Print Delivers Seminar Speaks for Print’s Influential Role in Communications

On November 2, 2010, The Print Council held the Print Delivers seminar in an effort to educate marketing and design industry professionals about the power of print and it’s continuing place in the communications. Keynote speakers included Ed Farley (Unisource Worldwide), Jim Dunn (Heidelberg USA), Bob Ellis (US Postal Service) and others speaking on behalf of print’s influential role.

“Print tells a story; it tells that you care,” (Jim Dunn, Heidelberg USA)

“Too many [businesses] today are eliminating print without doing the research into why they should eliminate it… it’s a knee-jerk reaction,” (Dean Petrulakis, Rider Dickerson, Inc.)

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Looking at the Glass Half Full – Communicating Optimism through Design

This October, Positive Posters announced the finalists for their 2010 Exhibition. Held annually between July and October, the goal of each annual design competition is to inspire individuals through positive visual messages. Founded in 2009 by graphic designer Nick Hallam, Positive Posters is a non-profit international poster competition run by volunteers based in Melbourne, Australia. This year, designers were asked to work with the theme of “A Glass Half Full”.

 

"It's a Matter of Perspective" by Hailey McKenzie

“Optimism is a matter of perspective. Perspective gives us a point of view and a choice… a choice to see the world in different ways.” (Hailey McKenzie)

 

"Us" by Hilary Sloane

“Yes, there are many things wrong in the world, but perhaps we can see it as giving us something to do.” (Hilary Sloane)


"Turn that frown upside-down!" by Jesse Mallon

“By flipping the letters upside down the audience is invited to take a second look at the poster to understand, and be inspired by, its message.” (Jesse Mallon)

The work of this year’s 30 finalists represents a design aesthetic that is as diverse as their creators, which come from all over the world: Australia, England, Hong Kong, Thailand, the United States, South Korea and a host of other nations. These designers each bring their own unique understanding of what optimism means to them.

2009’s competition brought in over 300 entries from 53 countries. Peter Chmela’s winning entry, Smile, traveled as far as North Pole, where it was photographed.

2009's winning entry at the North Pole.

 

Designing Solutions to Bottled Water

In the spirit of Blog Action Day 2010, let’s talk about water. We’re pretty lucky here in America; despite our access to clean drinking water in nearly every home, our own taps and public drinking fountains, we’re still ready and willing to pay for it. “So what,” you say? Before unscrewing the cap on another overpriced bottle of water, consider a few points:

  • According to TriplePundit, Americans now drink an average of 200 bottles of water per person every year here in the states.
  • Producing those water bottles accounts for more than 17 million barrels of oil annually.
  • Over 80% of the water bottles produced will never be recycled.
  • One-third of the bottled water we readily pay for comes from the same sources as tap water.

Bottled water is leaving an enormous impact on the environment, our natural resources – and our wallets. So what’s the solution? Designers the world over are taking multiple approaches to solving the problems that bottled water presents and are putting very viable solutions into action in some of the most practical ways you could imagine.


Public Water Fountains

The Bottled Water Alliance, in partnership with Culligan Water is aiming to reduce the ever-growing amount of waste produced by bottled water by bringing the fresh filtered water to the streets of Sydney, Australia. Apart from using filtered drinking water, the idea is essentially no different from your average drinking fountain. Fountain heads designed by Street Furniture Australia for the initiative were created in direct response to the obvious problems many individuals have with drinking from a fountain (poor hygiene, unreliability and vandalism), that causes many individuals to resort to bottled water. Thus far, the Bottled Water Alliance claims that the six fountains installed in Sydney to date have prevented the purchase of approximately 150,000 litres of bottled water or nearly 250,000 plastic bottles.


Bottle Refill Stations

In another similar effort to bring more sustainable alternative to clean drinking water, GlobalTap is encouraging the use of reusable bottles and has crafted their solution around this idea. Created by Chicago-based architect Daniel H. Whitman, GlobalTap is a project that aims to provide public access to clean drinking water through implementing a system of reusable bottles and refill stations in high-traffic metropolitan areas. In 2009 a pilot station, designed by IDEO, was installed in San Francisco, California. Basic manufacturing and assembly techniques allows each and every GlobalTap station to be built, installed and maintained with minimal cost and effort worldwide. Where the safety of water is of special concern – in developing countries, for example  – the GlobalTap system can accommodate for internal filters and new filtering technologies as well.


Biodegradable Bottles

Maybe we’ll never rid ourselves of the plastic bottle. If that’s the case, then shouldn’t we focus some effort on making those bottles more sustainable? North Carolina-based Primo Water is doing just that with implementing America’s first and only biodegradable, plant-based material in its bottles. The material, called Ingeo PLA, is a corn-based plastic produced by NatureWorks. Primo Water features the PLA bottles in their single serve bottles (16.9 fl oz), sold in 18-count packs nationally.


Paper Cartons

A few companies have scrapped the idea of the bottle altogether in favor of an arguably greener, more sustainable alternative: paper cartons. In 2009, start-up company Boxed Water is Better, began distributing purified water in milk cartons beginning with the idea that paper packaging is greener than the standard-issue plastic bottles used today. In addition to each carton being readily recyclable, nearly 80% of each cartons’ composition derives from green-certified trees.

O.N.E. World Enterprises, which produces O.N.E. Water, also has its own version of a plastic bottle alternative. Made primarily of paper, the material for each BPA-free Tetra Pak comes from responsibly sourced, well-managed forests and can be recycled.

The next time you’re thirsty and won’t settle for tap water, consider one of these viable alternatives. It might have a larger impact that you think.

Rebranding the Buck

I know what you're thinking... what happened to George Washington?!?

Absolutely hate the look of some of the new U.S. currency? If you think that the appearance of our legal tender will change anytime soon, don’t hold your breath, but it’s an interesting concept to consider. For the past two years, the Dollar Rede$ign Project has been holding a design competition to bring a new look and face to U.S. legal tender. Richard Smith, a creative consultant who conceived and presently organizes the Dollar Rede$ign Project, argues that a redesign of U.S. currency would lift the hearts and minds of citizens while rebuilding confidence in the fledgling economy.

The variety of entries both this year and last present a number of interesting concepts, paying homage to a number of historical figures and events. While many of the decisions seem personally driven, many seem carefully thought out to appeal to a wide range of people. Entries range dramatically in design and style, from reserved to radical. A few historical figures popping up on some entries include Martin Luther King, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Eleanor Roosevelt and Marilyn Monroe. While it’s interesting to see some nods to modern American history and achievements, many examples omit any sense of the wider breadth of U.S. history.

Entries by design studio Dowling Duncan (above) appear to be the most carefully though out. Some aspects of their redesign include bills in different lengths and colors in a vertical format.

“You tend to hold a wallet or purse vertically… people hand over notes vertically when making purchases. All machines accept notes vertically. Therefore a vertical note makes more sense.” (Dowling Duncan)

Taking each bills’ design one step further, images on each bill are directly related to their value in one way or another: Obama, the nation’s first black president is the face of the one-dollar bill; the Bill of Rights, composed of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, are listed on the ten-dollar bill; recognition of the 50 states in the union on the fifty-dollar bill.

“We wanted a concept behind the imagery so that the image directly relates to the value of each note. We also wanted the notes to be educational, not only for those living in America but visitors as well.” (Dowling Duncan)

Visit the Dollar ReDe$ign Project for yourself for more information and other entries.

Ecomagine Your Energy Use

Home Energy Use Calculator

This morning I woke up, made myself a pot of coffee and headed downstairs to get a start on the day ahead. A little later I found out that my laptop costs roughly half as much to operate annually as my coffee machine … funny.

Lisa Strausfeld, Pentagram partner and her team recently worked with GE to develop a Home Appliance Energy Use calculator. Launched on Earth Day, the calculator can be found at either GE’s Ecomagination or the Healthymagination website. Not only is beautifully simple in its design and easy to understand, the calculator is also very informative, giving detailed information on how much energy and resources dozens of common household appliances consume, as well as the cost associated with operating them.

A set of drop down menus allow viewers to obtain detailed information on each appliance’s energy use in watts, gallons of gas or dollars to operate over the timeframe of a day, month or year. Appliances are also ranked according to their energy needs. As operational costs for these appliances varies regionally, viewers can even select which state they would like to see the results for.

Blue stars next to various appliance icons indicate Energy Star alternatives while green stars invite the viewer to take a closer look at how quickly an Energy Star appliance would pay for itself when replacing an older appliance. Users can determine a rough daily, monthly or annual total cost in watts, gallons of gas or dollars for appliance use by deselecting appliances from the available list or view an estimated cost for a singular appliance by scrolling over individual icons.

Don’t forget to turn the lights off!