Hey Girl, Have you seen that new Google+ Feature?

January 27th, 2012

In what seems like an attempt to increase their social relevance, Google+ has introduced a new feature that allows users to create their very own memes with the images that they share.  For those who are not familiar with the term, a “meme” is a shared idea or concept or idea that is represented throughout a cultural network. Internet memes gained notoriety on sharing sites such as Tumblr and Pinterest using pop culture themes to drive their creation. If you frequent any of these sharing/blogging websites, it’s hard not to stumble across these creatures – Ryan Gosling: “Hey Girl” anyone? Marketers and PR professionals have also started to use these images for their campaigns as they maintain a high likelihood of going viral.

Well it looks as if Google is trying to make a name for themselves in the meme field. Every time a user uploads a photo they have the choice to add text and make their own, personalized internet meme. One can only assume this is created to draw bloggers and meme fans away from Tumblr and sites of that nature. They’re incredibly simple to make with the new feature, allowing users to create them more frequently and without the added stress of using photo editing software.

Now I’m not saying that they will gain all sorts of users from this feature alone, but the fact that Google+ even has it, gives a first-time user a reason to stay active while simultaneously providing them something to tell their friends.  If Google can keep rolling out these attractive features, I can see them finally being something that people enjoy using.

Be sure to add JB Chicago to your Circles https://plus.google.com/u/0/103153109335946467713/posts

Fashion for the Masses

January 4th, 2012

Jason Wu recently announced that he is the latest fashion designer to join the ranks of main-stream collaborators. Following the likes of Karl Lagerfeld for Macy’s, Missoni for Target, and Versace for H&M, Jason Wu is bringing his fashion efforts to Super Targets everywhere.

In this economy, there is a select group of people who can afford the garments found in traditional fashion lines. To combat this, designers have begun to expand their vision and influence by taking their creations and giving them to the masses. The method has proven to be very successful with fashion fanatics lining up early to get their hands on the limited collections. I have a friend who lined up at Target for the Missoni release, only to fight of a middle-aged man to get a coveted bedroom throw. The throw later sold for more than $500 on eBay (originally under $75).

From a branding standpoint, this is a win-win strategy. The fashion houses now have a new way to maximize their awareness by drawing in the fashionably clueless to their lines. It also makes their brand more approachable and seemingly cost-conscious in times of economic turmoil. On the other hand, these stores such as Target and H&M are simply elevating their brand equity by giving their consumers the chance to experience luxurious designs at affordable prices. This makes them source for fashion expertise, drawing customers to their own collections as well as making them an influencer in the fashion industry.

While some may think that this type of designer collaboration cheapens the designer’s brand, I see it from a different perspective. I think it’s a smart way to keep people interested in your designs, gain awareness and most importantly, make some extra cash. The fashion industry took a big hit with the recession. If commercial lines of this nature are what it takes to keep these fashion houses afloat, I can’t help but encourage more designers to jump on the collaboration bandwagon.

Here are some examples of the designs featured in these campaigns:

Karl Lagerfeld for Impulse at Macy's

Missoni for Target

Versace for H&M

Eco-friendly business cards never felt so good…literally

November 3rd, 2011

If you’re not going Green, then you’re not cool. Yes I said it. Nowadays everything is going Green from Cemetery plots to your personal business cards. As I perused the world wide web, I stumbled across a few ideas for eco-friendly business cards with various textures. Just imagine the look on your face if someone handed you a leaf with their contact information printed on it. Below are a few examples of eco-friendly business cards which serve as one of many conscious attempts to preserve the environment. While you’re looking, make a mental note of your favorite to pass along to your friends, family and co-worker!

Reuse old packaging boxes to create your own one-of-a-kind business card. Although you would not want to do this for more than just a few cards at a time, it is a great way to create special business cards for your important prospects, and it is eco-friendly! This business card for Fiverr came from a MacBook Pro box. Rather than printing the text on such bulky material, Kaufman stamped them on, which really fit into the packaged look well.

Leaf Business Cards: Tatil Design

Go green all the way with these real leaf business cards. Your logo and information are laser etched into the leaf with no ink required. Throw them out and you don’t have to worry about harming the environment—they’re leaves!

Moo Eco Friendly Business Cards

These business cards are printed on 100% recycled paper and the card box (where you store your card and others too!) is also made from 100% recyclable pulp. Now you don’t have to worry about your cards getting creases and wrinkled when you put them in your bag and all the while you are doing our planet a favor.

Sustainable Cards for a Sustainable Company

Sometimes the most economical business card is one that uses sustainable materials, such as this one designed for a sustainable furniture business. Notice that the design uses only one color of ink: black. Beside the large logo, there are no big graphics. The text is also short and sweet to limit the amount of ink used.

To learn more about creating eco-friendly business cards, visit this website: http://inspiredology.com/inspiring-examples-of-green-business-cards/

Is that a crater?! Oh, never mind, that’s just the KFC Logo

September 21st, 2011

One of the biggest issues marketers come across is maintaining awareness of their brand in the public sphere. If you have a great product, but no one sees it, then you really just have an idea. The normal way for maintaining a brand’s awareness is through promotions and advertisements featured in social media, magazines, billboards and otherwise. But apparently that is getting a little too obvious. Now brands are taking their logos and artwork on putting them on a more global spectrum……literally. Take a look at how some brands have made their advertisements and artwork so large, that you can see them in space:

A Tasty Alternative to Business Card Design

August 31st, 2011

One of my duties as the intern for JB Chicago is to file away all of the business cards we receive into our contacts. While completing this task it got me thinking more and more about business cards and how they can depict your business. These wallet-sized cards are a very important aspect to any type of brand or business. They give all your contact information and are a great tool to use to maintain contact with potential clients you meet while networking. Having a business card on hand with you could make the difference between landing and losing a deal that could come out of nowhere. An aspect that is extremely crucial to any business card is the design. The format of your card and the images that are on it should convey your brand’s identity and show potential clients the type of business that they may be getting involved with. These following cards however, take that to the next level. They boast a very unusual characteristic…the fact that they’re edible. So if you think you’ve run out of options in terms of your business card design, maybe you want to go with something a little tastier. Just make sure they get your information before they eat the card….

For more examples and information on edible business card take a look at this website:

http://www.freshbusinesscards.com/2011/03/business-cards-to-eat/

If we’re being honest….

August 26th, 2011

The logos of a brand or product are supposed to define its personality with one quick glance. They are designed to strike something with the consumer internally that will describe what type of product they are dealing with. For the most part, the logos for major brands are recognizable and go without saying, but what do they really mean?  These revamped logos of major brands take a swing at what people really see when they look at these particular logos:

Alright...kinda sad

These logos and more were found on this website: http://designerscouch.org/view-design/Honest-logos-23220

Subliminal Christmas hint to my mom

August 5th, 2011

Why Polaroid pictures are amazing

By: Tolu Taiwo

Polaroid pictures were invited in 1948, long before digital cameras were invented, long before computers were popular and I’m pretty sure long before dinosaurs were stomping around the Earth. They come from an instant camera that lets you click, point, shoot, and print (after about a minute or so. And that’s sans glitches). They don’t give you instant gratification like a digital, or like a camera phone that instantly upload your photos to Facebook (God bless you, Android). However, they are very artsy, and when done right, can turn a shot into a really pretty picture.

In the…2010s, photographer Parker Fitzgerald (hopefully in relation to F. Scott Fitzgerald; see “Why ‘The Great Gatsby’ is awesome” essay) took breathtaking Polaroid pictures of different people and things, including, but not limited to: Amanda Seyfried, a girl in a veil and an army guy. By themselves, these things might be lackluster, or at best, slightly interesting. In Polaroid, however, they are great.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Polaroid’s are amazing.

Footnote: If you want to Polaroid yourself, check out the Poladroid Project. 

Cut it out, cut it all out

August 3rd, 2011

I’m down for some semi-dark, semi-sarcastic humor as much as the next person, and when you combine that with good art, I’m pretty much giddy with excitement. Let’s be real: sarcasm, when done right, is pretty funny. And art, when done right, is interesting to look at.

William Staehle must have felt the magical connection between design and wit, because he created “Silhouette Masterpiece Theatre,” a site that displays his work with old-timey photos and paintings, cutouts he creates himself and biting, funny captions. Staehle managed to fit the best of the art and dark humor on the site (where, coincidently, all the pictures in this blog are from).

Staehle doesn’t just write random babble: a lot of the captions are based off famous phrases or sayings from earlier times, or he manages to use puns when he can (Dandelion…Dandy-lion…hopefully you got that). Staehle tries to keep it witty and artistic.

This is one of the best. Not just because it's "punny," but because bears are the greatest animals alive.

Doodle doodle doodle (’till you just can’t doodle no more)

July 29th, 2011

Just like eyes are the window to your soul, I believe that doodling is also another way to get to that destination.  If you’ve ever peeked at anyone’s doodles after they’ve had a class or been on the phone for a long time, you’d be able to tell a lot about them by looking at what they drew. Regardless of quality, a sketch can display a lot about someone’s personality. Even though sometimes the sketches are awful, and sometimes they’re fabulous.

And sometimes, if you’re Christina, your doodles end up turning out like this. It’s just like Cinderella turning into a princess, except with Christina being the godmother, and the wand being talent.

In honor of sketches and personality and life and all that jazz, we give you Doodlers Anonymous, the blog for showing off doodles and sketches. They call themselves a “permanent home for spontaneous art,” which is definitely accurate; people from all over submit their work, and the best are posted in the “Featured Artists” and “Showcase” section. And I do mean “best.” All of the work shown is super-intense and drawn by obviously talented people. (All pictures below courtesy of http://www.doodlersanonymous.com.)

Instead of just posting one doodle a person, the blog showcases a lot of their work, and gives a short blurb about each doodler. This way, you can see a series of talent by one person, and learn a little bit more about them through text as well.

Although a picture really is worth a thousand words.

That’s vintage for ya

July 26th, 2011

Vintage things are one of the best things about life. Actually, apart from love, cake, good photography and cheesy romantic comedies, I can’t think of anything more wonderful than vintage pieces and art. The appeal is the thrill of looking at how the world was before you, depending on what your favorite time period is (I myself am partial to the 1920s). Looking at items from that period is like looking through a time machine, and c’mon—who wouldn’t want to look through a time machine?

Apparently graphic designer and blogger Megan Cummins felt the same way as me, and decided to create Vintage Me Oh My, a blog devoted to all things vintage, all the time. She uses vintage art, ads, photos and typography as inspiration, and she shares all that she has with the general public. (All photos from the Vintage Me Oh My blog.)

A vintage 1920s ad.

An example of vintage-inspiration in signs today.

Brookfield Zoo posters, back in the day (1930s, to be exact).

For all you true vintage-heads out there, check out Etsy’s vintage page, Silver Moon vintage shop in Chicago and and some of the vintage photos from The Sartorialist blog (like, for example, this one). And if you have something cool and vintage to share, Cummins encourages all fans to spread the wealth and email her.

Seriously? How can you not like vintage eras? They give us great gems like these.