Sparks February 2011 -

Sparks February 2011

In the News

The Gap logo debacle & crowdsourcing
Late last year, retailer Gap launched a new logo. Howls of indignation and scorn spanned the globe, with this comment by Umair Haque at Harvard Business Review summing it up:

“The new logo reeks of something designed not just by committee,” he says, “but by a committee of bean counters who don’t have a creative bone in their body, a suite full of suits who just might be missing the empathic, intuitive right hemisphere of the brain entirely.”

Oops. But Gap made it even worse by announcing they would crowdsource a new design. Ouch!

The American Institute of Graphic Arts, of which we are a member, worked closely with Gap to show them the error of their ways, particularly the decision to turn to crowdsourcing. As noted in an AIGA press release,

“[D]esign of an identity or brand should be informed by public perceptions of a brand’s strength and qualities; yet the design itself requires a deeper relationship with a client to understand context, vision, values and strategy of the client. Asking the public to design a mark eliminates the process of designing that is most likely to serve the client.”

AIGA also included their statement on spec work. We agree with it 100%.

Ethical designers need to work closely with clients to develop culturally relevant marketing materials that speak to the target market. Design is not decoration. Clients seeking free or bargain-basement logomarks will get substandard work that does not reach their goals.

Gap learned this the hard way; they reinstated the original logo after a week of turmoil, humiliation, and loss of brand value.
View the rejected and classic logo designs

How to get noticed on Facebook
Ever wonder how Facebook decides to put something in your News Feed versus Most Recent? So did Tom Weber of The Daily Beast. He conducted a month-long investigation and discovered the following points:

  • A bias against newcomers
  • “Most Recent” doesn’t tell the whole story.
  • Links are favored over status updates, and photos and videos trump links.
  • “Stalking” your friends won’t get you noticed.
  • Raise your visibility by getting people to comment.
  • It’s hard to get the attention of “popular kids.”

Facebook’s algorithm is constantly changing, but this report gives excellent insight into the types of things it looks for. Read the article to get the downlow.



This month’s winner: Drema Baker!
Our VisoVerbo champ wins a digital print featuring this one-of-a-kind design. Have a favorite quote or saying? Send it in! If your quote is chosen, you’ll receive a digital print of your custom design suitable for framing! Check out your competition here.

Client Spotlight

Dr. Jane Goodman
Jane Goodman is a professor in Indiana University’s Department of Communication and Culture. Her area of study includes the performing arts in North Africa.

She approached us to create a private website where she could showcase her research on contemporary Algerian theatre. Eventually, the site will accompany a book she is currently working on. She expects that she and others will use the site for teaching. At the same time, the theatre troupes benefit by having their work featured on a university website.

We created a site that’s database-driven so she can continually add projects and their details. She begins by entering the troupe’s name, and from there can specify People, Places, Pedagogy, Past, and Plays. She has the ability to upload both still photos and videos of her work, and specify captions and headings. All this information is immediately available for viewing to those who have the passcodes.

Because of confidentiality agreements that Jane had established with her interlocutors, making the site secure was a top priority. We placed the site on an IU server and protected both the administrative access and the public areas of the site with usernames and passwords. Jane is the keeper of that information and can give it only to those who need access.

With its African patterned themes and robust database capabilities, the new site for Algerian theatre is a valuable resource for theatre troupes and educators alike.

The site’s home page: