Archive for the ‘Spring 2012’ Category

SEEN AND NOTED

Seen and Noted

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Are your communications tired and losing traction? Cram Quarterly is here to help you get back on the road to creativity.

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

The roots of creativity

Monday, April 16th, 2012

The roots of creativity I met Kevin Day in a photo critique group on Flickr and became an avid fan of his exquisite photographic study of a dead tree near his home in Slough, England. Kevin has been observing and photographing the tree for over five years, and I have watched his photo study grow from a few dozen shots to several hundred.

Kevin is fascinated by the effect that time of day and season of the year have on the landscape. He says, “It has fascinated me more than anything else. There is this wonderful old tree unchanging over the years and yet I can take hundreds of photos of it during the seasons and very few of them look the same. It is all about the change around the constant.”

The “change around the constant” is the heart of keeping creative work fresh and compelling. Whether you are a campus photographer who feels exasperated by another assignment to shoot Old Main or a writer at a loss on how to approach the millionth student profile, finding the unexpected within the mundane could be the solution to the problem.

Contributed by Domenica















Photo series above by Kevin Day. Click to see more photos in Kevin’s Dead Tree series.

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

All that glitters

Monday, April 16th, 2012

All that glitters I recently bought a cool, new 3-D video camera for a vacation trip to Mexico. I spent the flight time studying the owners’ manual and practicing shooting techniques on my complimentary bag of pretzels, my mini pillow, and my tray in the upright and down position. Soon I learned how to get the best effects and in my mind I sketched out a storyboard of eye-popping video captures. By the time we arrived, I was confident in my ability to use all the functions. I captured the palm trees, the boat trip, the scorpion on the wall that was hiding behind a cushion, and, of course, the margaritas. The 3-D effect was impressive.

An interesting thing happened when I returned home and shared the video with others. Everyone commented on the technology of the camera and the 3-D effects. They wanted to know where I got the camera, how much it cost, and whether they could view 3-D on their computer screen or TV. I realized the camera and techniques were getting all the attention while the subject matter went unnoticed.

It’s easy to be dazzled by the latest technological tool. It’s more important, though, to find the best way to engage your audience and deliver a memorable message.

Contributed by Brenda

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Shelf life

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Shelf life Books are like old friends. Even though I enjoy traveling with my iPad, mostly because I no longer need to stuff big heavy books in my carry-on, I still love keeping favorite books close by on my bookshelves.

That’s why I have mixed feelings about using books as objects to be sculpted, torn, folded, or otherwise shaped into art. Part of me is unsettled when I see a book used for its shape instead of its content. Some of the art is imaginative and breathtakingly beautiful. Still, this new art form is a sign of a sea change in our relationship with books. Books were once revered. We handled them gently and scolded anyone who folded down a corner to mark a page. We packed our books like precious gems as we moved from one house to the next. We lent them out only to friends who we trusted to return them.

Tablet readers have allowed us to look at printed books in ways that were at one time inconceivable. I admire what artists are doing with books as objects, but I’m reassured when I remember my bookshelves at home and the friends there that I turn to for long, slowly unfolding conversations.

Contributed by Domenica

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Enduring Design

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Enduring design One of the most widespread designs in the world today was done pro bono for the FDA. Burkey Belser of Greenfield/Belser Design in Washington, D.C., took on the task of creating a clean, consistent typographic hierarchy for the nutrition facts label that appears on all food packaging. The FDA requested a redesigned label that would clearly display all ingredients with an emphasis on calorie and fat content to help fend off an emerging obesity epidemic.

The label above shows a grand total of 27 pieces of information. It is so well balanced that it reads effortlessly. Typography (helvetica black and regular weights) and rules of varying thicknesses group the information into sections. Portion size, calories, and fat content are most prominent.

The revised design was launched in 1992 and was awarded a Presidential Design Award in 1997. That it is still fresh 20 years later is a true design success story and a brilliant reminder of the power of simplicity.

Contributed by Domenica

FEATURE : Having Issues

Having Issues

Monday, April 16th, 2012

The newly redesigned issue of Temple magazine is hot off press. GCF did an audit of Temple Review that informed a complete overhaul of the publication. We are happy to learn that the buzz by readers has been extremely positive. Shown below is the cover, and the table of contents and news spreads.






FEATURE : Food For Thought

Food For Thought

Monday, April 16th, 2012

I’ve known for some time that Dave Dryden, Director of Creative Services at Clemson University, is an amazing designer. I did not realize until we became Facebook friends that he is also an amazing cook. Dave often posts gorgeous photos and descriptions of his tantalizing kitchen creations, including such treats as mint, parsley, and chive soufflé; sun-dried tomato and red pepper fettuccine with homemade ciabatta; and sweet potato soup with brussels sprouts, red pepper, onion, and carrot. Are you hungry yet?

We decided to give Dave a call to learn more about his creativity at the office and in the kitchen. We were not surprised when Dave explained that there are many parallels between the two. “In both places you have problems to solve,” he explains. “For example, you look in the fridge and see that you only have three things in there to cook. What can you make out of them?” Other problems that are shared include working with deadlines, the demands of pleasing large or small groups of people, and the constraints of budget. The successful designer approaches these problems as eagerly as the successful cook.

Above all, Dave loves making bread. “Bread baking is therapeutic to me. I enjoy the tactile, sensual qualities of kneading dough and the zen-like experience of watching the bread rise and come to life. There is something timeless and peaceful about it.” It only takes three basic ingredients—yeast, flour, and water—to make bread. Those simple ingredients are the starting point for endless variety. The same can be said for the creative process: start simply, know the fundamentals, then expand outward from there. Dave recalls the advice he gave to one of his students who was over-complicating a design. “I told her she had to keep reducing the design until she got to the basic elements. You have to taste each ingredient distinctly to get the overall design to work.” That’s great advice for the office and the kitchen. Thank you and bon appétit, Dave!

Contributed by Brenda and Domenica

Dave Dryden is the director of Clemson University’s Office of Creative Services, which is focused on branding, digital and interactive communication, advertising, print, and video. His 25-member staff works closely with a variety of clients across campus. Dave serves on the board of directors for the University and College Designers Association (UCDA) and was president of the organization in 1995 and again in 2011.

NOTEWORTHY

Tell Me a Story

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Tell me a story Want to engage your admissions, alumni, or donor audiences? Learn how to tell them a good story. People want to imagine themselves on campus, to connect with others, and to be inspired. Here are some pointers to keep in mind as you settle down to write:

1. Have a single message.
2. Write about a single event, not about the time in a person’s life.
3. Be frugal with words.
4. Create a sense of anticipation. Make the reader wonder what’s next.
5. Use words to paint vivid pictures.
6. Change something in the reader’s mind—perhaps a perception, or the direction of the story.
7. Be ruthless in purging cliché and lazy phrasing from your drafts. This helps to avoid flatness of tone.
8. Keep a copy of William Zinsser’s On Writing Well near your desk. Flip through it whenever your words feel clumsy.

Contributed by Brenda

While you’re in the storytelling mode, check out Nancy Duarte’s wonderful Tedx talk on using storytelling to create compelling presentations.

NOTEWORTHY

Predicting Future Tech

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Predicting future tech Tablets, laptops, cloud computing, and natural language interpretation are just a few of the technologies in flux. Is there a way to predict what the future holds for these and other technologies? A London-based trend forecasting firm is focused on just that task. Envisioning Technology conducts research that helps us make better decisions about our future technological needs. Click the infographic above for a full summary of existing tech and future trends.

NOTEWORTHY

Disruptive Wonder

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Disruptive wonder Is paper silent? Are websites flat? Kelli Anderson asks us to explore the answers to these and other questions that just may disrupt your world in very pleasant ways.

NOTEWORTHY

Gold-medal design?

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Gold-medal design? The Olympics are coming, and soon we’ll all be admiring or complaining about the controversial 2012 London Olympic logo, shown at left. The Olympic logo controversy might extend to Madrid if it is chosen as the host city for the 2020 Olympics. The proposed logo, shown at right, displays the letter “M” and the numeral “20” in script that many read as “20020.” Talk about long-range planning!

NOTEWORTHY

Ricks’s writing rocks

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Rick’s writing rocks Rick Bader, one of our favorite writers and collaborator on numerous GCF projects, earned a spot in a writing contest sponsored by NPR’s All Things Considered. Proving that brevity is still the soul of wit, all submitted stories must be readable in three minutes or less. You can read Rick’s story here. Congrats, Rick!

NOTEWORTHY

Mosser

Monday, April 30th, 2012

The art of moss GCF designer Noah Atkinson doesn’t stop thinking creatively when he leaves the office. Noah is founder and co-designer of the Mosser, a desk-side moss terrarium that has become a bit of an internet sensation. Originally intended as gifts for friends and family, the Mossers grew exponentially in popularity after appearing on various online blogs. We can easily see why. Who wouldn’t want to own a bit of beautifully packaged freshness?







COOL TOOLS

Cool Tools

Monday, April 30th, 2012

If you are interested in a resource for cutting-edge web design ideas and inspiration, you need to bookmark this site.

A website that archives old websites.

Here’s a site that showcases world-changing ideas and innovation. Amazing case studies and interviews with top designers are regular features.

Join Us

Join Us

Monday, April 30th, 2012

…in Boston, Mass.

eduWeb Conference
July 30–August 1, 2012

The Elephant in the Chat Room
Everyone is doing social media now. But is social media working for your institution, and how can you determine whether it is working? How do you know if you’re getting a return on the investment? During this topic table on Tuesday, July 31, 8–9 a.m., we will address the elephant in the chat room: is social media working, and how do you know?

We will interview 10 colleges about whether their social media efforts are working within the college’s overall marketing communications plan. We will ask the following questions:

• How does social media play into your communications plan?
• What percentage of your efforts are used for social media?
• How do you measure the return on investment? What is your ROI?
• How long have you implemented social media into your communications plan?
• What kind of budget do you spend on this?
• Who uses social media the most? Public relations, alumni department, admissions, etc.?

It’s All About You: A Moderated Forum for Discussion
There seems to be little opportunity for eduWeb attendees to engage each other in conversation, to share ideas, problems, solutions, etc. with each other. This panel would provide such an opportunity. We will invite some pros in our industry to serve as panelists, and we will use some of our case studies as a background, but we will ask audience members to voice their questions and get ideas from other audience members. This panel will take place on Wednesday, August 1, at noon.

…on Facebook

…on Twitter

…on Pinterest

FEEDBACK

Do you have comments, questions, or story ideas that you’d like us to cover in an upcoming issue of the Cram Quarterly? If so, email Brenda or call her at 410-467-4672.

SUBSCRIBE

Know someone who would like to be on our newsletter mailing list? If so, click here.

If you would like to unsubscribe from our mailing list, please click here.