Blog

Make Durability Important Again

I wish durability were as important as it used to be. We have an Oster food processor that I would guess is from the late 70s or early 80s. It still works fine, although it's frighteningly large (it could be a robot from Silent Running). We also inherited from my grandparents a Hamilton Beach model 33 […]

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“Small Batch” and Other Opaque Claims

We recently bought some barbecue sauce whose label proudly announces it's from a "small batch". Sounds great, right? I imagine some bearded guy in coveralls using a wooden paddle to stir a big vat of sauce with great care and attention. But that's obviously not the case.

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Amazon is the new eBay

There isn't much I could write about Amazon's history to date that hasn't already been said. However, for a company so famously predicated on customer service, I've found their storefront increasingly frustrating to use. Anyone can now sell on Amazon - which is great in theory - but in practice it has resulted in a […]

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Pointlessly Convoluted

The legendary product designer Dieter Rams said many years ago that "Products have to be designed in such a way that they are comprehensible". He was a master of pared-down, functional design. I try to make my work follow that philosophy as best I can. On the other hand, it looks like GE's smart bulb […]

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Measure Twice and Cut Once

That's one of my favourite aphorisms. "Back in the old days" it was easier to remember to double- and triple-check advertising or collateral before releasing it because everything was a hard copy. Now that so much of what we produce is digital it's easy to just dive in and release something as quickly as possible, […]

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Walk the Walk

I attended a fireside chat today featuring Adii Pienaar, and one of his points especially hit home with me. Someone in the audience asked a question about branding; something along the lines of "how do you pick the right name/logo?". He replied that those things only account for maybe 10% of your "branding", and that […]

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Metaphors vs. The Obvious

Sometimes an idea makes perfect sense until you see the end result. Great in theory, but not in practice.

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Coasting

McDonald's just brought back its $1 coffee promotion, wonderfully timed to coincide with Tim Hortons' price bump. This obviously makes the latter look pretty bad in comparison, but their problems run deeper than that. Tim Hortons have been coasting for a long time by co-opting Canadian national identity as their own, rather than relentlessly focusing […]

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"Why?"

It seems too easy, almost childish, but asking "why" is a great way to figure out what to do to accomplish a goal. Each time you ask yourself why, you're zooming out a little bit more and seeing more of the big picture. Keep doing it until you can't zoom out anymore, then dive back […]

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