A fascinating post appeared recently on the Colossal blog about a color matching guide that predates Pantone by well over two centuries. The Dutch color guide, produced in 1692 by a person who identified himself as A. Boogert, was virtually unknown until a Medieval book historian named Erik Kwakkel at Leiden University in The Netherlands happened upon it while looking through a French database. In nearly 800 pages of handwritten Dutch, Boogert meticulously explained how to change the proportion of water and paints to achieve different tones. Along with detailed notations, Boogert individually painted swatches of the exact shade on the facing pages. In his introduction, Boogert said he prepared the book for educational purposes – which would have been a wonderful gift to the arts except that color offset lithography did not exist yet. As far as we know, Boogert was only able to create one copy of his book. Hopefully he was able to share his manual with other Dutch painters in his vicinity. It would be nice to think that Boogert played some small role in making the 17th century “The Golden Age of Dutch Painting.”
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It is nice to see that Apple is still channeling Steve Jobs in this new ad campaign by TBWA/Chiat/Day. The “Intention” video is classic Apple. Like Apple’s products and its packaging, it feels elegant, devoid of fussiness and ostentation. It communicates simply, directly, softly. It doesn’t provide boastful descriptions of its own engineering prowess or gee-whiz features. In fact, it doesn’t show or name its products at all. It tells you how it strives to deliver what you want to feel when using Apple products. It’s all about you… your desires… your pleasure. If iMac was a guy, he’d have women swooning at his feet.
No, this isn’t an annual report for a spy company. German design group, Serviceplan, came up with a memorable way to help its client, Austria Solar, demonstrate the power of its business by printing its annual report with a special ink that is invisible until exposed to sunlight. Shipped in a lightproof foil wrapper, the perfect-bound document looks completely blank, except for the blind-embossed title on the cover. Viewed under ultraviolet light, however, the words and images magically appear. It’s a neat idea, but it must drive printers nuts to press check.
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Some observations have been quoted so often that they have become adages of our profession. But do you really know who first said it? This quiz asks you to match the quote with the famous speaker. The answers are on the next page (don’t peek!!)..
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This employee handbook issued by Disney Studios in 1943 stands out in stark contrast to the sternly written handbooks given to new hires by companies today. Yes, it was for Disney, creator of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy. And, yes, times were more innocent back then (notice the male worker ogling the female). But the Disney handbook managed to cover everything from workplace dress code, safety, sick leave (10 days a year for women; five days for men), pay day, personal mail and terminations in a friendly, good-natured tone. It communicated a sense of the corporate culture and brand personality and a spirit of camaraderie.
Companies today often argue that they need to spell out personnel rules and policies in no-nonsense legalese because people are more litigious than ever. That may be true, but typically an employee handbook is one of the first documents a new hire receives. It would be nice if it was designed to be more welcoming and more reflective of the qualities of the brand, instead of getting right down to brass tacks and talking about criminal background checks, firearms and drugs at work, and whistle-blower protection.
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