Thinkhaus is proud to announce that our design work for the James River Green Building Council (JRGBC) has been selected to be published in a new graphic design book, “BIG BOOK OF GREEN DESIGN” Read more here
For the past you may have seen the AT&T commercial that highlights a shoe company, Toms, that has a socially conscious mission. In the commercial it discusses how, for every pair of shoes sold, Toms donates another pair to a child in need. The company actually has this mission and is conducting business daily by not only thinking internally.
To learn about Toms please press the link below and perhaps buy a pair of shoes.
While surfing the web I came across what appears to be a 1991 PBS interview of Paul Rand, the most influential U.S. born graphic designer to ever live. It is very interesting to hear first hand Rand’s view on graphic design and how strong his believes were.
Food, Inc. in Richmond
On Saturday, July 12, I saw the documentary film, Food, Inc. at Movieland Theater in Richmond, Virginia. After the film was over Whole Foods Market sponsored a panel discussion on the topics that were illustrated in the film. For me personally, the film uncovered how the food industry is a part of an economic system that is clearly not working. The main focus of the food industry is to produce the kinds of foods that are “cheap” to buy, very easy to prepare, and enjoyable to eat. What is perceived as “cheap” does not often consider the disease outbreaks that have occurred in recent years, the cost of transporting the food, and the health problems it could cause. Our food system is not very sustainable.
Everyone should see this film. It will change the way you see your food.
Home, By Yann Arthus-Bertrand
On June 5th, 2009 Yann Arthus-Bertrand released his film, “Home”. Using beautiful aerial cinematography of various places around Earth, the film discusses how humanity is threatening the ecological balance of the planet. The movie was released simultaneously in 181 countries on the same date in cinemas around the world, on DVD, TV, and on YouTube, breaking the world record for the biggest film release in history.
Yann Arthus-Bertrand is a French photographer, journalist, reporter and environmentalist. On July 1, 2005, he founded the international environmental organization GoodPlanet, and set up the program Action Carbone to offset his own greenhouse gas emissions generated by his helicopter transports. The organization has helped people and companies reduce their climatic impact by funding projects on renewable energies, energy efficiency, and reforestation.
To watch the film on Youtube please click here: www.youtube.com/user/homeproject
Film director Gary Hustwit, the maker of the documentary “Helvetica”, has developed a new film “Objectified”, which features the social and cultural impact of manufactured goods that are the work of the most influential industrial designers working today. The film looks at the creativity and production behind the objects that we buy and use today. The film’s website states that, “It’s about the designers who reexamine, reevaluate, and reinvent our manufactured environment on a daily basis. It’s about personal expression, identity, consumerism, and sustainability”.
For more information about the film please visit the film’s web site, www.objectifiedfilm.com. The film will have a screening in Washington D.C. on July 6th at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. For more screenings please visit www.objectifiedfilm.com/screenings/
Calvin Klein ‘Threesome’
In June of 2009, Calvin Klein unveiled a jumbo billboard at the intersection of Houston and Lafayette Streets in Manhattan, depicting a highly sexually explicit image of two young men and a young woman entwined in a semi-nude threesome. The scene of the image takes place in an apartment like environment on a sofa. The female lays topless on top of of a male while she kisses another young man as he sits on the sofa. There is a third young male laying next to the sofa undressing.
Fox news.com interviewed a spokesperson from Calvin Klein who stated that the company’s intention was “to create a very sexy campaign that speaks to our targeted demographic.”
Teenage men and women are expose to this kind of imagery on a daily basis as many corporate brands are appealing heavily to the younger market. Millions of dollars are spent each day to influence “what is cool”, while many people in this age group are struggling to find their own values and morals. Companies like Calvin Klein have developed their brands in such a way that it makes no difference what product they are selling. The goal is to become a part of the culture in which we live, similar to how Coke has become associated with the American way of life.
This makes me raise the question, “Do you trust the American way of life to Calvin Klein?”
Life Inc. and Food Inc.
In the past few days Thinkhaus came across great resources that pinpoint how big corporations and the industrial sector are currently harming our society and economy. These businesses and industries have some influence over how United States citizens are managed by our government, how we go about our daily lives, how we buy and consume goods and services, and how and what food we eat.
“Life Inc”. is an eye opening book on how our society has made us consumers first and citizens second. In “Life Inc”. author Douglas Rushkoff, tells how “corportism” governs contemporary life. In generation after generation most Americans have adopted the values of corporations without even being aware of it.
Filmmaker Robert Kenner exposes our nation’s food industry through a new documentary, “Food Inc.”, showing what has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Kenner states our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers, and our own environment. The first showing of the documentary will be held June 12th.
Dates and locations to view the film can be found here
“Food Inc”. was also made into a book. This unique book explores the challenges raised by the movie in fascinating depth through 13 essays, most of them written especially for this book, and many by experts featured in the film.
Social Media For Change
Michelle Riggen-Ransom, Communications Director for and co-founder of BatchBlue Software, developed socialmediaforchange.com, a blog that provides interesting ways of how social media websites are being used to organize and carry out change for the better. You can follow Michelle on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mriggen
A Guide To Go Green
National Geographic produced a website, thegreenguide.com, which contains good resources about different aspects of how eco-friendly issues can impact ones life. The website divides its content into a variety of pages including Summer Guide, Home & Garden, Personal Care, Kids, Etc. Check it out!
Katie and Friends, Inc.
There is one Richmond Metro based organization, located in Midlothian, Virginia that is making a difference for the disabled community by promoting universal design. Katie and Friends, Inc. was developed to bring universally designed playgrounds to the parks, day care centers, and schools across Virginia. The organization supports universally designed playgrounds to teach children tolerance and acceptance of one another. Katie and Friends, Inc. states, “Children who play together learn to understand the differences of others. They grow up and become adults who embrace these differences and thereby become more caring citizens”.
Katie and Friends, Inc. is always looking for volunteers. If you are interested please visit katieandfriends.org.
Summer Time Reading
School has ended and summer is here. With that, many are seeking lots of good reading for the summer. Realizing the state of our economy and current national and international events, “sustainability” has been a hot topic.
Nathan Shedroff, chair of the MBA in Design Strategy program at California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco, has just released his latest book, “Design is the Problem: The Future of Design Must Be Sustainable”. Published by Rosenfeld Media, it is likely to become one of the most important books for designers on the subject of design, design practice, and sustainability.
Many are under the impression that sustainability only deals with environmental design issues. Mr. Shedroff uncovers that sustainability includes three main categories or domains.
These are: Social Issues (or Human Capital), Environmental Issues (or Natural Capital) and Financial issues (or Financial Capital). These are all areas and issues that the international community is facing. This book was
written not only for design professionals, but for design students, business people, business students, and innovation specialists.
This is a book that Thinkhaus looks to be reading this summer.
Recommended Reading From haustalk
At the May haustalk, our guest speaker, Noah Scalin, recommended a few books regarding socially conscious design. They are as follows:
Do Good Design: How Designers Can Change The World by David Berman
SustainAble by Aaris Sherin
No Logo by Naomi Klein
Noah Scalin’s Skull-A-Day Project in How
Scalin’s Skull-A-Day project is featured in the current issue of How Magazine as part of the article Daily Inspirations.
People Within The Disabled Community Deal With Limitations
The ABLE TO CHOOSE campaign is raising awareness throughout the state of Virginia regarding the accessibility issues that people with disabilities currently face. As the campaign states, people within the
disabled community deal with limitations in all aspect in their lives daily. The goal of the ABLE TO CHOOSE campaign is to change our attitudes and actions, business practices, community and civic activities, and public policy so as to make all aspects of community life accessible.
For more information please click here: www.abletochoose.org
Social Media For Green Companies and Green Minded Individuals
Many individuals are using Facebook and Twitter as an online journal to document their life and for connecting with friends and family. Businesses, big and small, are using Facebook and Twitter to connect with individuals that share their values and to connect with prospects.
Are you a green company and green minded individual looking to for a place online where you can connect with other people and companies that share your passion for green. Greenlinkz is a social media site where green professionals can connect and communicate with others. With its “green” focus you will be able to make stronger connections and learn more about this growing industry.
You can find Greenlinkz here: www.greenlinkz.com
Rocketboom on NY Street Ad Takeover
Jordan Seiler of Illegalsigns.ca’s American comrade, PublicAdCampaign.com pulled together what many could argue as one of the largest organized guerilla art campaigns in regards to illegal billboards in recent memory (perhaps ever). Doing all North American cities proud, Seiler, along with over 40 participants, white-washed illegal billboards across the city followed quickly by artwork, messages, and general visually stimulating fare to take back the public space. Space that companies, namely NPA Outdoor had obtained and utilized in complete disregard of the city’s bylaws, resulting in excessively cluttered streets.
Connecting Wih Green Consumers
By Tessa Wegert, ClickZ, Apr 23, 2009
As the race to the finish heats up on “American Idol,” a race of another kind is just beginning. It’s the search for the next “Organic Idol,” a contest to crown the first-ever spokesperson for the Organic Agriculture and Products Education Institute (Organic Institute). According to the organization, the winner (based on the popularity of their YouTube video about organic products) will appear in its upcoming fall 2009 ad campaign, following its very first consumer advertising campaign, which launched just last month.
Consumers and advertisers alike are jumping on the green bandwagon, the former investing (both figuratively and financially) in a green lifestyle while the latter boosts efforts to connect with eco-conscious buyers. The result is an increased demand for green-related Web content that addresses these issues and that puts marketers in closer proximity to their potential customers.
All parties are flocking to sites like “The Daily Green.” This fantastically comprehensive resource offers information on everything related to environment issues and global warming. Part of Hearst Digital Media, the site is where you’ll find brands like Radio Shack promoting its new in-store trade-in program in which old and used gadgets can be returned to the store, appraised for their value, and exchanged for a Radio Shack gift card. Banners incorporate the traditional symbol of recycling to resonate with green-conscious consumers.
Your product needn’t be recycled to warrant advertising it on “The Daily Green,” though. With content sections like “save money” and “fuel-efficient cars,” your economically-themed campaigns and newest high mileage model could be the perfect fit, whether they tout the pennies buyers will save on your brand of macaroni and cheese or enlighten car shoppers on the latest environmentally-friendly automotive technology.
If it’s cars you are promoting — or car shoppers you’re eager to reach — you can also look to popular automotive blogs like Autoblog’s sister site AutoBlogGreen. Besides posting the latest automotive content and updates on subjects like ethanol subsidies and flex-fuel motorbikes, it’s now drumming up additional interest and traffic by posting its headlines on Twitter.
TreeHugger.com covers the automotive space too, of course, but this green site offers more versatility with additional topics that include design, architecture, fashion, and beauty. TreeHugger was purchased by Discovery Communications in 2007 in a move to cash in on the green theme and has been thriving ever since; the site is currently nominated for Best Culture/Personal Blog in the 2009 Webby Awards People’s Voice. Its advertisers range from Adobe to Free People brand clothing and accessories.
For a broader reach, try aligning with SustainLane Green Ad Network, the self-proclaimed “largest green ad network” with over 300 million monthly page views. Last year the network more than doubled its audience reach, going from 10 million in January of 2008 to 21 million in December — a true sign of the growing interest in environmentally-responsible living.
The network’s sites, of which there are over 125, focus on living a green lifestyle — what SustainLane calls “Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability” (LOHAS) — and span 10 content channels that include “Outdoor and Environment,” “Socially Responsible Investing,” “Natural Health and Beauty,” and “Green Hollywood.” Advertisers range from Gardenburger, Tom’s Natural Care of Maine, and Honda to HSBC and “The New York Times.”
Whether your target audience is moms, dads, young professionals, in-market automotive shoppers, or fashionistas, you’ll find them on green-themed sites. You’ll also find interesting and engaging content to support your campaigns. Green content may be trendy, but it isn’t a trend. These issues are here to stay, as are the sites that are generating unique advertising opportunities for marketers all of kinds.
Obama Logo Design Part 1 of 2
Sol Sender - Obama Logo Design Part 2 of 2
This 5 minute biography covers the life and work of Professor R. Roger Remington (Rochester Institute of Technology Graphic Design School) who was inducted into the Art Directors Hall of Fame in November of 2008. This film was shown at his induction ceremony.
Professor Remington taught John O’Neill, President and Design Director of Thinkhaus, when he attended R.I.T to received his MFA degree in graphic design. The design history lessons that John learned helped shaped the mission of Thinkhaus.
Design to Empower the People by Zara Arshad
The American Institute of Graphic Arts posted an article by Zara Arshad, a British designer currently based in Beijing, China, where she promotes how design can solve social, economic and political issues. In the article she discusses how design has developed a political role around the world. She gave many examples of how designers and design firms around the world are using design to make a political statement regarding many social issues.
You can read the article by pressing the link below.
Tobias Wong created a range of products that reference the 9/11 attacks, including Boxcutter and NY Pocketbook. He has resorted to this type of work because he is “frustrated that other designers don’t.
VivaKi’s Kenny Calls For ‘Moral Marketing’
by Mark Walsh, www.mediapost.com
In the midst of recession, marketers must focus on the core needs of consumers and take a long-term approach to brand-building to weather the global economic downturn.
Advocating that corporations adopt morally informed marketing strategies in tough times was one of the main themes emphasized by David Kenny, managing partner of Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi unit, during a keynote presentation at the Jefferies 5th Annual Internet and Media Conference Wednesday in New York.
“The fundamental question is, how moral is marketing?” said Kenny. “People are spending and consuming more than they should. You can only produce more than you sell for so long before you go out of business. I think the air is out of the tires and people have to adapt to a new reality.”
For brands, that means using the slowdown to zero in on which products and services customers really want and how to deliver them most efficiently without cutting back too much on distribution. “It’s a lot more about services than sales right now,” said Kenny, who co-leads the VivaKi organization that Publicis formed last year to serve as the hub of its digital media services.
When asked which clients were cutting back on ad spending, he did not point to any specific companies–but mentioned the auto, durable goods and financial services sectors as the ones that are scaling back. Highlighting the excesses of Wall Street that helped trigger the economic meltdown, Kenny suggested to the room full of investment bankers that “maybe there are too many hedge funds?”
But he also indicated that spending by packaged goods and other companies that provide staples from breakfast cereal to soap remained steady because consumers still need those basic items under any economic conditions. Some clients are actually increasing advertising, with the belief that “now is the time to build brand equity the way Kellogg’s built brand equity during the Depression,” he said.
Kenny noted that in the digital realm, especially in social media, companies can expand marketing efforts without necessarily buying paid media. “We have great campaigns that run on Facebook. We haven’t paid for that,” he said, noting the brand-building value of word-of-mouth campaigns online.
Social sites are especially useful for gauging consumer attitudes in order to develop more effective marketing messages. And while social media currently offers advertisers the best opportunity go beyond click-through ads online, he acknowledged that Internet advertising still does not deliver the emotional impact of traditional media. “We haven’t found an ad unit for that,” he said. “Most of what’s advertised on the Internet to date has been direct marketing.”
Even so, Kenny expressed confidence that the majority of media will eventually be distributed digitally, presumably with advertising to follow. That’s where VivaKi comes in, helping clients to make the shift toward integrated digital campaigns. “The whole roster has got to move to a place where they can use this space,” he said.
Racial Cartoon Appear In The New York Post
On Wednesday, February 18, 2009, a cartoon appeared in the New York Post of two police officers shooting a chimpanzee dead, saying, ” They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.” This cartoon that may portray President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee is like so many other racial historical images in the history of the United States.
Historically African Americans were portrayed in cartoons as being monkey-like. Below you will see cartoon samples of historical cartoons depicting African Americans. Compare these images to the most recent New York Post cartoon and you will find the country still has racial issues to resolve.
Virginia Smoking Ban: A Step Towards Better Health in Public Spaces.
The state House of Delegates and Senate have both passed a bill that would prohibit smoking in restaurants and bars. American Lung Association quotes as follows, “Secondhand smoke causes almost 50,000 deaths in adult nonsmokers in the United States each year, including approximately 3,400 from lung cancer.”
There have been many debates throughout the years on this important social and health issue as Virginia moved away from its 400 year history of tobacco cropping. Many feel it is a personal decision to smoke regardless of the harmful affects to them and nonsmokers.
This social health issue has resulted in many anti-smoking campaigns in Virginia and across the United States. For more facts about health issues regarding secondhand smoke please visit the American Lung Association website at: http://www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=35422
Copyfight Erupts Over Fairey’s ‘Hope’ Poster of Obama By Lewis Wallace, blog.wired.com
The Associated Press says it wants credit and compensation for use of a copyright-protected photo in the creation of Shepard Fairey’s widely imitated “Hope” campaign poster for Barack Obama. “The Associated Press has determined that the photograph used in the poster is an AP photo and that its use required permission,” said Paul Colford, AP’s director of media relations, in a statement Wednesday. Fairey’s lawyer said the artist’s use of the image is covered by fair use, and refused to comment further on the matter. Fairey reportedly found the image through an image search on Google. AP says the photo was taken April 2006 by Manny Garcia, who was on assignment for the wire service, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The red-white-and-blue poster of Obama with the word “Hope” at the bottom (pictured) has spurred parody images showing everyone from Sarah Palin (”Nope”) to Heath Ledger (”Joke”). Paste magazine’s easy-to-use, web-based Obamicon generator has reportedly created more than 500,000 similarly spare images. “I’m thrilled that my image has become an unofficial image for the campaign,” Fairey told Wired.com in the heat of last year’s presidential contest. “It’s awesome.”
Good Reading For 2009
Shoes Made out of Truck Tires
Indulge in guilt-free summer fashion as you slip on these eco-friendly sandals that are made of 100% recycled truck tires. A tough competition against your average flip flops, the tire sandals by Old Ho are guaranteed to keep your feet comfortable and dry, without scrimping on style. Each pair of the Cambodian handcrafted eco footwear sells for $45. A portion of the profits go to Benefit Heritage Watch, an organization dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of Southeast Asia.
The Back Porch Energy Initiative Hosts Weekly Event About Economical and Environmental Issues.
The Back Porch Energy Initiative, located in Richmond, Virginia, is a non-profit organization working with communities to cultivate local responses to the national and global issue of energy consumption. The Back Porch team is committed to collaborating with communities on existing resources, leveraging new ideas, and developing practical, economical, and environmental solutions. The organization host a weekly event each Monday at Globe Hopper Coffeehouse and Lounge, located at 2100 E Main Street, to discuss topics of social interest. Gathering begins at 6:30pm, multi-media discussion begins promptly at 5:30pm.For more information visit http://www.globehoppercoffee.com/ghc3/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=53&Itemid=60
Bible Taught in Richmond Metro Public Schools
I was scanning Richmond.com and came across an article regarding how a new religion course brings the Bible to classrooms in Chesterfield County Public Schools with the introduction of a new comparative religions high school course. The course was founded on religious beliefs, and I feel it’s appropriate for our kids to be taught the basic principles that the Bible teaches. The course is being offered in part because our country was founded on religious beliefs. “There are certain things that the government says you should do, but there is the right, moral, thing that has to be done, and the federal government has been wrong many times before. It’s time that we restore moral values and principles back to our kids’ lives,” said Matoaca School Board member Omarh Rajah. To read more visit www.richmond.com/education/24826
Bad Wording By Crayola
I came across a black Crayola Crayon. The crayon had the word “black” spelled in different languages. To my surprise one of the spellings was listed as “negro”. I realize that Crayola did not mean any harm when it printed the spelling on the crayon but they may have overlooked the negative impact that word has on our society, especially on our children.