Inside my head there is a perpetual motion machine I affectionately call my hamster wheel.

It’s rare to find me at a loss for words or with nothing to contribute to a conversation, especially when it comes to topics I am passionate about. Read on for thoughts about brands, people, design, and day-to-day moments that inspire me.

Five-finger discount

Cognac is crazy popular in my neighborhood judging by how quickly the shelves are cleared out during a sale. And to keep those shelves from emptying themselves, cognac is always locked up. What’s a brand to do when it becomes known for being shoplifted? If you’re Hennessey, you create a…

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The opposite of inspiration

on July 19th, 2013 in Brand and Business by | Comments Off The opposite of inspiration

A client’s main office has a thoroughly depressing interior despite the building’s landmark architecture. The drabness is made all the more noticeable in contrast to their recent brand refresh, which uses great colors and smart messaging. Every time I visit I think about what a disconnect this is — the…

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Lunch at Hattery

on June 6th, 2013 in Brand and Business, Sustainability and Social Value by | Comments Off Lunch at Hattery

Arguably, the greatest contribution tech companies have made to the workplace is lunch. Hattery takes it even farther – not only hiring a chef to feed their staff, but making it a centerpiece of their cultural strategy. They put their accomplished chef, Tina Dang, out front and center. She and…

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Subversive landscapes

In the Hung Liu retrospective Summoning Ghosts at OMCA, her emotional, insightful paintings hold unmistakable power. But it was a room of tiny, impressionistic landscapes that riveted me. The room info reads: “In Maoist China, art was required to support revolutionary ideology and ‘serve the people, heart and soul.’ When…

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A sign-off screen that brings customers back

on April 12th, 2013 in Brand and Business, Communication by | Comments Off A sign-off screen that brings customers back

It’s supremely frustrating to see customers walk away without knowing why. Because if you don’t know why, you can’t fix it. After signing out of TurboTax last night, I received the message shown. It’s friendly and smartly user-centric, no doubt the result of research into why people abandon the software….

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Small Giants

The book Small Giants resonated with me in a way few business books ever have. Author Bo Burlingham defines small giants as “companies that choose to be great instead of big”, an idea near and dear to my heart. As a young designer in Chicago, my employers and clients were…

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Packaging for Dummies

on February 19th, 2013 in Brand and Business, Communication, Serendipity by | Comments Off Packaging for Dummies

I laughed when I saw this. Part of me wants to be offended by packaging that assumes our incompetence, but considering how many times I’ve overlooked or mangled a resealable strip I have to admit it’s spot-on.

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on February 14th, 2013 in Brand and Business, Communication, Serendipity by | Comments Off Mine

I love this feature in my newest Boden catalog – sticky tabs to flag items you like instead of having to turn down page corners. Arriving days before Valentine’s Day, its messages of “Mine” and “Love” also subtly (cleverly?) call to mind candy conversation hearts. Putting on my marketer hat,…

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The perfect sentence

Yesterday I experienced one of those rare moments when everything clicks into place and you realize you’ve created something perfect. One simple sentence capturing the essence of brand vision — it has personality and heart without being cutesy, and clarity without being tactical. It is, dare I say it, pithy!…

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My theme for 2013: Believe

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, chooses a theme for the new year — one word (give or take) that encapsulates her goals and desires. This year, her theme is Bigger: My theme? Bigger. We’re so often encouraged to pursue simplicity; I fight my urge to simplify, to keep…

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