Category Archives: how

We Can and We Should

We’ve been talking about holograms for years here at Continuous Designs. Hatsune Miko‘s American debut in Los Angeles in 2011 was big news!

For the first time in a long tome, no one at CD went to Coachella. We didn’t get to see 2Pac live in 2012.

There are mixed reactions here, just like the rest of the world. Some of us are creeped out. Some are excited about the futuristic aspect of it. And, some, well I, think both are equally good reactions.

The general response has been similar to Fred Astaire dancing with a vacuum cleaner ten years after his death.

Nostalgia is a powerful thing.  But, if it’s manipulated for aggressively commercial use, it backfires.  We love seeing Natalie Cole in a duet with her father, Nat King Cole.  We love seeing Steve McQueen behind the wheel of a Mustang.  It feels right.  It feels good.

Tupac on stage at Coachella is commercial.  Freddie Mecury performing with Queen in 2012 is still commercial, but a little more sentimental.

Brands need to be selective in their use of this new technology.  Think it through.  A hologram boarding agent in Hall 40 at the Orly Airport in Paris, France is a great example of applying the technology well.  Even using holograms in-store to demonstrate functionality in sporting equipment could be received well by most consumers.

We expect to see much more of this in the near future from the estates of the late greats.  And, although we try to stay neutral here at CD, we sincerely hope not to see the Beatles or Grateful Dead reunion tour.


But, Do You Like-Like Me?

Last week, the new LIKE button was announced at the Facebook Developers Conference (F8). Today you can like your friends, your friends photos, etc. Soon, facebook users will be able to like anything on the web. That includes shopping sites, articles, blogs…well anything!

Most are saying that this will “bring the consumer to the center of the web” and marketing depts will finally have to listen to the people!

Well, the web has never really been the democratic utopia some imagined. And, marketing depts exist to listen to and manipulate consumers towards a particular brand or item.

Why should companies care about the new like button? Image is everything. For now, we’re still in the trend cycle we describe as of I.D. (individual delineation). Everyone wants to be the apart of the right tribe, and in with the right crowd as a form of individuality–in a conformist kind of way.

Being able to easily see what others are in to is the fastest and easiest way to join the gang.

The pressure brands will be under to become or remain the most popular. But, that doesn’t translate to being the best. Brands and designers that stay focused on their own message and don’t react to the peer pressure of being liked will be in a stronger position as we move into the new cycle.

The trend is just beginning to move away from consumerism, forced immediately by the sharp economic downturn. But, as DIY evolves into true craftsmanship, as GREEN evolves into true sustainability, people will look for the best, not just the most popular.

Hey, Hey…Ho Hum…

The recent protests of lack of adequate funding for education here in California were interesting…in a way.

In Berkeley, there’s always a nostalgia in every protest. People bring out the face/body paint. Someone tries to channel a young Joan Baez. Wavy Gravy shows up. Contact highs are to be had.

In San Francisco, the nostalgia is more for the 80’s. Hoodlums, literally in black hoodies, jeans and ski masks, roam the streets in organized gangs waiting for opportunity to break windows and set cars alight. Let’s relive the Battle in Seattle.

Overall, the protests got a big yawn from us.  And, sparked a discussion about the future of protest. Here are some examples that we think are more forward and, certainly, more effective::

Billboard Liberation Front ::

When I was a kid, my mom and I where driving up Haight St, and stopped at a light at Divisadero. As we talked, she looked past me at something on the street and started laughing harder than I had ever seen her laugh. I turned to see a large KFC billboard with their new tag line “We do chickens right”. Directly underneath was spray painted, “You done them chickens wrong”.   I didn’t get it. But every adult in my life couldn’t stop talking about it. It was the early work of the Billboard Liberation Front. Since them they’ve spent many years re-messaging boards around San Francisco and the world. And have brought joy and delight to my adult life. Seeing them recognized at the DeYoung Museum last year was awesome!

Tim DeChristohper ::

Most Americans don’t realize that any law or action in place for more than 21 days cannot be easily thrown out by an in-coming administration. In December 2008, many new executive orders were pushed through very quickly. That included allowing 150,000 acres of wilderness and public lands in southern Utah to be auctioned for private use, bid on mostly by oil and gas companies.

Tim DeChristopher was there and knew he had to do something. Standing outside holding a hand-made sign wasn’t enough. So, he walked in, sat down and picked up a paddle. He “purchased” 22,000 acres located close to national parks at a cost of approximately $1.8 million.

When he was discovered there was outrage, confusion and ultimately the entire auction was voided. He was formally charged with interfering with a federal auction and making false representations at an auction. “Sometimes just standing outside holding a sign isn’t enough…”

A place that inspires :: Poets House

Poetry has been inspired by stressful times; it’s found on walls in prisons and concentration camps throughout history and around the world-ranging from Angel Island (pictured-etched into the walls) to Auschwitz to Guantanamo Bay.

It’s also been a release for creatives in all eras; designers, dancers and architects have found new ideas between the lines of poetic verses. Poet’s have looked to new design and social movements to find their muse.

While in New York, I had to visit the new home for Poets House in BPC.  The building is transparent, airy and light. The freedom of space is felt by poetry lovers even if they never lift their noses out of their books.

It’s a beautiful oasis where you can recharge your creative batteries.

Person of interest :: Bill T Jones

“Fondly Do We Hope…Fervently Do We Pray” is the latest piece from choreographer Bill T Jones.

This is an excellent example of a well designed piece. The first time I saw the show, I didn’t follow the storyline or even the set. I couldn’t take my eyes off the costumes. Does the red under Mary Todd’s skirt symbolize the blood of the nation, her slain husband or the children she loss? All of the above? The skirts flow gracefully with every step; the shirts billow and flutter as if on cue.

The second time I watched the show, I couldn’t take my eyes off the set. The stage and lighting design create excitement, awe, joy and sadness.

I haven’t personally been so excited about dance since watching the Moscow Ballet perform Paganini in the late 80’s. Hopefully, I’ll get to see this new production again soon and focus on the entire show.

Store (window) we Adore :: Maison Hermès-Tokyo

This visual merchandising event has been created by Tokujin Yoshioka. It’s more of an art installation than visual merchandising. The combination of the iconic Hermès scarf with a larger than life photo of a beautiful, local actress-the face of Maison Hermès, would have been enough. What makes this true design is the next step. Tokujin goes beyond 2D, or even 3D, to offer a live experience for the viewer.

Take a look…

The Princess and the Pea

Recently, I had an opportunity to see The Princess and the Frog in beautiful downtown Burbank, well close to downtown.

The movie is standard Disney fare. Tugs on your heart, makes you worry, makes you laugh, makes you cry, nice music, everything ends on a high note. The $50 price for a movie ticket did raise my eyebrow. Not a bad seat in the house though.

At screenings, I tend to watch the audience as much as the film. In a previous post, blasian invasion, we talked about our Fall 2011 trend books we talk about I.D (Independent Delineation). I couldn’t help but think about the missed opportunities to reach out to diverse markets. As well as the mis-steps. As I said, the Princess and the Frog is standard Disney. Nothing extraordinary. But, the reaction from the audience has been passionate.

Women of African heritage in America have not been treated as princesses by any definition. Popular television, movies and beauty pageants show that the only beautiful Black woman is one of mixed race…Dorothy Dandridge, Vanessa Williams, Halle Berry, etc. So, it’s no wonder that Black women across America are passionately flocking to this movie. I had conversations with Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers who seemed to find their second childhood. They finally got their own princess!

Being ignored, or even vilified, by mass media creates a sensitivity, even a desperation. This movie is the pea under the mattress for many.

As designers and marketers move towards acknowledging and creating for the true diversity that exists in the market, there will be some missteps. Many will applaud the mediocre as the product of the century just because they were recognized as a group.

But, just as greenwashing has been quickly called out, consumers will see bad product for what it is.