Monday, December 19, 2011

Small Pleasures

Frank Chimero is one of my favorite design writers/thinkers.  The way he puts his thoughts together is graceful.

A couple weeks ago, he put out this list of small pleasures.  Today, I'm putting out my own.

An Incomplete List of Small Pleasures
  • Dixon Ticonderoga pencils
  • Mexican mochas: cinnamon, chocolate, and pepper
  • Nicknames
  • The sound of cars on pavement after it's rained
  • The color of autumn leaves against the sky
  • Vermillion
  • Lazy Sundays

Thursday, December 15, 2011

HP Rebrand

Hewlett Packard, a 72-year-old company, is considering a major brand evolution.  For any brand, that's a big deal, but given that HP is Ranked 11 in the Fortune 500, has 324,600 employees across 170 countries, and generated $127.2 billion in revenue in 2011, it's significant news.

What's interesting is that for being so big and successful, HP has never really grabbed me as an icon.  If you put me on a witness stand and asked me what they sell, I'd tell you "printers!", but that's not actually what their biggest product is—HP is actually the world's leading PC manufacturer, and has been since 2007.

How did I not know this?  Some of it is surely my own ignorance, but part of it too is that the company is so large and its product assortment so varied that it's hard to get a solid grasp on it.

Armin Vit at Brand New has a great and elegant article on the HP rebrand, with in-depth coverage of the process.  Here's the current iteration of the rebrand:

Moving Brands is responsible for the rebrand and redesign.  About this change, they've said:

The defining signature of the system is the 13° angle. 13° represents HP’s spirit as a company, driven forward by ingenuity and optimism about the future and a belief in human progress. It also refers to the world of computing by recalling the forward slash used in programming. 13° exists within the brand identity, in the graphic language, product design and UI.
— Moving Brands
I don't know how much I buy that 13° represents optimism and belief in human progress, but there is something about leaning forward that's nice here.  Forward-thinking, forward-moving, progress, momentum, innovation: all ideas appropriate for a tech company.

I also like the stripped down abstracted logo.  It feels appropriately techy, but also old-world.  Like something my grandfather would have found on a cocktail napkin at the Clover Club in 1947.

Brand New likes the new logo too:
HP’s logo has been around for so long that it’s not really questionable anymore, it just is and it just exists. And it’s not a bad logo at all, especially in its most recent, simple incarnation. The accentuated angle of the two letters is recognizable and unique and serves as the basis for a possible new abstract logo. One that happens to be really, really great. It’s an elegant and bold evolution, using the simplest of forms: four sticks. Sure, it might not be instantly readable to someone that has never seen an HP product before but that’s why HP has millions of dollars to build a brand and engrain this in people’s mind without missing a bit. As a logo change for a massive company this would be pretty courageous to implement demonstrating that a mass audience can handle some abstraction, even if the poor audience still uses PCs.

Check out the post for even more on the logo, the collateral, and the roll-out.  Be sure to catch the video on how Moving Brands came to the brand position on "human progress."  It's really interesting when a major company does a rebrand, because the implications are far-reaching.  And because of that bigger scope, the rebrand stirs up the cultural stew pot of core values about what a brand is and what it should feel like.

After all, remember GapGate?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Macaron Packaging

I haven't really jumped on the macaron trend.  Macarons are okay by me as cookies go, but they lack a certain substance, a meatiness, I really enjoy out of dessert.  That said, I love them design-wise.  They have a great shape and come in a panoply of colors and flavors.

What I like about this packaging for Point G, a boutique in Montreal, is that it tantalizes the consumer with the colorful and delicious macaron without veering into the overly precious.

It's so easy to go cutesy with macarons because the saturated and pastel palette reminds us so much of childhood. But the angular and minimalist box and the sans serif font give this a high level of sophistication, while still remaining fun.

Big success by Chez Valois

Originally seen on Lovely Package.