David Butler & Coke's Design Machine

Fast Company has a really good article on Coke's Vice President of Global Design.

It details his role in the Coke brand and how he has systematically introduced design thinking at a global board level. Some of the projects detailed sound fantastic and i'm certainly looking forward to seeing the new vending machines coming up.

Overall it's a fascinating insight in to a design leader's work, but the part that really blew my mind was their 'design machine'. Coke have built an online tool which allows marketers and designers around the world to easily compile Coke branded artwork, (that meets brand guidelines), get it approved and send it to print.

In the past preview has built some pretty amazing digital guidelines and resource centres, but this sounds like the gold standard...

"Pick a language," Garcia begins. I have a choice of 36. Kazakh it is. "Now a product." Of the 100 options, I'm guessing Fanta is a favorite on the steppe. "Now an occasion," he instructs. At leisure. I survey the options, and pick an image of smiling people gathered around the table, hoisting cans of Fanta; above is the message, "Open happiness!" in Kazakh. A perfect banner for my little shashlik stand in Almaty.

I hit send and the machine zips my design for local approval and legal review, then sends it off to the printer. The whole thing has taken less than 10 minutes.

The machine, launched in 2007, holds more than 8,600 templates and is constantly being fed with new "best in class" materials generated around the world. So the smallest grocery store in Tokyo can take advantage of, say, the best of Turner Duckworth's work in San Francisco. And if a particularly clever designer in Guangzhou comes up with a great campaign for Chinese New Year, the work can be zapped around the planet."


Brand London Venture 3

London based brand agency Venture 3 has posted shots from its recent pitch for the London brand brief.

When i first saw the logo idea, i wasn't blown away, but the execution is utterly faultless and any doubts over the design soon disappeared. Taking visualisation of a brand to this level gives clients a far better grip on how it would like in application. Overall it makes for a more convincing pitch than flat vector graphics on a board.

See the work here


Brighton Wayfinding

Brighton & Hove City Council will be unveiling a new wayfinding and digital mapping system across the city today.

The design work has be done by London's Applied Information Group. Although I know AIG are a very talented design group, I find myself asking 'why no Brighton based agencies were used to produce this work?'. Brighton's rich community of designers and architects has once again been overlooked to bring in London based suppliers.

I'm looking forward to seeing the new work. I've been banging on for a while about Brighton getting its design work in order and this seems like a step in the right direction. My only concern is that this project won't do a great deal for Brighton's lack of identity. City branding is becoming more and more talked about as high profile projects are generating conversation across the design industry. I think it's time Brighton looked at it's brand and how it can be used to attract businesses and visitors alike.


Google Redesigned

I love this. Pure, simple, intelligent design at its best.

I don't know who the designer is, but hats off to him or her (or them). It's only the homepage, but it really makes you consider how simple things can really get.


How Simplicity Can Help Creativity, Briefly

I've got a fair few projects up in the air at the moment (a book project, an iphone app, my house redesign, tonnes happening at work etc) and at this point i'm feeling pretty good about how i've been managing my time and getting lots done.

Reading this article on 'How Simplicity Can Help Creativity' has really made me feel good about some of my working methods and help me push them forward to become even more effect.

If you're someone who 'juggles with water' I recommend you arrange some time to give it a read


Action Aid - Thank You

I got this through the post a while back. It's from Action Aid and it's a beautifully simple idea. If you make regular or substantial donations you receive a personalised 'thank you' card, which details how your donation(s) have been put to good use. They show their work through individual case studies, which are backed up with photos and landing web pages, with further info on.

Such good use of case studies and personalisation are rarely seen in charity branding. The execution is also pitch perfect. The paper stock is suitable low budget, but the format, typography and rubber band binding gives it a strong feeling 'attention to detail' and craft.

I'm sure who is behind the work, but it's the best piece of direct mail i've received.

Click London goes retro

The annual event showcasing the cutting edge of digital design and interaction has gone retro for this year's event (strange choice). The new mailers are printed on lovingly recreated computer paper, complete with dodgy perforations.

The line up looks great once again.