Category Archives: Branding

Pecha Kucha Volume 11


Yes, it’s that time again! Pecha Kucha is back in Brisbane and back at the Powerhouse for this installment on the 3 June.

Starting at 8.20pm, speakers include the Director of the Queensland Museum, Ian Galloway; local textile designer, KT Doyle; and founder of In Finland Records, Nick Smethurst. Along with eight other equally diverse speakers, Pecha Kucha Volume 11 is sure to be an interesting evening! To find out more, head to the Pecha Kucha website…

When: 3 June
Where: Turbine Hall, Brisbane Powerhouse

Yours in Design,

Consumption Atlas


I just found this really well-designed site which shows your greenhouse pollution, water use and eco-footprint. You can search by postcode and state. It also has tips and FAQs. It’s not so much to content that caught my attention but the great design, easy navigation and short loading times that did. Have a look at the Consumption Atlas and see for yourself.

Yours in design,


Recession: a time for re-invention

Here’s a great article I read which talks about branding and business growth in times of economic recession…


You probably smiled the first time you heard someone say, “Flat is the new up,” and maybe even laughed when someone else replied, “Down is the new flat.” But the reality is that in a recession —when most businesses are either stalled or declining—growth can seem unattainable. But for smart companies, recessions have also proven to be periods of rich reinvention.

Here are a few insights from Rick Wise, Lippincott CEO and author of How to Grow When Markets Don’t (Warner Books):

Q. What’s wrong with the way most companies pursue growth?

A. Many companies compete in markets that are totally saturated, and focus on increasingly challenging traditional growth areas: Acquisition, international expansion, the occasional blockbuster, or specialized brand extensions. It’s hard to find meaningful growth with such moves in mature and flat-to-declining markets.

Q. How can recession help?

A. Besides shaking out the weakest players, downturns serve the valuable function of forcing companies to admit that their usual growth avenues are exhausted. Management talks a lot about hunkering down, sticking to their knitting or getting back to basics. But the core business is usually a slow or no-growth one. The sooner management admits they’re stuck in a no-growth model, the quicker they can move on to new strategies.

Q. So where can they find smart growth?

A. It takes a Darwinian leap, and the decision to push past product-centric models. People have to start looking for the next generation of customer demand, the higher-order needs that you and your competitors aren’t meeting but that represent opportunities to create new value in adjacent markets. What are the time-hassle economics that your customers face, and what new services or products would help?

Our client Walmart is a great example. It’s applied its core strength—low prices—into new categories and services, like groceries, pharmacy, and financial services. But it’s also adapted that value message to new formats. Its new Marketside, for instance, is a smaller store designed to cater to fill-in shopping trips poorly served by large Walmart Supercenters. It broadens the customer base and the market opportunity by bringing its core competency of providing great value to helping families answer the pressing question: “What’s for dinner?”

Q. What’s the most important quality for growth when your competitors are shrinking?

A. Rethinking the cultural definition of risk diversification. This is the time to be expansive—sticking to your knitting can be very dangerous when markets become so volatile. You can’t wait for the sunny day. You need to take measured moves to expand the scope of your business—and strengthen your customer relationships—now, when business is tough.

– Rick Wise, Lippincott CEO


Yours in design,


Mobile Phones in Japan


During a recent trip to Japan I discovered how technologically advanced Japanese mobile phones are. Many Japanese phones can listen to the radio and watch TV, can be used as a debit or credit card and swiped through checkout lines or to buy everything from mascara to jet planes. They also can be swiped and function as a season ticket or train ticket. However I mostly witnessed the QR Codes and Data Matrix Codes on everything including receipts, buses, business cards and billboards. These Codes are 2-dimensional, square bar codes that can be read with your mobile phone camera provided you have the correct reader software installed. The codes were initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, however they are now used to link to everything from URL addresses, photos and video data which are launched when the bar code is scanned. Users can also generate and print their own QR Code for others to scan and use by visiting one of several free QR Code generating sites. I can’t wait until this technology hits Australia!

For more information on this topic please visit mobile tagging.

Yours in design,

New Woolworths Logo

Woolies Logo

The branding for the Australian household name that we have all been brought up with has gone through a transformation and is starting to be rolled out in it’s 700+ stores.

Woolworths, known as the ‘Fresh Food People’ is still committed to providing it’s customers with the freshest produce, the best price and the best possible service – which I feel it’s new logo encompasses.

Comments on the new icon from the designer at Hulsbosch:
• “W” for Woolworths
• The icon represents “people,” the upper body of a person with outstretched arms
• food is energy is life
• The round shapes signify friendliness, humanity, approachability and openness.

What do you see in the new Woolies logo? And how are you adjusting to the change in this household name?

Your in Design,

Invisible Brands


Recently I’ve stumbled upon some of Rob Walker’s work in prelude to his new book “Buying In”. In one of his write-ups he talks about invisible badges. According to Walker, badges are signals that suggest a tighter relationship with the brand producer and the brand consumer.

Walker observes that people no longer buy stuff to impress others, rather to impress themselves. This means that logos are becoming less important indicators of status. Look no further than the high-end fashion industry where logos are shrinking.

Christian Louboutin has made red soles the staple of his shoe line. Bottega Veneta bags are identifiable by their intricately weaved patterns. Rolex is known for the weight of its watches and Armani for the slender rounded shoulders of its men’s blazers.

Intended for small affinity groups rather than mass markets, these companies are creating brand undergrounds where consumers need to be fully indoctrinated in the brand cultures to fully understand their subtle signaling.

This is a liberating trend for brands with strong belief systems like Zappos that pays their employees to quit or Gourmet that believe that there is no conflict between mixing high fashion and streetwear pieces. Companies with substance can now start to tell richer brand stories through the product themselves.

Moving forward the miniaturization of logos will become more prominent, where embedded clues, colors, fabric and materials will become the main brand identifier.

Courtesy of George Crichlow, 25 June 2008,

Yours in design, Janet-eratops

Buffett says brand is the business


Warren Buffett, the world’s most successful investor, now says that brand is the most important factor in deciding where to invest. The Financial Times on 11 October reports on a recent talk to investors in Germany, where Buffett asked what might be the criteria for deciding whether to buy a company. ‘Traditionally, the first criterion Is a strong balance sheet. But Buffett only put that in third place. His second criterion was a good management team. In first place, he put brand’. Even in hard times, brand is the key to long-term growth. That, presumably, is why Buffett is backing Goldman Sachs. And that’s why businesses in trouble – while of course fixing their balance sheets and clearing out their management teams – must also urgently invest in their brands.

Courtesy of Brian Boylan, 13 October 2008,

Yours in design, Janet-eratops