Thursday, July 31, 2008

SPECIAL FEATURE: Interview with FontStruct - Part I

Without further ado, Creative Cooler brings you an exclusive interview with online font creator FontStruct. We'd like to extend our most gracious thanks to Lead Developer Rob Meek
and Type Director Stephen Coles for taking the time to answer our questions.

Watch for the second and final part of our interview tomorrow.

Interview with FontStruct - Part I

Creative Cooler: How did the concept of FontStruct come about?

Rob Meek: I've been creating online typographic toys since 2000, and the idea for something like FontStruct had been on my mind for several years without ever really going anywhere. I couldn't find the time or money to do it. At the same time I was working as a contractor for FontShop and realised one day that they would be the perfect partner. They were looking to develop more innovative online services for the typographic community and saw the potential in FontStruct straight away.

CC: How does FontStruct fit into the Web 2.0 world?

RM: In many ways FontStruct is a typical Web 2.0 application. One thing which I think sets it apart from many other existing, online, creative applications is that it's really about creating artwork from scratch rather than remixing , editing or sharing artworks which are created offline. Fonts with their relatively small file sizes and clear structure really lend themselves to the online editing environment. FontStruct also provides tools which are not really available in an offline application. Many, many designers, professionals and laypeople, have made their first font with FontStruct. It may be limited but it is much simpler than offline font editing programmes, and of course it's free.

CC: Can fonts created in FontStruct be used successfully for commercial purposes or online? Have you seen any examples of this yet?

RM: FontStructions are most certainly being used in commercial work. We only recently added a feature to allow people to upload their artworks to the site so we're looking forward to see what comes of that.

CC: What are your future plans for FontStruct? How are you updating/enhancing the program?

RM: An initial priority has been to ensure the stability and reliability of the service. We certainly didn't expect to have so many registered users in such a short time, so we've had to to do work to make sure the system can reliably support this high level of use. There are many, many ideas being discussed by the FontStruct team, including suggestions from the user community. At the moment we are working on improvements to the community aspects of the website including homepages for users which will allow users to promote themselves a little more directly if they wish. The highest priority enhancement for the FontStructor editing program is to add some support for control over letter spacing (horizontal metrics). We will also be improving the font generating module, to ensure the highest possible quality for the downloaded fonts.

Stephen Coles: We also just launched a revision of the Gallery section which makes it easier to see recently added FontStructions with the addition of a "What's New" tab.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Can You Understand Me Now?

This New Zealand ad to bring awareness to the hearing impaired is quite well done. I Particularly like the lips as words visuals that help accentuate the ad's point while making sure you can follow along. Check it out:

Monday, July 28, 2008

How To Say Stop

This video reminds me of the Microsoft ipod video that circulated a few years ago. It's a fun little poke at our business...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ten Rules Every Designer Should Live By

This is from an article in Businessweek called the 10 Commandements of Web Design. I whole heartedly agree with them and think every designer should abide by them. Most web designers I know should pay special attention to #6... Some of these commandments also translate to, and should be adhered to in print design as well. They are as follows:

1. Thou shalt not abuse Flash.
2. Thou shalt not hide content.
3. Thou shalt not clutter.
4. Thou shalt not overuse glassy reflections.
5. Thou shalt not name your Web 2.0 company with an unnecessary surplus or dearth of vowels.
6. Thou shalt worship at the altar of typography.
7. Thou shalt create immersive experiences.
8. Thou shalt be social.
9. Thou shalt embrace proven technologies.
10. Thou shalt make content king.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

HP Touches The Right Chord

I love the new HP TouchSmart PC commercial (gasp!). That's right, I like a commercial for a PC. I love the Vivialdi soundtrack, the light painting-like visuals, everything. It reminds me a bit of the touch screen scenes from Minority Report and it's just plain fun to watch!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Doogie Howser Meets Barney In Old Spice Commercial

Neil Patrick Harris is known for two major roles—his dorky child star role as Doogie Howser and his suave comeback as Barney on How I Met Your Mother. Pretty different roles, but they both play a part in Old Spice's latest spot. Harris presents himself as a former pretend doctor in a very Barney-like character in Barney's dream fake hospital with hot nurses and people making out in the hallways. If you're going to use a celebrity spokesperson, this is the way to do it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Coming Soon! Interview with FontStruct

Within the next week or so we're going to publish an exclusive interview with FontStruct's Lead Developer, Rob Meek, and Type Director, Stephen Coles. They'll give us insight into how FontStruct came to be, its role in the Web 2.0 world and what plans they have for the program.
Check back soon for the full interview!

Real Men of Genius?

While watching the MLB All-Star Game last night, I couldn't help but notice some great ads for Budweiser. Baseball and a cold beer on a hot summer night, could there be a more perfect combination? No. Could there be anything more American? Well, that's where it gets tricky.

Last night's ads proclaimed Budweiser to be "The Great American Lager." Only a slight deviation from the message in this ad, posted to YouTube less than a month ago (if Christine were here to help me, you wouldn't have to click through to watch it, sorry).

What a feel-good ad! It's great to know that Budweiser is still American-owned. Only problem is, that's no longer true.

So up until very recently, Anheuser-Busch was running ads touting their domestic ownership. Now, while the ink is still wet on A-B's deal with Belgian brewer InBev, new TV spots reinforce the American image of Budweiser beer, but make no mention of corporate ownership.

Budweiser has a brand image to maintain, but these ads are sure to strike a raw nerve. A lot of people are upset over an iconic American brand being sold to a foreign company. What do you think? Have these ads entered insult-to-injury territory?

Friday, July 11, 2008


Over the next couple of weeks, Megan will be honeymooning and relocating and I'll be biking through Germany—so we'll be taking a short break from blogging. What's going to happen to the Creative Cooler during this hiatus? Don't you worry—we have a few posts up our sleeve and some agency friends keeping tabs here until we get back.

Most notably, we'd like to introduce you to our newest copywriter at the agency, lil' Bill, who'll be blogging and checking in. We think you'll enjoy his musings.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Page 143 Challenge

On page 143 of his newest book, a certain social media guru (who will remain nameless for reasons that will quickly become obvious) states that “every single time” somebody mentions his name online, he knows about it: “From newspaper articles to blog posts, from podcasts to bathroom walls (if they have an RSS feed), nothing escapes my vain and watchful eyes.” He goes on to say that “people who are trying to get my attention know very well that it is just a matter of time before I find them and inevitably respond.”

And we don’t doubt it for a second.

Reading those words, however, did get us to thinking: What if we made the challenge a little tougher? Suppose a tiny little blog like ours referenced this internationally recognized authority without ever actually uttering his name or the title of his book. In other words, what if we gave Google Alerts precious little to work with, but still included enough specifics to narrow the list of possible people we’re talking about to just one?

Just how long will it take Mr. _______ to find out about this post and acknowledge its existence? We’re hoping he will eventually. We just don’t know when. Let the blogging games begin.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Heineken Prevents Suicide?

I love a good Heineken. I am very much a beer girl at heart and Heineken is one of my favorites. I'm generally a fan of their advertising as well. In fact, I've been meaning to blog about how much I enjoy the Share the Good spot they're running right now.

But I'm not so sure about their 'Suicide' spot. Well, I'm not entirely sure it's actually theirs since I've heard rumors it may be a fake. Still, it's in poor taste. I get the idea, it could be funny if done right, but somehow this execution just isn't. It's not completely off, but with a concept like this, you have to be dead on and funny or it just doesn't work—and this one just doesn't work.

What do you think?

Creative Cooler Blog Update

In keeping with the agency tradition of birthdays and birthday treats, I brought Scotcheroos today to celebrate my birthday. Yes, I am now officially in my late 20s (thanks for reminding me, Christine). I celebrate with the likes of Tom Hanks, OJ Simpson, John Tesh, Jimmy Smits, Donald Rumsfeld, Courtney Love and Fred Savage.

Today is also my last day in the office. As was posted earlier this week, I've gotten hitched and am about to take a month hiatus from work in order to do some traveling, pack up my life and relocate.

In the meantime, the blog will continue in all its glory thanks to Christine. And I'll check in periodically, too. I miss you already.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Improv Everywhere Is At It Again with Human Mirror

Christine blogged about New York-based improvisation group Improv Everywhere in January when it held its annual Pantless subway ride. Seems like the group is taking over the subway again. The latest antic, Human Mirror, includes 15 sets of identical twins riding opposite each other on the subway mirroring each other's moves. It's pretty impressive.

Speaking of The Shining...

This is just cool.

Verizon Creeps Me Out

Of all the cell phone providers, I've always found Verizon's to be the most inventive. Granted, I've been rather unimpressed with their 2008 campaigns until I saw these most recent spots playing. The first, featuring two boys that bring back chilling memories of The Shining and room 237, is my favorite, although the creepy neighbor lady spot works well too. The casting was great—her delivery reminds me of some movie or actress that I just can't put my finger on at the moment.

My only thought is I wish they'd started running these closer to Halloween. It would be so fitting.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Congrats to Megan!

Megan got married this weekend and I couldn't be happier for her! All of us at the agency wish her well. It was a beautiful wedding that Megan spent countless hours meticulously planning and organizing. I must say, all that prep work showed as everything looked beautiful and flowed flawlessly.

I've included a couple pics from the big day!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Truth in Advertising #5

Nothing is more effective at gaining 100 percent participation than a free lunch.

Walmart Scraps the Hyphen

Retail giant, Walmart, is changing its logo and signage. Walmart is ditching its hyphen and all caps letters for a 'friendlier' looking logo with a large sunburst. Can't say I'm a huge fan of the new logo, but I wasn't really a fan of the old one either.

The old logo had a bit of a blocky, discount store look to it, but that's what Walmart is, isn't it? This new logo seems to be trying a little to hard and clearly coming out at a time when Walmart is trying to change its image. I'll admit, I actually don't mind the sunburst (gasps ensue...) but I am definitely not a fan of that font. Something about those lower case a's is bugging me. What do you think? Is it an improvement?
Check out the history of the Walmart logo here.