Ultravirgo

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What Will We Build Today?

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An important question for creative people of all ages. It's also the title of my most recent book!

7 Billion Actions featured in Google Zeitgeist 2011

UVC had a great year in 2011, working with clients we love to create design and branding for meaningful campaigns, products, and companies. One of our favorite projects was the UN's 7 Billion Actions campaign, which encouraged people to take action to help the other 6,999,999,999 people on Earth. So, we were thrilled to see the banner we created for the campaign appear in Google's Zeitgeist 2011 Year In Review video. With over 7 million views on YouTube (not to mention over 300,000 people who have seen the banner in person in front of the UN headquarters in NY), it might just be our most-seen project to date. Check out the video to see our work (at the 0:10 mark) and the other events and campaigns that changed the world in 2011.  

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Product Packaging and Audience

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I bought Happy Baby green puffs. Noticed on the bottom of the container that it says Method, the cleaning company. So, I googled to discover that Method had thousands of containers it was never going to use after a packaging redesign. So Happy Baby bought them, to package their puffs in non-toxic, recyclable, non-Bisphenol A containers. Interesting packaging choice. I'm still not sure if it's brilliant or anxiety inducing. 

Warning! Warning!

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Following up on my last post musing about when people can understand warning and bathroom signs, here's a light hearted site about them, should you need a warning sign of your own. Alert the world to Godzilla, gas masks, or what looks to me like a flashing fairy wand. Or check out Speak Up for more about pictograms.

What's That Mean?

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On a recent car trip, my 4 year old Evie started asking about all kinds of generic people signs. You might think that they're fairly universally recognizable. They certainly can work cross culturally. But I have been wondering how early recognition comes. She learned quickly what they meant, but she couldn't tell most automatically since she can't read the words. Baby changing tables tend to have the funniest.

Grumpy Bird

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I'm working on a project for Scholastic Books and get to check out new picture books and illustrators. I want a picture of Jeremy Tankard's Grumpy Bird to show up automatically on my computer screen when I'm having a grumpy morning too.

Toto Toilets

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I hate the Toto dual flush toilets that seem to be everywhere now. Literally yesterday Patrick clued me in to how they work. They have 2 flush "settings." I thought maybe they had some sensor that told them what level flush to use, since there aren't 2 buttons for high and low flush, (those ones, like this picture, are much more intuitive). No, you have to push the flush twice rapidly to get the higher power flush. I suspect Donald Norman is not pleased by them any more than I am. One of his principles is that products like doors should not need even one word instruction manuals. So if your door must say "Push" or "Pull" in order for an average person to know how to use it, it's over-designed and impractical.

Leo Lionni

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My friend Miriam Tell did a blog post about children's books with errors a while back, and this was my addition to her roster of mistakes: Leo Lionni's A Color of His Own contains the line "Goldfish are red." with a picture of an orange goldfish. And of course, the point that goldfish by definition, should probably be gold when making a book as simple as possible. Annoyed parent's design tip for children's book illustrations: You may invent your own world. However, your invented world should be consistent between words and illustrations.