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Category:
Creativity

This Pan Am Games Police Logo is Everything

  • July 2015
  • lagrafica

It’s missing a wolf, but otherwise it is perfect.

toronto-panam

The Pan Am Games is officially a success. That’s right, we can all go home now, because Toronto has a legacy that will live for generations beyond the games: We have designed the perfect logo.

Specifically, the Toronto Police Services’ Pan Am Info Twitter account has the perfect logo. With its blend of clip-art images and 3D effects, the logo employs a retro 2001 design that invokes nostalgia for a time when Toronto lost its bid for the 2008 Olympics.

But it’s not enough to simply glance at this art. We need to analyze it to determine what it means, and what it says about the essence of who we are as Torontonians.

Look at that clip-art globe and feel connected to humanity; think about how we like to tell ourselves we live in the most multicultural city in the world, even if it’s not true. Or take in the stock image of the fluttering Canadian flag, and feel it flap in your heart. Can you feel the patriotism? Of course you can.

There’s also the imagery of a Toronto skyline that represents our city sometime in the Mel Lastman years; it is always nice to see our heritage so prominently featured. But the most compelling imagery is the Toronto Police Services logo. Pointing to 1:00, the disc seems to be flying off toward a Gatsby-like light in the distance, chasing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s orgiastic future as years recede before us. Who is TPS’ Daisy, and what is its American Dream? Perhaps it is Andy Pringle, or maybe it is complaint-free policing? We do not know, but we give the agency partial credit for acknowledging, for better or for worse, that they beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. That’s an important first step, you guys.

All of this wondrous imagery is underscored by the slogan “Excellence through collaborative partnerships,” a phrase, lain over two ribbons, that contains as much concrete meaning as Gatsby‘s green light. We may not know what it’s saying, but we know it’s meaningful—the ribbons have to be there supporting some kind of purpose that mere mortals cannot quite grasp.

So move over, Bruce Mau and Edward Tufte and Michael Bierut and all you fancy design people. Toronto is World Class™ and we have the logo to prove it.

Hat tip to Matt Elliott for finding this excellent logo.

By David Hains | Torontoist.com | 15.07.2015

How to Optimize Your Page Titles for Mobile Search

  • August 2014
  • lagrafica

by REBECCA CHURT | hubspot.com

Be Tablet

Mobile continues to change the way that we search, explore, and shop, and as consumer behavior comes further into focus, there are clear opportunities for marketers to take advantage. Mobile is always on for consumers, so marketers need to make sure their mobile search strategies are reaching people in these different search contexts.

According to the Mobile Movement, a study by Google, 77% of smart phone users visit search engines. And page titles are the first thing that mobile searchers evaluate when browsing search results on their phone. The closer you can match your page titles to their search queries, then, the higher the likelihood that a user will click through to your content.

Despite its apparent simplicity, the title of a page is an important marketing tool that allows you to create content that’s optimized for internet presence, and facilitates navigation for your audience. Try not to think of a title as a feature of a page (or website), but as a property that affects the entire page by setting the tone and context of that page itself — it’s your first impression.

Here, take a look at an example of a well optimized title, and then we’ll break down the elements to replicate in your own page titles.

page_titles_for_mobile

Optimizing your page titles for mobile search is really simple. Here’s what you should look out for:

  1. Aim to limit your page title to only 45 characters, unlike for desktop which is 65 characters.
  2. Position your primary keywords toward the front of the title.
  3. Continue to apply SEO best practices. That means no keyword stuffing, and maintaining a title that reads naturally.

As a bonus tip, take a look at your site’s analytics (Google Webmaster Tools offers great insight as well) to see what keywords consumers use when on mobile versus desktop. It’ll help you make good keyword decisions when titling your page.

15 Crazy Fonts That Punch Comic Sans in the Face

  • May 2014
  • lagrafica

by Laura Vitto | Mashable.com

1. Eggs Font
It took 1,000 eggs, 10 pans and a bottle of oil to cook up this tasty font.
eggs
Image: Handmade Font

2. Frieze Heavy OT
Perfect for polka-dot lovers.
dotted
Image: Font Shop

3. Leopard Font
This is possibly the most fur-ocious font you’ll ever encounter.
leopard-print
Image: Handmade Font

4. Cat Cat Cat OT Std
Inviting people to your cat’s birthday party? These webdings will get the message across.
cats
Image: Font Shop

5. Bully Dog
If you’re more of a dog person, you’ll “aww” all over these puppy webdings.
puppy
Image: Font Shop

6. Fingerprint Font
No mess required for this fingerprint font.
thumbprints
Image: Handmade Font

7. FF Cutout OT Regular
This font has a homemade, cut from paper feel.
handcut
Image: Font Shop

8. Ice Cream Font
Take a bite out of this chocolate-y font.
ice-cream
Image: Handmade Font

9. Milky Way Font
For the astronomy enthusiast in us all.
milky-way
Image: Font Space

10. Caviar Red Font
Caviar makes even the most basic font-style seem fancy.
caviar
Image: Handmade Font

11. Oh Ashy
This font is a throwback to the doodles on your junior high planner.
oh-ashy
Image: Dafont

12. Air Balloon Font
This balloon font is perfect for invitations.
balloons
Image: Handmade Font

13. Pen Stroke Font
It took six hours to doodle this ballpoint pen font.
penstroke
Image: Handmade Font

14. Behrensmeyer Vigesimals
Add just a touch of 8-bit geekiness to your otherwise-fancy invites with this pixelated script.
pixelated-script
Image: Font Shop

15. Lego Red Font
Classic red Lego letters … need we say more?
lego
Image: Handmade Font

7 Things Leonardo da Vinci Can Teach You About Creativity

  • April 2014
  • lagrafica

by Christina Desmarais | Inc.com

vitruvian-man-970x450_17749

The Italian master had skill and great ideas, but he also had something else: the ability to look at the world around him differently.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that since his death, the world has never really had another Leonardo da Vinci. While his name might conjure up images of famous works of art such as the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper or Vitruvian Man, he was much more than an artist. In fact, he was an architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, expert in anatomy, geologist, map-maker, and botanist. In short, he was a genius.

Genius and creativity are closely linked. How does one make connections that have never been made before? Doing so is the essence of originality.

Michael Gelb–someone who makes his living teaching companies how to innovate–has written 13 books on creativity and innovation. His most famous, “How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day,” has sold more than a half million copies and has been translated into 25 languages.

Gelb says the fodder for his book came from studying Leonardo’s notebooks. In addition to all his other talents Leonardo wrote copiously and put to paper 13,000 pages of notes and drawings, much of it in mirror-image cursive.

Here’s what Gelb learned from the Italian master about what you need to be most creative.

Curiosity
By nature children are curious, but as we grow up much of our inquisitiveness ebbs.

“Almost all children in their natural state ask lots of questions. That’s how they learn so much in the first five years of life. But then we send them to school where they learn that answers are more important than questions,” Gelb says.

Geniuses like da Vinci, however, maintain a passionate curiosity throughout life.

“When you work with an organization you can often tell, especially when you come in from the outside as I do as a consultant, whether the spirit of curiosity is really alive, whether people actually have a questing open mind or whether they’re a bunch of stuffy know-it-alls.”

Independent Thinking
Diversity is critical for creativity and innovation, which is why it’s important to seek out points of view different from your own.

“The problem is the more senior someone becomes the more likely they’re going to believe their own publicity and surround themselves with people who always agree with them. So the more senior you become, the more concerted effort you must make to seek out different opinions. Then you have a chance to think independently,” Gelb says.

Sharpen Your Senses
In business this translates into listening well and being observant, simple advice that’s difficult to heed in an increasingly distracted world.

“The Italians have la dolce vita, the sweet soulful life. The French have joie de vivre, the joy of living and in the States all we have is happy hour,” Gelb says.

He’s really talking about mindfulness, paying close attention to what’s happening right now. Not only can it help you be more creative, it’s the key to enjoying life, he says.

Gelb helps business people get better in tune with their senses by training them to appreciate beauty. He does this by having them listen to music, appreciate art, thoughtfully taste wine or chocolate, as well as write poetry.

Embrace Uncertainty
The ability to project confidence in the face of the unknown is a critical leadership principle because if it’s going to be new it means you don’t know it. You need to get comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity in order for a creative idea to emerge. It’s not easy to do since you’ve likely been trained to believe that if you don’t know the answer there’s something wrong with you, Gelb says.

“But the essence of creativity is to be surprised, to come up with something you really didn’t know. That’s the nova in innovation. It’s the newness. And if you keep doing the same old thing you won’t do the new thing. But when you suspend the old thing the new thing doesn’t always automatically emerge,” Gelb says. “So there’s a big gap and the more you’re able to embrace that gap of knowing and uncertainty the greater the likelihood that you’ll be really creative.”

Balance Logic and Imagination
You used to be able to get by with saying you’re a right-brain (creative, imaginative, intuitive) or left-brain (logical, analytical, and linear) thinker. Today you have to be both.

To show people how to use both hemispheres of their brain in harmony Gelb teaches themmind mapping, a way of organizing ideas that integrates logic and imagination and helps people generate more ideas in less time.

To do it, you start by drawing something that represents the topic you’re thinking about. From there you use free association to branch words and more pictures from the center image. For example, a doodle of an onion might make you think of vegetables, so you draw a carrot, which makes you draw a rabbit, which leads to you sketch a cat, since it’s another small furry animal.

What if you can’t draw? Gelb says “fake it ’til you make it” and overcome your adult judgment of your drawing ability.

“You start to access that more childlike quality where you just drew without worrying about it. What’s happening when you do that is you’re waking up parts of your brain that have been dormant since you were in nursery school. And those are exactly the parts of your brain that are going to help you be more creative,” he says.

Balance Body and Mind
You might not know that Leonardo was an exceptional athlete, widely known as the strongest man in Florence and an accomplished athlete, fencer, and horseman.

“We think of creativity as an intellectual exercise but it requires tremendous energy. Learning to cultivate your life force, your life energy is a very important part of this,” Gelb says.

For businesses it means healthier organizations are better equipped to innovate.

Make New Connections
Logical and linear-thinking types–engineers, analysts, and scientists, for example–can have a hard time looking for patterns and new connections, but doing so is the key to creativity.

Again, Gelb likes to use mind mapping, although it take a while to train these kinds of folks since they’re used to doing things in a formal order.

“At first it feels very messy… thinking through association and letting the mind go free and generating lots of key words and other images in different directions,” he says.

Other Tips
Not convinced you can start banging out killer ideas? While creativity may come easier to some people, everyone has the potential to be creative.

A couple of things to keep in mind, though.

It’s not uncreative to get ideas from other people, in fact that’s where most come from.
“It’s a myth to think that you have to spontaneously create something that’s entirely original and no one ever thought of it before. That very rarely, if ever, happens. Almost all ideas are inspired by somebody else’s idea,” Gelb says. “One of the big principles of creativity is you don’t have to reinvent the wheel you just give it a new spin. So if you can give a new spin to somebody else’s idea you’ve done something creative.”

Also, some people who have a hard time with creativity censor themselves too early in the idea generation process. Your goal should be lots of ideas, so don’t shoot them down before they make it on a list. Generating a high volume of ideas stimulates the associative process of your mind and even if you don’t get a breakthrough right away, it will likely come when you’re not expecting it, like at 4 a.m. or when you’re driving or in the shower. And when it does, write it down, Gelb says. Leonardo certainly did.