Bright and Shiny

Cool,clear and beautiful today. Alex was up early to prep for his Physics examination. Kitty and Thea were up bright and early to get on the bus to get to Ithaca to watch a friend give his final presentation of a project. I got the trash and recycling to the curb—trying to make some sense of the trash room which was essentially “trashed”. Its nice to have that done.

I wanted to share this interesting link with you….which you may be interested in (or not) but I think its cool, kind of a celebration of our digital age, the digital cottage from whence the digital cottage industries happen. To wheel this back a bit, I love where the world is these days. One can, if inspired, start a business, sell stuff online, and create a job, a business, create a salary without having to pander to “The Man” and all that entails. So, the paradigm of going out to “get a job” may become more staying put, and creating a niche for yourself. Etsy is a model for that…but anyone with a website can/could be in business. One step further, anyone with a computer can be a small manufacturer. What with the amazing stuff that is created for scrapbooking, one can do limited edition vinyl, paper, plastic laser cutting combined with the lovely Epson printers (large scale) that can print paper, fabric, material etc. Laser cutters like Cricut, The Silhouette, or the Klik-n-Kut (CNC cutters)  that work with standard purchases along with VECTOR Graphics (hello! this is my world!!). Companies like Spoonflower allow us the opportunity to create patterns and custom fabrics for ourselves and for sale. Klic-N Print allows you to print on ribbons, stickers. There are all sorts of inexpensive on-demand and conventional printers out there online that I cannot say enough about. And there is this new site I have discovered, Ponoko, part of the “personal factory movement”. This is what Ponoko says to explain the business they are in:

Welcome to the world’s easiest making system.

Ponoko is an online marketplace for everyone to click to make real things.

It’s where creators, digital fabricators, materials suppliers and buyers meet to make (almost) anything.

We kicked off at TechCrunch40 at the end of 2007 with a vision to reinvent how goods are designed, made and distributed worldwide.

The core of this vision is the trade in product designs – kinda like the trade in music (iTunes), photos (Flickr), movies (YouTube) and software apps (iPhone) before us.

We host tens of thousands of user generated product designs, ready to be customized and made into real things with the click of a mouse.

But hosting designs is only a part of the puzzle. Importantly, we also provide the world’s first digital making system that means these product designs can be priced instantly online and made locally, as close to the point of consumption as possible.

It means goods can be made in the greenest way. Making on demand reduces warehousing and wastage. Plus, making locally emphasizes digital transportation of goods instead of the traditional shipping of physical products.

Check it out. Isnt it great we have so much within a mouseclick away? Think of all you could do and make.

more brand thinking...outloud, that is.

Rooster, Q. Cassetti, 2010, Adobe Illustrator, digital.So, The happiness parade continues on my desktop. I am backing into a new mark for the bakery and am making lots of pictures that may or may not work as a mark. But, we have moved off the corporate and staid, and more into tangible and fun. The more I think about it, the more I need to find models that are more reflective of the spirit of the work/ the brand that needs to be conveyed.

As much as I do not love this brand as it does not speak directly to me, the“Life is Good” folks manage to do a nice job of presenting a kind of hippie message in a very friendly, non-threatening way. I mean, what is not to agree with “Life is Good” when you are powering around in your minivan going to the soccer game? Life may not be so good for those inner city moms climbing out of the subway trying to find peace in their lives. But “Life is Good ” is not their brand. Its for those minivan moms…. not the medicated freaks like me— or the hard-working single moms that don’t have the time to reflect on whether life is good or not. But what is not to fight with the look and feel and what it means to those who sport this gear. I mean, they call their damned baseball caps “chill caps”. Where is the vomitorium? However, the spirit of friendly and nonthreatening, I can handle. Its taking it to the enth degree with the “chill caps” and the feel good tote bags. Even your dog can feel good (let it be a golden retriever, please dear god>)Puhlease. But lesson received re the feel good.

On the other hand, you have Stonewall Kitchen. They have a very buttoned up identity that has a nice script handwriting/font that compliments the logotype in simple, shadowed Copperplate Gothic/ all caps. They have a very simple color scheme (a bit dated, but still fresh and recognized). They represent excellent, a bit pricey, but good goods in prepackaged sauces, mixes, jams/jellies etc. They also are from New England (as is “Life is Good”) but they lean on that a bit more. Stonewall tells you it was established in 1991 but feels much the way many of the foods we bought with my grandmother (Crosse and Blackwell being the one that comes to mind)—that they have been around since the mid 1800s like Heinz. Stonewall has established an established look that rests on trust and quality without much fun, though their offerings are imaginative and smart. They rely on whitespace and on hand lettering to “friendly” up the image that could go stuffy if they let it.

Dean & DeLuca and Stonewall have similar design programs though D&D have opted to be more urbane and pulled in as their line expands whereas Stonewall softens their approach. I love D&D’s alternative and smart packaging. They are far more giftable (particularly as a corporate gift)…where the Stonewall products feel more hostess gifty. Stonewall you will find at TJMaxx. D&D does not go outside their network.

There is Le Pain Quotidien, a wonderful bread franchise we have seen/eaten at in NYC. Their hook is fresh bread served in a very honest way with butter/cheese/jam/ soft boiled eggs, as sandwiches etc. in a very fresh, open manner with big tables that you may be seated with other folks you may not know. There is a country honesty in their food, their presentation and the shops. Their mark (which they downplay on their site) is at left with a focus on baguettes with a flash presentation on the top of it for the site.  Nice and discreet use of social networking symbols on their site…but not much of a definitive brand. They let the locations (and the bread) do the talking and making memorable. As an aside, if you have a chance to have breakfast at one, I highly recommend the experience. And, the bread is wonderful.

MOre later. The phone just rang and I need to pick up the little chicks at the park.