It’s all in the details: hearts get 30% more engagement than stars

From a Wired article about the challenges facing Twitter as it tries to reach the mass market, a look at one of the tweaks they are testing:

The latest of these smaller efforts appears to be replacing the traditional star used to “favorite” tweets with a heart. While it’s a limited trial for now, the tweak already brought out the requisite grumping from Twitter’s diehard fans.

The concern is misguided for a few reasons. Hearts are intrinsically different from stars, sure, but they’re also much clearer in what they represent. A star can be a superlative, yes, but also a bookmark or a brush-off. A heart carries no such ambiguities. It says I like this in a way that someone who has never heard of Twitter can easily intuit. More important, it provides a clear payoff.

“Because Twitter has ‘retweet’ and ‘favorite’ as options, you’re able to choose,” says Ian Burns, Group Creative Director at digital agency Huge. “I think it’s the idea that every piece of work you put into Twitter can pay off in ways that you can visualize and numerate. You can see how well you’re doing . . . I think if it pays off in that way, then it could help.”

Besides which, switching from stars to hearts demonstrably works! Or it did three years ago, at least, for Airbnb, which according to a Fast Company report saw engagement climb 30 percent after a similar star-to-heart transition. That number must look mighty attractive to Twitter, which last quarter saw its U.S. monthly active users grow just 9 percent year over year. (Users and engagement aren’t apples to apples, but one certainly feeds into the other).

Read the rest.

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Converse serve a masterclass in how to reinvent a much loved product

Converse (or perhaps more accurately parent company Nike) have done a great job at both reinventing the design classic Chuck Taylor All Star sneaker and in marketing the change. It just goes to show not every reinvention needs to be a New Coke nightmare.

From Wired:

It’s a brave brand indeed that messes with an iconic product. Just look at the marketing disaster that was New Coke, introduced in 1985 and finally removed from market in 2002. Converse brought out its All Star basketball shoe in 1917, then, in 1921, a basketball player named Charles H “Chuck” Taylor walked into the company HQ complaining of sore feet and suggested improvements to the design. Converse made him its salesman and ambassador. In 1932, Taylor’s signature was added to the patch on the high-topped boots, and he continued working for Converse until shortly before his death in 1969. Since then the company mantra has been “Don’t fuck with Chuck”. And it hasn’t. Until now.

Read the rest here.

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Indian Summers Evening – a new poster for Neuro Dropin

NeuroDropIn-Indian-SummerPoster (3)

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Search, discovery and marketing

This is a good think piece by Benedict Evans from Andreessen Horowitz:

Benedict Evans

Benedict Evans

Today, app stores look a lot like the Yahoo of 20 years ago, and they don’t work for the same reasons – you can browse 20,000 apps but not a million. Hierarchical directories don’t scale. And so while it’s easy to make a list of things that Apple and Google should fix on their app stores, that misses the point – it’s like making a list of ways that the Yahoo home page should have been better. You might have been right but the answer was still Google. (I suspect that the same applies, just a little, to the current moves towards app search and deep linking, incidentally. PageRank uses the signal of links between pages – the ability to link of itself is only half the picture.) This is one reason mobile messaging apps are so hot – because they might become acquisition and discovery channels.

However, I think our preoccupation with the problems of apps and app stores and with the ways that they broke Google masks a deeper issue – that Google didn’t really solve the problem either. Or rather, it moved the problem. Google is very good at giving you what you’re looking for, but no good at all at telling you what you want to find, let alone things you didn’t know you wanted. Like Amazon, it’s essentially a passive product (which is why Now is so interesting). It relies on waiting for you to find out what you want somewhere else, in some other way, and then it gives it to you. No-one complains that ‘I put my book on Amazon and no-one can discover it there’, but that’s really no different to saying ‘I put my app in the app store and no-one can discover it there’, or indeed ‘I made a web page and no-one came’.

Read the rest.

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YouTube apps now play vertical video full screen

So this is good news for marketers when they capture a spontaneous moment for a brand, or that receive user generated video content, and then realise whoever filmed it forgot to tilt their phone horizontally (argh!). From Digiday:

Yesterday, the platform released updates for iOS and Android devices that plays vertical videos full screen — which is how Snapchat messages appear. Vertical videos were previously shrunk and bordered with two black bars creating a less than desirable viewing experience. (A before and after can be seen below.)

YouTube’s endorsement of vertical videos is a big deal. Despite some pleas from the Internet, people will instinctively shoot video vertically instead of awkwardly flipping their phone horizontally. The vertical video revolution is being pioneered by Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel who is emphasizing the format claiming that people are nine times more inclined to engage with vertical videos than horizontal videos.

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What are the world’s best typefaces?

Domenic Lippa of Pentagram Design Consultancy chose 10 for the Guardian and described Akzidenz-Grotesk (pictured above) as “probably the best typeface ever designed.”

Take a look at the others here. What do you think?

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How brands evolve: Shell

See more at Shell

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Is grey the new black in web design?

From Creative Bloq:

It’s easy to associate a company with one or two colours, as is often the goal of a brand (eg Coke = red). And there are many examples of brands that have successfully ‘owned’ a colour.

But right now, something strange is going on. In many cases, the colours brands actually use on their website are not the same as their official brand colours.

Take Facebook, for example. What colour do you associate Facebook with most often? Most likely, Facebook Blue which consists of R:59, G:89 and B:152 as pictured below (thanks to

But what happens when you take a closer look at the user interface on

As represented above (thanks to Colourpeek), there are over 25 colours represented, which consist of the following RGB ratios:

Now keep in mind that the colour that people associate most with Facebook is Facebook Blue. The overall average of all colours used by Facebook as represented in the excel chart above is actually:

  • Average R:106
  • Average G:126
  • Average B:133

Look at the difference between the two colours. On the left is the colour that people most associate with Facebook. But the colour on the right is the colour that people are exposed to the most while using Facebook.

Read the rest of the analysis here

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Which country has the best designed bank notes?

This is a nice feature from The Drum:

 If there’s any category of design that’s strangled by convention, it’s banknotes. And with good reason too. If you’re trying to persuade someone to hand over tangible objects of value (gold and silver, for instance) in return for a piece of paper (as was the case when banknotes were first used), that piece of paper really needs to look the business. Trust, authority and gravitas are all paramount. But now that we’re happy to pay for goods with a few taps on a phone screen, do we really need all the frills and calligraphy and portraits of ponderous old men?

See examples of when currencies go against the grain here.

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Emerging new designers to look out for

From the FT, a piece on emerging young designers:

One thing never changes; every year, no matter how jaded you are, there is always something that you didn’t expect to see. In among the gauche, the naive, and the striving for effect, there is always something from a young talent who has come up with something fresh and engaging, even brilliant.

It’s this constantly replenished flood of talent that Britain has been living on for decades. Our economy has transformed itself from mass manufacturing to what was once called the service economy. Our disenchantment with banking means that we look more and more to the creative industries, which have been growing faster — in terms of the number of people that they employ — than any other business.

Read the rest here.

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Famous brands reimagined as toothpaste

As featured by Taxi, designer Mary Graham has reimagined popular brands as toothpaste.

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Why rebrand?

This is a great quote:

“With the right branding, businesses can increase their product’s perceived value, establish relationships with their customers that span ages and borders, and nurture those relationships into a lifelong bond.”

– David Airey, designer and author, Logo Design Love

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Coincidence or rip-off? When designs look alike

scott walker campaign

From Fast Company:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker formally kicked off his bid for president Monday morning with an official Twitter announcement and accompanying video. By this afternoon, the eyeglasses retailer America’s Best had taken to Twitter with an announcement of its own:

To the company’s point, the logos are basically identical. In both, a bold-colored, simplified American flag stands in for the “E” in their respective names. And both the presidential hopeful and the eyeglass company use the American flag icon apart from the wordmark, as a stand-alone logo. See the similarities here?

See more examples of when logos look alike here.

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