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September 13, 2011 / matthas

Keep Calm And Kerry On – print up the shirts!

Good news with the Keep Calm And Kerry On campaign:  we’re making t-shirts!

First, a little backstory. When I created the original horseshoe version (seen in the entry below), I contacted the Senior Director of PR & Communications for the Indianapolis Colts. In his defense, I’m sure he gets dozens of calls like this each week: “Hi there, I’m Jozo the clown & I’ve got a GREAT IDEA! Can I haz tickets?” He was cordial on the call, but the concept wasn’t moved forward.

The good news is that with a simple icon switch and a proposal to my friend Nate Dunlevy, the Keep Calm And Kerry On campaign is alive and well.

Nate runs the best Colts site on the internet, 18to88.com , and I’ve been a reader since its inception. So when I realized that the Kerry On campaign just had to carry on, well, I knew I had to get Nate involved.

T-shirts should be ready for order within roughly 24 hours

9.14.11 UPDATE #1: shirts should be available for sale by lunch or early afternoon today. Initial run will be limited, based on sales, so spread the word!

9.14.11 UPDATE #2: shirts are available — hit it! keepcalmkerryon.com

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September 9, 2011 / matthas

Peyton Manning, Kerry Collins and the British Government

No long winded post about a conspiracy here. Just a quick share of a WWII-inspired piece.

I’m a Colts fan. I’m a designer. So indulge me the intersection of design and sports, if you will.

My belief is that, prior to the recent news, Peyton Manning was on track to go down as the best quarterback to play the game of football. While I hope this second neck surgery in less than 4 months doesn’t signal the beginning of the end for one of the greatest athletes of my time, I continue to need reassurance.

Today’s reassurance came from this 1939 poster created by the British Ministry of Information. So I created my own version below. Get well soon, Peyton. In the meantime, Kerry on Colts fans.

August 15, 2011 / matthas

Nouns as verbs … and other corporate jargon

A couple weeks ago, I sat through the same 90 minute presentation three times. Not by choice – the content wasn’t that inspiring. What was so inspiring, you ask? Well, the inspiration was abundant in the words used at the podium. Words like “synergy” and “engage” …

Let me tell you, the synergy was engaging.

Sorry brother, I think you lost them at "greetings & salutations".

If you still haven’t caught on to the sarcasm yet, try this.

I’m talking about corporate jargon – keywords and catch phrases that have gained credibility beyond their meaning. In defense of the speaker (who is one of our better speakers here at the farm), I’d argue that the majority of his audience expects to hear some of these words – that corporate speakers have been subconsciously trained to hit a keyword quota of sorts. Either that or risk losing the audience.

What I’d like to know is … how did we get here? Was it always like this? Seems to me that real talk and interaction have been scorned in favor of corporate jargon and posturing.

And it gets in the way of progress.

Read more…

August 10, 2011 / matthas

Das … pretty cool

Will they make me buy a VW? Probably not, but if I were in a different tax bracket with significantly more disposable income, the Volkswagen marketing efforts highlighted below would definitely serve to move them up in my consideration set.


July 5, 2011 / matthas

Set ISO to “sparkle”

What happens when you give a group of kids some glow bracelets, sparklers and free reign of the dessert table at a 4th of July picnic? See below …

April 1, 2011 / matthas

Hospitable Visit

Without going into detail, let me say that my wife & I have spent more than our fair share of time in hospitals. Most of that time has been forgettable, at best. So I was beyond pleasantly surprised by a recent trip we took with our daughter to the north campus of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Before I had even parked, I had a hunch that this hospital visit would be different from what I was used to.

From patient arrival (you’re greeted by large scale imagery on the underside of the main entrance awning – imagine how many kids arrive in a reclining wheelchair or stretcher) to waiting room behavior (interactive game stations, modular & movable cushy furniture), whoever was behind this build gave serious consideration to the full duration of the patient visit. Kid chairs with fun webbed feet, colorfully shaped ceiling light fixtures, massive window walls, LED clouds (see below) … CCH nailed the “user experience”.

My daughter was extremely nervous on the drive to the facility. Within minutes of arrival, she hadn’t even let her fears get into the window elevators with us. She was more focused on exploring different areas or playing hallway twister with the liquid filled floor tiles. Yeah – liquid filled floor tiles. Awesome.

Now I understand that it’s a children’s hospital, and kids need more than slate floors and beige walls. But don’t we all? It’s a shame we don’t (can’t?) often push the boundaries of intentional design with things that, you know, grown humans use too. There should not have to be a dramatic negative hurdle for us to come up with a dramatic solution. Why not seek out every opportunity to turn even the most mundane project into the best user experience possible?

Instead, we hustle to meet the deadlines, check the box, and move on to the next project – a lifestyle that could put us in the hospital. If we’re lucky enough, we’ll end up in one like CCH.