The Mind of Metaphor

Dec 19 2014

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances” – William Shakespeare

In I Is An Other, James Geary explores the power of metaphor and its pervasiveness in everyday life, arguing that it is not just a literary device but fundamental to human thought across domains as diverse as economics, advertising, politics, psychology and many more. Metaphor is “essential to how we communicate, learn, discover, and invent”.

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Design Methods #26 – Role-playing

Dec 18 2014

Role-playing is used in design, workshops and research to place people in the roles of users, exploring the behaviours and habits that happen in different scenarios or reflect different aspects of customer experience. This is done by acting roles in realistic scenarios to build empathy and identify challenges and opportunities in a product or experience. This can be a low cost and easy to execute way to uncover many of the habitual behaviours and responses associated with a particular aspect of life. Read more »

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Mind the Gap: Why Great Brands grow their Way to Success

Dec 09 2014

On October 6th 2010, Gap introduced a new logo designed to make the brand more contemporary, reducing the prominence of the iconic blue box associated with the brand. On October 12th 2010 after less than one week the original logo design returned.

A larger sales (and PR) disaster befell Pepsi in 2009 when they rebranded Tropicana Pure Premium. In the words of a company statement, the new pack was “designed to reinforce the brand and product attributes, rejuvenate the category and help consumers rediscover the health benefits they get from drinking America’s iconic orange-juice brand”. Between 1 January and 22 February, when Pepsi brought back the original design, sales dropped around 20% costing the company tens of millions of dollars. Read more »

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Finding the Perfect Meal

Nov 30 2014

“Eating is a multisensory experience”  - Hestor Blumenthal

In The Perfect Meal, Charles Spence and Betina Piqueras-Fiszman explore the multi-sensory of eating. This is a great read for anyone interested in eating and drinking or sensory science, and the book is packed full of interesting anecdote, food history and guidelines for good (and healthy) eating, as well as being a comprehensive review of the literature of sensory science and especially that relating to how the senses interact.

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Design Methods #25 – KJ Technique

Nov 16 2014

KJ technique is a way of helping teams work through a problem (or data) and reach a consensus about key priorities. The technique is also referred to as Affinity Diagram, referring to the output from the approach. Although the idea of grouping ideas and prioritisation is not new to the world, the approach was developed and adopted as a planning tool in Total Quality Management by Jiro Kawakita, a Japanese anthropologist. The technique focuses on building consensus, helping a group to organise complicated ideas and information through consensus over the course of a team meeting. Read more »

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Review of The Age of the Image by Stephen Apkon

Oct 13 2014

In The Age of the Image, Stephen Apkon argues that the (moving) image is becoming the dominant language of the twenty first century, replacing the word as the primary means of communication. He also argues that the importance of the rise of visual language makes it necessary to place it at the centre of the educational system. For anyone interested in communication and storytelling, this is an interesting read. Read more »

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Principles of Design #60 – Closure

Sep 23 2014

Closure is the name for the way in which humans perceive a set of individual unconnected elements as part of a single recognisable object or pattern rather than individual pieces. This is one of a number of principles relating to Gestalt psychology, and is so strong that people close gaps and fill in missing information to complete a pattern if necessary. Read more »

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Design Methods #24 – Behavioural Mapping

Sep 05 2014

Behavioural mapping is a process for recording location-based observations of human behaviour, through the annotation (manual or digital) of maps, plans, videos and photographs. It is used to document activities, behaviours, characteristics and movements of people in time and space. There are two main approaches to behavioural mapping. Read more »

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The Perils of Packaging Redesign

Aug 27 2014

I recently wrote an article for Singapore Institute of Management on the perils of changing branding, citing examples such as the GAP logo change and Pepsi’s disastrous reducing of the Tropicana packaging (which cost them millions of dollars). It seems that brand and marketing managers never learn the lessons of the Tropicana disaster (which I discuss in more detail in Brand esSense) and still love to tinker with brands, moving strategies, changing logos and ‘updating’ or ‘modernising’ their packaging.

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Design Methods #23 – Stakeholder Mapping & Analysis

Aug 25 2014

Stakeholder maps are used by designers and researchers to visually summarise and communicate the relationships between all those involved in a particular activity or project. Stakeholder analysis is used in project management to further understand and manage the needs and concerns of all relevant stakeholders, by identifying those affected and evaluating their influence, impact and attitudes toward the activity or project. Read more »

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