you’re like most people in the United States, chances are you’re scared of public speaking. As comedian Jerry Seinfeld famously noted, public speaking beats out death on the list of most people’s fears, leading him to observe: “Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” Continue reading “If you work in an agency, you are in sales”

If you work in an agency, you are in sales