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Brand “Concept Testing” try Pretotyping in a Pop-up

Fruit-of-the-loom-pretotyping

Fruit of the Loom is ‘Pretotyping in a Pop-up’ to Concept Test Premium Brand

Shoreditch, London – home of hip.  That’s where t-shirt brand Fruit of the Loom is concept testing (or ‘pretotyping*’ to use the jargon) a new premium brand – ‘Seek No Further‘.

Pretotyping: Testing the initial appeal and actual usage of a potential new product by simulating its core experience with the smallest possible investment of time and money.

Pretotyping In a Pop-up = Awesome Concept Testing

Renting an unused retail space just for four months, Fruit of the Loom is testing for consumer appeal with a very limited run of garments. There’s one in Shoreditch, and one in Berlin – and a pop-up website.

This is concept testing done right – there’s a world of difference between seeing words on a page and experiencing the product – so could pop-up + pretotyping be the future of concept testing?

pretotyping

Author / Paul Marsden
Source / brandgenetics.com
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Do You Need a Style Guide? Answer: Yes

It’s a simple question: Do you need a style guide? And it has a simple answer: Yes. Any brand, company, blog or webpage that wants to create and maintain consistency and a professional feel should have a style guide.

Style guides are a must for any publisher with multiple employees. This is especially important if more than one person will work on any brand elements (from the website to printed materials), and to ensure that transitions between employees are seamless in the eyes of users. Today, we take a look at well-documented style guide from MailChimp, and highlight things you can take away in creating your own document for the first time.

What Is a Style Guide?

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A style guide is the ultimate resource for visual and writing tone for your brand. The guidebook is not intended to be read cover to cover (and should not be written that way), and should be organized as a simple resource manual.

Style guides cover two big areas: visuals and writing. For website or app development, a style guide may contain a third area, defining how the user interface should work or coding specifics.

A style guide is a fluid document and once written should be updated regularly. When creating this document, consider how it will look and be used during the process. Your style guide should follow the styles defined. Use your brand’s color palette and the same writing style that you would like to be associated with the brand.

MailChimp’s “Voice and Tone” style guide follows this concept. The tone is simple and the guide looks and feels like the website. In addition, MailChimp also has a “Brand Assets” guide for how visual elements are used.

Getting Started

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Creating a style guide from scratch is not a task that you can complete in an hour. It will take some planning and time. But once the document is created and if updated regularly, it can be a time-saver in the long run. Before you write the first word of instruction, gather (or create) this list of materials to make compiling your guide that much easier.

Branding definitions, styles and logotypes: This includes examples of how logos can and can’t be used, as well as fonts, sizes and color swatches.

Font palette: List all the typefaces, sizes and colors that are acceptable. Include specs for how each is used from styles for body type, headers, quotes, labels, captions, navigation elements and so on.

Images, icons and buttons: Define style, color, size and placement of each.

Styles for forms or calls to action: Define what type of information can be collected and how data collection works. Write and include disclaimer information.

Basic layout: What is the basic template for your design? Include a few examples for how your letterhead, printed materials or web pages should look.

Visual Style

 

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mailchimp-color

The visuals section of the style guide includes several key parts: acceptable fonts and use, including normal, bold, italic and special styles; color and size for typefaces; settings for bullets or lists; color palette; and image guidelines, such as size, border specs and uses such as text wrap or image and text combinations.

These styles should be written in simple and clear language and include technical specs, such as complete font names, color mix swatches (in RGB, CMYK or Pantone) and usage guidelines for web and print (if applicable). Some brands have both a print and web style guide; other brands opt for one document that covers both.

mailchimp-type

MailChimp’s style for typography is direct and shows each font and usage. The style guide should include HTML specs as well for website styles. What elements use an H1 versus H2 versus H3 tag. (We’ll go into more detail about web specifics in the HMTL section.)

In addition, visual style guidelines should include a full description of when, how and where branding and logos can be used. This includes how the logo looks, if colors or fonts can be altered (typically not) and in what instances use is acceptable.

Writing Style

mailchimp-voice

Just as important as your visual style is the tone of the writing. It can be jarring for users to come see your brand material and it read light and silly in one instance and cold and sterile in another. How the words come together can help clients or users associated with your products, making a writing style vital.

Key parts of written style include tone; spelling and language; reader level or jargon; voice; structure; use of symbols, numbers and lists; branding or trademark usage; and overriding style guide of choice.

There are a handful of generally accepted written style guides for English-language publications. Most company style guides direct you to use one of these for questions on matters of usage and style.

AP Style: The Associated Press Stylebook is used by journalism and writing professionals in print and online. The style focuses on consistency and brevity and is common because of these attributes.

Chicago Style: The Chicago Manual of Style is used by academics and for scholarly works, businesses and includes the basics for a more formal style of writing.

MLA Style: The Modern languages Association style guide is most commonly used in academics, liberal arts and humanities.

MailChimp’s writing style guide includes great examples of press releases and how the site should read as well as how the brand interacts with customers on social media, the blog and how the company’s trademark jokes should be handled.

User Interface and HTML

PRL

If you are creating content for the web, you need rules for digital publication as well. While text, color and tone guidelines will be outlined in other guides, you should also note how the website and user interface should work. (The PRL guide is an excellent resource.)

Text: Explain HTML markup rules. What type of headers are used and how? What’s the difference in usage between an H2 or H3? In addition to usage, what markup does your site use? This is the part of the guide that details every usage.

Images: The rules for image use should be just as clear as for text. Do you have a specified width or height for every image? Is there a standard text wrap or border size? How should alt tags be used. Make sure to answer each of these questions clearly.

Naming and saving files: In addition to how things should look, consider a little web housekeeping. How should files be named and saved in the CMS? Set clear guidelines so that your file maintenance is clean and files are saved at manageable sizes and are easy to find.

Coding practices: Determine and set forth coding standards for HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Include examples.

User Interface: If you did not include a visual guide for user interface elements and workings, include it here. What types of inputs are used and how are they labeled? (Do you use words like “Continue,” “Submit,” or “OK?”) Include a “kit” of your site’s user interface elements and usage.

In Conclusion

 

The best way to get started with creating a must have style guide is to contact:

brand research and development

Go ahead. Request a free evaluation!

Original Author / Carrie Cousins
Original Source / Design Shack

 

 

 


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FDA redesigns nutrition labels to reflect how Americans actually eat

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For the first time in 20 years, the FDA has proposed changes to its Nutrition Facts food labels. In the FDA’s new designs, several important food stats have been enlarged, and some have even been recalculated in accordance with the actual serving sizes Americans eat today, The New York Times reports. “This is a big deal, and it’s going to make a big difference for families all across this country,” said First Lady Michelle Obama in the FDA’s proposal.

Most noticeably, the calorie count of a food item has been super-sized, which should make scanning labels while shopping a lot easier for dieters. The Servings Per Container line has also been enlarged, as has the methodology used to calculate these servings. 20-ounce bottles of soda would be counted as one single serving, instead of 2.5 smaller servings. On ice cream cartons, half-cup servings will be increased to a full cup to reflect how much ice cream people generally eat. Serving size updates are only being proposed on 17 percent of the approximately 150 categories of packaged food monitored by the FDA, the Times reports. Today’s serving-sized guidelines were put into place back in 1994.

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The FDA’s old labels (left) and new labels (right)

Also updated are a left-justified Daily Value column that makes parsing numbers simpler, and an Added Sugars section right below Sugars meant to highlight one of the leading causes of obesity in America, according to the FDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The FDA seems to be hoping that food companies will cut down on manufacturing added sugars just like they did with Trans Fats when they were first denoted on labels few years ago. “Calories from Fat” has been notably removed, “because research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount,” the FDA says. Lastly, the labels would make Vitamin D and Potassium counts mandatory, while Vitamins A and C would be optional.

The FDA’s deputy commissioner of foods Michael Taylor estimates that the transition would cost about $2 billion and two years to carry out, but could provide $30 billion in health benefits long-term. “Things like the size of a muffin have changed so dramatically,” said FDA commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg. “It is important that the information on the nutrition fact labels reflect the realities in the world today.”

Source:
The New York Times FDA

By Ellis Hamburger

photo credit: jpalinsad360 via photopin cc


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Apps have grown into being an integral part of your brand | A Collection of Beautiful App Icons

When you’re designing an iPhone, Android or other mobile app – it’s easy to spend all your time focusing on the UI and the software itself, and then leave the app icon to last. It’s important to remember, however, that the app icon will be seen more often than the app itself. It’s on the user’s home screen, and may well be seen many times throughout the day. The app icon in this respect becomes an integral part of your brand – almost like your logo – as it’s what comes to define your app.

Creating a beautifully designed app icon often takes time and energy – and I’d recommend putting in as much time as you would with a logo. Despite it’s small size, it has a big impact and deserves to be crafted carefully. Beautifully designed app icons can take on any form or style – from elegant black and white icons to colourful and brash, but one thing to keep in mind is that simpler is often better. A simple and uncluttered icon can be easier to digest than a busy, visually noisy icon – especially because it’ll be displayed amongst a collection of other icons and will need to stand out and be instantly recognisable.

To help give you some inspiration, I wanted to bring together a collection of some fresh, interesting, innovating and beautifully designed app icons. Some of these designs fall on the side of minimalism, while others are more intricate – but each one of these designs has a certain charm and personality behind them, and each would look at home on even the most design-focused user’s phone. Hopefully these app icons will give you something to think about for the next time you need to create an icon, and that you’ll find some designs here that you love. I’d love to know what you think, so please do be sure to leave a comment below.

01-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1375719-ICON-Real-Estate-App-Etagi

02-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1379640-Camera-App-Icon

03-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1350588-Pencil-app-icon

04-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1366476-Epiclist-iOS-icon

05-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1355973-Drop-Ios

06-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1354776-Cleaner-Icon

07-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1361891-Xnphoto

08-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1343908-Wood-Chat

09-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1371619-Redeem-App-Icon

10-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1376544-Website-iOS-Icon

11-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1368848-Applisky-Icon

12-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1375551-Mug-iOS-Icon

13-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1317031-Watching-you

14-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1332621-ReadGloss-iPhone-App-Icon

15-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1357283-Speed-Limit-Radar

16-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1345574-Sound-Circle-Icon

17-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1318983-Mutual-Icon

18-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1355050-CoinFeed

19-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1352116-Temp-Clock-Icon

20-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1336311-Book-Tracker

Author: Ricardo Nunes
Original source: twoimpulse.com/zenith/design/collection-beautiful-app-icons

 


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A Look Inside the New Mercedes-Benz Silicon Valley Research & Design Facility

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As the influx of technology has invaded our everyday lives through channels like smartphones, “the cloud,” tablets and just about everything in between, there is one industry that has been oddly lagging behind in tech innovation: the auto industry. The rapidly changing app landscape has cultured users to become accustomed to constant firmware, UI and functionality updates, effectively establishing a new standard for incredibly dynamic technology. And yet, while the rest of the tech world progresses at light speed, the extensive research and design process, testing and production times within the automotive industry has forced seemingly “new” vehicles to suffer from dated in-dash firmware and software as well as mediocre functionality that creates a driver’s reliance on their phone in the car.

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Mercedes-Benz recently took a massive stride towards the realignment of its luxury vehicle lineup with the current standard of technology in our everyday lives. Setting up shop in the heart of Silicon Valley, the German automaker recently completed construction on a Sunnyvale, California-based technological research and design facility. Situated within a 5-10 mile radius of the Google, Apple and Facebook headquarters, the decision to open an R&D extension in the heart of Silicon Valley is a testament to the investment Mercedes is taking into a new future for tech in its vehicles.

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The headquarters boasts a workforce of over 100 engineers, technology researchers and designers who are specifically tasked with focusing on things such as advanced user experience design, telematics and user interaction, Mercedes-Benz App development, connectivity and smartphone integration, autonomous driving, and user interface/HMI software development. While the global majority of the Mercedes-Benz workforce is based within the company’s home base of Stuttgart, Germany, the Silicon Valley location offers a unique opportunity for the storied auto brand to become even more proactive in leveling the playing field for luxury automakers whose goal has long been to deeply integrate tech into its product line.

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The interior of the three-story headquarters was designed by IA Interior Architects and took roughly six months to complete. In contrast to many corporate environments, Interior Architects took into account the need for creating a space where employees would not only be effective and efficient, but also inspired, creative and collaborative. Each of the three stories features a variety of color gradations along its expansive wall space, while dry erase-ready glass walls encourage a company culture of innovation. No R&D department would be complete without its fair share of technological advancements pre-built into the structure and core operations. The facility is fully equipped with NEST thermostats and electronic, touchscreen door, and room pads that signify when a room is vacant or occupied.

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A uniquely casual atmosphere is perpetuated throughout the facility as the designers included partitions such as the “Ice Cream Room,” “Chocolate Room,” “Odwalla Room,” and a plethora of espresso bars, juice bars, and game rooms that offer employees a brief respite from their desk for a snack break or a bit of recreation. Patio terraces on each floor create an opportunity for individuals to host meeting collaboratively on chromatic couches while overlooking the Bay Area mountains.

As the traditional corporate model is continually being challenged by a new generation of start-up company culture, the decision of decades-old companies to rethink their internal operations can sometimes be impossible. And yet, those companies that have become reactionary to the changing company culture climate and a new generation of collaboration-minded people in the workforce, seem to be the same companies that see continued success. The Mercedes-Benz Sunnyvale headquarters is a step in the right direction that effectively sets a precedent within the corporate automotive world that it is time to invest in technological innovation and rethink the model within which a company motivates its employees to be effective.

Author: Alex Maeland


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Coca-Cola Designed Its New Can Around A Problem No One Has

And the company isn’t the only one. Why has chill-activation become such a design fad?

There are two types of problems that designers try to solve: problems people have, and problems designers delude themselves into thinking people have. Venerable sugar tonic maker Coca-Cola has just released a new can design firmly in the latter camp: a chill-activated can to visually tell people whether their Coke is cold or not. First released as a 7-Eleven promotion six months ago, the chill-activated can is now available to everyone.

Chill-activation, of course, is nothing new. The designers at MillerCoors have previously rolled out a series of chill-activated Coors Light cans, glasses, and containers. When refrigerated, the outline of the Rocky Mountains on the cans turn a vibrant blue, indicating that the can is properly cold. Coca-Cola is doing the same thing here, only color-changing ice cubes serve as the visual cue.

chill_activation_can

It’s all achieved with thermochromatic ink, a color-sensitive dye that has been used in cheap thermometers for years, and is increasingly being used by the big brands for packaging purposes. For example, Pizza Hut has used thermochromatic ink to show whether or not your pizza was delivered hot in an innovation they called “the Hot Dot.” And Mountain Dew has also experimented with thermochromatic inks, releasing a limited edition 16-ounce can in a cross-promotional campaign with the last Batman movie that changed the color of the Dark Knight’s symbol when properly chilled.

It’s all innocuous enough, but with Coca-Cola getting in on the thermochromatic ink trolley, maybe it’s time to call this what it actually is: faddish bad design.

It should be obvious, but for the most part, no one needs to be visually told when something is cold or hot. There are exceptions, of course: an electric stove burner that turns orange when it’s hot is an important safety cue. But when safety is not a factor–and a lukewarm can of pop is not going to kill anyone–a can that shows you when it is cold is like a siren that goes off when it’s bright out. It’s self-evidently absurd. We don’t expect to “see” cold. We expect to feel it, and our skin has been designed to do just that. When we want to know if a can of Coke is cold, or a pizza is warm, our natural instinct is to touch it. That’s what our hands are for.

The design problem that Coca-Cola, Coors Light, Mountain Dew, Pizza Hut have tasked themselves to solve is how to convey the temperature of their product to people without hands. That’s actually a noble pursuit in its own way–amputees need a nice frosty one now and again, just like everyone else–but something tells me, that’s not why these companies’ R&D departments spent their millions.

Written by John Brownlee


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The 10 Best Influencer Marketing Campaigns of the Year

So digital marketing is dead? Here’s what I have to say to that, and I am positive P&G’s Global Brand Building Officer Marc Pritchard will agree, Great! I couldn’t be happier that it’s dead. It’s now the era of creative campaigns, of engaging people with authenticity and building brands. It’s a new venture of getting closer to the customer, of connecting her to the brand in innovative ways.

If that sounds like some kind of a Rube Goldberg advertising model, you wouldn’t be far off. But this new model is brilliant and the results are astonishing. So how are the best companies delivering on it?

If there is any endeavor whose seeds are bearing fruit, that endeavor is surely influencer marketing. Harnessing the power of word-of-mouth and the trust that consumers have in their peers, colleagues, thought leaders and local-celebrities can translate to immense marketing power.

Targeted influencer marketing in targeted niches drives 16x more engagement than paid or owned media, according to a recent SocialChorus report. So it should come as no surprise that top brands are paying attention to this powerful new marketing method.

Recently, Huffington Post contributors and influencer marketing experts Sam Fiorella and Ekaterina Walter joined Chris Heuer (CEO/founder at Alynd), Erich Joachimsthaler (CEO/founder of Vivaldi Partners Group) and me to better understand this new method of marketing. In an era where advertising is floundering, marketers need to understand who’s doing influencer marketing best, what experiences they are creating for their audiences, and what’s coming out of it.

The 10 influencer marketing campaigns we’ve identified below are all creative, results-driven examples of how brands can adapt to the new marketing landscape, and they serve as powerful lessons for any brand looking to incorporate influencer marketing into their mix.

Why Should Cookies Have All The Fun? by Collective Bias for Tyson Foods.

Last Christmas, dozens of mommy bloggers helped Tyson Foods clear out its entire inventory of Chicken Nuggets in a matter of weeks by decorating the nuggets as Christmas trees, reindeer and snowmen and sharing their creations across their social networks. The nugget decorating extravaganza sparked 8.8 million impressions on the social web – Twitter, Facebook, blogs and YouTube – beating the initial goal by 70% — and demonstrating the path to influence is directly impacted by key social influencers sharing their genuine experiences across social media channels.

#WeekwithILX – Acura ILX Influencer Campaign by Brand Influencers

Late last year, Acura gave LA Foodie, Curves and Chaos, RedCarpetCloset and three other influential millennial bloggers a new ILX for a week to drive around and share their experiences in the form of blog posts, pictures, videos and other multimedia across their social profiles. The four-month campaign drove 750% ROI and boosted sales across the region.

According to Jason Metz, founder and CEO of Brand Influencers, social data was the most important piece of this campaign. “We identified trending influencers within each of [Acura’s] consumer segments, and based on an analysis of social data, we worked with those influencers to create experiences that we were confident would excite each influencer’s audiences, based on what was proving to influence their behavior.”

People StyleWatch Style Hunters Program by BRANDERATI

Branderati invited 1,000 StyleWatch loyalists to join the Style Hunters network, where they receive exclusive content, fashion insights and product offers.

These brand ambassadors share content with their networks on an ongoing basis, with campaigns averaging an exposure rate in the seven figures. Recently, for example, Garnier provided 150 full-size “Curl Calm Down Cream” products, which Style Hunters used and then provided feedback via social media. This campaign drove more than 6 million impressions in a month through hundreds of social sharing’s on social networks, as well as original influencer blog posts. From there, the Style Hunters Team analyzed the tone of the shares, and determined that a large majority of the Style Hunters posted a favorable opinion about the product.

StyleWatch is a great example of taking your existing relationships to the next level by rewarding top brand fans to make a measureable impact. Done correctly, the fans who love your brand become mini-celebrities in their own right and can move the sales needle. (Note: Ekaterina, as a partner at BRANDERATI, did not weigh in on this campaign)

Style Spotters by Emisare, Inc. for High Point Market

High Point Market boosted attendance numbers at the furniture industry’s largest and most successful event by inviting interior décor and fashion bloggers to attend as VIPs. Through the Style Spotter campaign, they were encouraged to snap pictures of their favorite furniture finds at the event, share the pics on their social networks, and get their audience to vote on their favorites. Clearly, dialogues within communities “create an energy that just can’t be obtained by broadcasting monologues.”

Innovating for the Connected Home, Living Room And TV by MWW for Verizon FiOS

Verizon FiOS invited thought leaders and early technology adopters in the innovation and technology communities to mix and mingle, share ideas, and explore new ways to optimize today’s connected home during two major real-life events in Boston and New York – as well as to continue their networking online. During the two meet-ups, Verizon FiOS expanded its database to over 1,000 members of the innovation and technology communities, with more than 20 potential partners and over 400 attendees. Verizon didn’t have a community prior to these events and Alberto Canal, Vice President, Corporate Communication at Verizon is certain that finding the right combination of ongoing social outreach and in-person events is key to building the strongest community possible.

Five other influencer marketing campaigns that rocked 2012/2013 included: “British Airways; influencer Innovation Lab in the Sky” by Text100, during which 100 of Silicon Valley’s more influential science and tech minds brainstormed solutions to the talent problem and presented them to the UN ITU at the DNA Summit; “Sprout it Backyard Takeover” by Geben Communication which encouraged homeowners to snap a photo of their back yards, share them with their networks, and potentially win a back yard makeover; “TNT’s Dallas VIP Visit” campaign, which invited 100 Dallas “super influencers” to an exclusive network and rewarding those who shared the most Dallas content with a trip to meet the cast ; “The Warner Sound Captured by Nikon” at SXSW 2013 by MMW, a campaign that gave Nikon cameras to SXSW Music attendees and asked them to upload their video, ultimately seeing 5x longer viewing times than industry average; and Bing’s “Summer of Doing”, during which people were encouraged to search for obscure and quirky terms, and share their results with one another on social media.