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shaking us out of our comfort zone


This is how it was…

Microsoft makes software like Office , it has a web browser, Internet Explorer and an operating system for PC’s called Windows. Their tools are primarily for PC use (i.e. not Macs) and are widely popular. Microsoft is not a fan of Google.

Apple makes computers (Macs) that really artsy people like graphic designers enjoy. Their computers are usually more expensive than most. It has had really funny and effective commercials comparing Macs to PC’s with PC users coming across (quite pointedly) as nerd-like and not cool.

Google does search and sells ads on those search pages. They are ginormous.

That was then, this is now.

Microsoft’s MSN search engine (which was never very popular) changed its name to Bing and has just partnered with Yahoo (#2 behind Google in search) to merge its search engine sales and content. Microsoft has also been in a pitched advertising battle with Apple explaining that PC users like their computers to work well and be inexpensive and ‘if you’re calling PC users nerds, we out number you significantly and can kick your whiny designer butts with or without our pocket protectors’.

Google has developed both a fast growing web browser (Chrome) and an operating system – both targeted at Microsoft – and a new phone (the Android/G-phone) to take on Apple’s i-phone as well as a new Google voice application for the i-phone…which Apple summarily will not release at present, causing all sorts of legal wrangling including the resignation of Google’s CEO from Apple’s Board of Directors.

Apple has blown the roof off mobile communication with the i-phone and has gotten the attention of PC users who are digging the Apple style. Apple will cause a major shake-up when they decide which phone providers will get to use the i-phone going forward (AT&T has an exclusive i-phone agreement currently but that is up for renewal- Verizon and maybe Sprint are chomping at the bit to be included going forward). Apple doesn’t like Google anymore (see above paragraph). Apple and Microsoft’s feud goes back many years.

Change is good. Watching the technology chess game that is unfolding among these digital giants is fascinating.

They will not be ignored and they will not be pigeon-holed.

We shouldn’t in our businesses either. Get out of your comfort zone today.

passion for the splat

<em>Nickelodeon Logo 1984-2009</em>

Nickelodeon Logo 1984-2009

As I reference yesterday regarding a change I’ve known was coming for sometime, the cable channel Nickelodeon is planning on changing its logo for the usual reasons: an anniversary is coming up, they’re changing their direction slightly, their company has grown and has too many separate identities and they need some cohesiveness, all that sort of stuff. Seems reasonable.

But passion has a way of erasing reason in something faster than a nanosecond, and folks who have had the Nickelodeon splat logo since about 1984 don’t care about anniversaries and conglomerations – they like “their” logo and the web is awash with pissed off viewers on the proposed change.

While there seems to be really good hints about the new logo’s design across the web, there is no official rebranding on the channel’s main web site or on the web site of their parent company, Viacom, as of this writing. This means design elements could change from what I’ve found on the internet (I doubt it, though) So basically grown-up viewers are pissed off at a hint of a new logo. That’s passion!

<em> Proposed Nickelodeon logo 2009-?</em>

Proposed Nickelodeon logo 2009-?

The hint of the new logo seems to be nothing more interesting than a stylized word mark. I think (and I don’t know) that the concept here is that the network can use that stylized lettering in various designs across multiple channels so there will be that all important corporate cohesiveness, synergy and alignment. In other words, the business cards will look prettier with all the logos aligned.

If this is the look of the new logo, I guess it’s OK, strictly from a design standpoint. It evokes little of what the Nickelodeon channel is about (fun) but maybe there is some major format change coming. The challenge with flat print network logo is that the value and interest of a logo only truly presents itself when put in motion on TV. A black and white MTV logo (Nickelodeon’s sister channel) isn’t bad on its own but it really came alive with the various animated ID’s that were developed over the years.

But a word of note to those so impassioned about (against) the new logo (a group to which I do not belong): you are not the target audience anymore. Your relevance to Nickelodeon has passed. You’re too old. This channel is about kids and as brand crazy as we make our kids today, as long as the show they’re watching is entertaining and they can get a lunch box with their favorite character on it, a network logo matters very little to them.

We should all be so lucky and simple.

2016 olympic logos


Yes, I have proclaimed my fervent interest in Olympic logos before and I shall again here. It’s international design, it’s so incredibly personal for the competing cities and some of the designs are way cool (some in comparison are not way cool). It’s a fun and artistic exercise for me. You may just want to wait for the TV show, that’s your call 🙂

First a brief story about how this post came about and some design blogs that you may want to subscribe to because I know I enjoy their stuff. Brand New is a logo design site that I have spoken of before and it always seems to show me new stuff before it hits mainstream. This proves I am not the only logo nut out there just probably the only one who can’t draw a straight line.

Well today, Brand New was talking about the rebranding of the kids cable channel Nickelodeon. It will include a new logo and I’ll try and address that debate in a future post as there seems to be no official word from the network (though many hints) on the final logo version. The point is that Brand New referenced another logo design site called idsgn, who was also blogging about the Nickelodeon change – but they also blogged about the 2016 Olympic Candidate Cities and their logos.

Their question for you to answer in their comments is: “If the decision (to pick the 2016 Olympic host city) were based solely on design, which candidate would win?”

The four cities are: Chicago, Madrid, Rio and Tokyo. Please go to idsgn.com and leave your vote in the comments

Now if you don’t want to be swayed by my opinion stop reading here because I am going to tell you my choices in order now.

Again, last chance, stop reading if you don’t want to know my votes.

OK, they’re gone so now we can chat.

If I went with my heart rather than my design eyes I would have to pick Chicago. I have walked through O’Hare and seen their huge banner promoting their cause as host city and just thought it would be awesome if they won.

But because I have to pick with my design goggles on: it’s Madrid. Then I would rank them: Tokyo, Chicago and then Rio. When you go to the idsgn site and read the stories behind the logos, I think the spirit of the Madrid logo as well as its design match perfectly with what I feel is the Olympic spirit.

P.S. Here is a great follow up post on Olympic logos and how they’ve changed from bid to final logos over the past few Olympics

Did you see where I put my commercial voice over demo?


Seriously, I can’t remember.

The thing is, I just produced a new commercial voice over demo with new stuff on it (“stuff” being terribly technical voice over lingo for commercials or spots) and I uploaded to my web site.

Then I remembered I had to up load it to my blog (look at the column on your right).

Need to send a link to my agents….I’ll have to remind them who I am and why I’m emailing them, that’s always awkward 😉 (j/k)

Oh, and I have demos on my Facebook page so THAT had to be uploaded.

Um…oh, Voiceover Universe has my demos uploaded…so it can be heard by thousands of…um, other voice talents. Hmmm, not so much business opportunity there I guess.

Wait, LinkedIn, I gotta upload the new spot demo there.

Crap! Where else?! I KNOW I’m forgetting places.

You know, the internet and technology have some real nice tools but man, it’s hard to keep track sometimes of where I’ve been and where I’ve uploaded.

If you think of a place, let me know.

futurama has a future


As noted here on July 21st, the voice actors from the Fox TV show Futurama were in a bit of a battle with the studio about their contracts. So much so that 20th Century Fox TV put out an open casting call through voice over agents and voicebank to recast the roles in a ploy to reign in the actors.

Over two weeks past since the initial audition requests so I don’t think it made an impact in negotiations (especially after Futurama fans got wind of it and fans of animation hold dear their voice actors).

It was announced that as of July 31, 2009 (yesterday), all the Futurama voice actors re-signed (not resigned – that would be bad). Terms were not disclosed.

I can’t help but imagine that first day back will be a bit tense even though I have no way of knowing. Professionalism will prevail, I’m sure.

I would like to commend my fellow voice over professionals who like me ignored the audition requests from the studio. It’s nice to see voice actors will not stomp on the backs of those actors not really un-hired to advance their own careers, seeing instead how they themselves would want to be treated if they were the ones in negotiations with a studio.

Further, I would like to commend those voice agents who did NOT further the 20th Century Fox TV cause by issuing the studio’s call for auditions to their rosters. One of my agents did forward the Fox audition to his roster only to pull it back with apologies after learning the story behind the auditions. Hey, if you realize you’ve made a mistake, fix it and apologize, as this agent did, I’ll respect you even more….so will the industry.

For what its worth, thanks!