Monday, March 29, 2010

Nestle Crunch gets creative with fun hotline promo

Nestle has done something quite refreshing: It's made the always-dreaded automated caller system highly enjoyable.

To promote its Crunch candy bar, Nestle's developed some fun options on its 1-800 hotline menu. But they're not explicitly sharing the secret of calling this phone number as in the recent US Cellular commercials--it's only been passed virally through Facebook. I hadn't heard of the fun until a Facebook friend of mine posted this yesterday:

"TAKE A MINUTE AND DO THIS! Call the Nestle Hot line at 1-800 295-0051. When asked if you want to continue in English or Spanish, wait quietly for about 10
seconds and you will smile. Keep going and press 4. Then press 7. Don't give
away the surprise. Whoever thought of this at Nestle... deserves a raise and a
pocket full of sunshine!! Totally worth it!!!!! Enjoy"

It also seems that it's not new. This article about it was written back in November.

I'd recommend calling, perhaps a few times. Follow the instructions above, or take your own adventure. Just don't be surprised if you get a busy signal--seems it's pretty popular lately. You can also shortcut and hear the fun here:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Shamrock Shake In the Chicago River

This post from Direct Daily on Leo Burnett's Sharock Shake installation for McDonald's spilling into the Chicago River. Mostly I'm reposting it since I love Shamrock Shakes and the photo made me smile, but it's also a clever little installation to play off of Chicago's annual dying the river green for St. Patrick's Day.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Typography Tip #4: Learn About Leading

Leading is a key component to good typography. Whether you know what it is or not, you use it every time you set type. If you live in the world of Microsoft Word, you know it as single spacing vs double spacing. In the land of typography beyond that of Microsoft Word, there are significantly more options.

The word leading comes from the old school typesetting days when type characters were individually set by hand and those lines of characters were separated by slabs of lead of varying thicknesses. Like font size, leading is measured in points.

In Typography Tip #3, I discussed using smaller type to achieve a better typographic look. Well that concept goes hand in hand with properly using leading. A smaller point size doesn't help you much if you don't give it room to breathe. In my first post, introducing this series, I discussed how poorly set type can actually tire your eyes and poor leading is often the culprit.

A lot of understanding leading is really training your eyes to see when type feels too close together or too airy. As mentioned in a comment on Typography Tip #3, 10 point type with 14 point leading is a great place to start when setting body copy. Another thing to keep in mind is that san serif fonts (like Helvetica) typically need more leading than serif fonts (like Times New Roman). Check out the examples below to see how much leading can affect good typography.

So start playing around with different leading and point sizes and see what happens!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Blatant Logo Rip Off

I read this article Yahoo! this morning and simply thought, "Wow, who could be so stupid?" Essentially, a candidate for U.S. Senate in Oregon, Marc Delphine, was using a logo donated by apparently some designer associated with whoever designed his website. Well, that's nice and all except that it's a blatant rip off of the Columbus Blue Jackets NHL team. Oops.

(The logo on the right is the Columbus Blue Jackets logo and the one on the left is the Marc Delphine logo.)

Essentially the designer just took the logo and flipped it. Really? Did the designer really think that was going to pass trademark infringement? Even a non-designer should know better! It's pretty common knowledge that you can't just take a trademarked logo and adopt it for your own purposes. The designer even went to the extent to tell the senate candidate that the logo's shape evoked the D from his last name. Right... Or you just stole what was a C for Columbus and flipped it.

Shame on you unnamed designer. And shame on you Marc Delphine. While I can't totally blame him since he simply used a logo someone donated and thought it was such a nice gesture, he really should have done a trademark search before using it.

Apparently, the Blue Jackets were alerted to the infringement via Twitter. Oh the small world social media creates.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Typography Tip #3: Use A Smaller Point Size

Back when you were typing papers in high school you were told to write in double spaced 12 pt. Times New Roman type. Yuck. Okay, the double spacing make some sense in school since it gives the teacher ample space to write notes, but you never see it in the real world. Luckily, most people leave double spacing when they leave school, but unfortunately the same cannot be said for point size when setting type.

12 point type is not the average type size you see day to day. To be honest, it varies a bit since each font. For example, san serif fonts, like Arial, tend to be larger than serif fonts, like Times New Roman. 10 point type is a good rule of thumb for body copy size for most fonts. Of course this varies a bit based on what, and where, you're writing. It's a little hard to tell in the sample above since this is the web and typography for the web is a whole different ballgame, but it gives you and idea. You can also make the font larger for design and aesthetic reasons, but if you're just writing something standard in Word, try defaulting to 10 point rather than 12 point. It makes a big difference.