It’s All in the Memes

Sep 29 2017 Published by Neil Gains under book review

Memes in Digital Culture is a short and well-written guide to the use of memes in digital culture which I read on a flight back to Asia from the UK. Limor Shifman really gets to the heart of what memes are, how they work and what makes some more successful than others.

She also discusses the difference between memes and virals and how memes work in a general cultural context as well as more specific situations such as political movement. This is a great read for anyone interested in cultural trends, semiotics or digital marketing giving plenty of insights into how modern culture can be shaped and moulded by anyone with a great idea.

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Word Clouds (Design methods #46)

Jun 28 2017 Published by Neil Gains under design

Word clouds are one of the most basic methods for visualising textual information. While sometimes overused, they provide a sometimes useful summary of the frequency of use of certain words or phrases within a piece of research, in answer to a question, or on a website (as in the example above taken from doctordisruption.com). Word clouds derive from tag clouds, and are easy to access online via Wordle and other free applications.

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Building Muslim brands

May 30 2017 Published by Neil Gains under book review

After a recent presentation on Understanding Muslim Beauty, I was browsing in a Bangkok bookshop and came across the book Islamic Branding and Marketing by Paul Temporal. This book would certainly have saved me some time in putting together my presentation, drawing on many of the resources I had used (sometimes too heavily perhaps). Read more »

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Figure-Ground Relationship (Principles of Design #74)

May 29 2017 Published by Neil Gains under design

Photo by Toby Harriman (source: http://www.ipoxstudios.com/figure-ground-relationship-proper-use-will-define-your-subject/)

Figure-ground relationship is the design principle that any element is perceived either as an object of focus (figure) or as something else (ground). This is one of the Gestalt principles of perception, where perception focuses on a central element and others become undifferentiated in the background. This is true of other senses as well as vision (e.g., when you hear your name in a crowded party your focus switches from your current conversation to listening to another). Read more »

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Using Sound to Build Your Brand

Apr 27 2017 Published by Neil Gains under sensory branding

Audio Branding: Using sounds to build your brand is a great read for anyone interested in building stronger connections with their customers, especially if they have an ear for music. Full disclosure, the book includes a short piece by myself placing sound in the broader context of sensory branding and the different touch points that can reach your customers. Read more »

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Reimagining global beauty

Apr 26 2017 Published by Neil Gains under beauty

Beauty Imagined: A history of the global beauty industry by Geoffrey Jones is highly recommended for anyone interested in beauty, the beauty industry and beauty brands. Full of anecdotes and insights into the people who shaped the beauty industry, this book provides great insights into the innovations and events that make beauty what it is today. The final chapters on the modern beauty industry, and the discussion of globalization versus tribalization are very well written and are foresee many of the local cultural trends and influences I believe are shaping the industry in Asia and beyond. Read more »

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Design methods #45 – Brainstorm Graphic Organizers

Apr 17 2017 Published by Neil Gains under design

Source: Wikipedia (https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_chart)

Brainstorming typically generates lists of new ideas and concepts, although these are often unstructured. Brainstorm graphic organisers help to structure ideas visually and in doing so often help researchers and designers to create new ideas, linkages and inter-relationships relating to a specific business challenge or problem space. Read more »

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The Language of Colour

Jan 25 2017 Published by Neil Gains under book review

The Language of Colour is a short, readable and enjoyable introduction to visual communication and the semiotics of colour. Packed full of examples and exercises, Theo van Leeuwen moves from discussions of the meanings of individual colours and colour naming to a theory of how colours combine. The author argues that colour schemes and combinations are more important than the individual colours that comprise any combination.

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Flexibility-Usability Tradeoff (Principles of Design #73)

Nov 11 2016 Published by Neil Gains under design

All designers have to balance the need for flexibility with the need for usability, because as one increases the other inevitably decreases. Or in c common parlance, “Jack of all trades, master of none”. Systems that are designed to be more flexible have more functions than more specialised designs but are inevitably less functional as a consequence. Read more »

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Don’t Let Short Term Thinking Kill Creativity

Oct 30 2016 Published by Neil Gains under creativity

In their most recent report on advertising creativity and effectiveness, the IPA and author Peter Field reach the startling conclusion that both creativity and effectiveness are under threat. And who are the culprits? They believe that short-term thinking and especially a focus on driving rapid sales effects, combined with the post-global financial crisis recession, are killing the creativity of advertising. Read more »

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