Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A picture is worth...

A thousand words? Try 50 million users.

Kinda cool that you can buy a personality, or just a picture that shows up on the AP wire.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A new low

Spent the morning perusing royalty free medical stock photography. And while its all bad enough to make me fling myself out the sixth floor window, this one was remarkably bad.

Had to share.

Junior art directors: make me a list of the things that are wrong with this photograph.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Convincing, in-camera greatness.
from Carl Warner

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Designing the brief

I just finished watching Objectified, a movie about industrial design.

So first off, if you have a brain, if you care about the world around you and if you've ever been curious about why things are the way they are, it's a great movie. If you are not one of those people, I find it hard to believe you read this blog. But said movie may not interest you.

It got me thinking about the brief.

Any brief.

I constantly butt up against briefs without a firm grasp of why we're doing whatever it is we're supposed to be doing. They lack focus, and more importantly, purpose. And like all things with a purpose, a brief should be, by design, designed.

It should be simple.
It should be singular.
It should be easy to use.
It should be efficient, but extremely effective.
It should leave me thinking: how smart was the person was who created it?
It should inspire me to do something great myself.

The problem is, most briefs aren't designed by designers.
They're generated - sometimes miserably so - to define the need, to prompt a deadline, to capture the mandatories - not suggest an understanding of the problem.

Design demonstrates insight. Insight demonstrates empathy.

If you are designing a brief, ask yourself these questions:
Is my purpose singular?
Do I understand the problem?
Do I care? Will anyone else?
Is this simple enough?
Is this efficient, yet effective?

If you don't know the answers to these questions, send your brief to me.
If you think you have all the answers, PLEASE send it to me.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Full transparency

From an interview with Ira Glass on New York Magazine's website:

What's your drink?

Since I started drinking at 30 it's been Jameson on the rocks, though the Jameson ad campaigns on the subway have made me think maybe I should switch, since those ads clearly convey that if you drink Jameson you're an asshole or a corporate tool. Or perhaps I'm being dense and this was the way I was supposed to discover I'm an asshole and a corporate tool.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pay attention

I love an artist who demonstrates an intense attention to detail.
Thus, I love Laura Barnard.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday, August 08, 2010


There's a lot of yammering out there about this spread from Italian Vogue.

We are soooooo American.

Have you ever SEEN Italian Vogue?
Allow me to share:

There's the David LaChapelle feature.

The Miss Cosmetic Surgery feature.

And talk about a scandal, here's a Levi's shirt that costs [GASP] $104?!?!

And that's just the other stuff in this issue.

Point is, provocative articles abound in this magazine.
A little social-commentary oil-slick photoshoot (featuring jewelry from gulf coast artist Kathleen Nowack Tucci) is hardly a ripple in this gulf controversy.

You want to be scandalized? LOOK AROUND. There are plenty of assholes out there stooping a LOT lower than this to make a few dollars at someone else's expense. Not that I believe this article was created at anyone's expense. But the notion that it's news (admittedly, it was designed to grab some attention) is, quite simply, horseshit.

The state of the gulf coast is news.
A woman with bad eye make up fake-dying on a photo set is not news.
Even if she is wearing recycled rubber jewelry manufactured on the gulf coast.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Two-fer!

Architecture through the lens of David Joseph.

Photo Thursday

Jan von Hollebon's Army of Monsters.

Everything this guy does is at least a little cool.
Don't you wish I'd say that about you?
I wish somebody would say it about me.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Shot with John Adams.
Editted by Jason Hopkins.
Music: Zorba the Greek

Thursday, July 22, 2010

This is huge

Humongo is on the road and headling south. 10 cities in 11 days in a Ford Flex full of blogging, tweeting, vlogging, digitally bionic wunderstars bent on spreading the word, one pixel, byte, at-symbol and hashtag at a time.

Sound a little familiar? That's 'cause they did it under the name "Plaid" until earlier this year, when MDC took a look at their van-full-o'-smart and threw some buckets of money at 'em:

Plaid is so last year.
Plaid has jumped the shark.
Plaid is over.
Everyone is going HUMONGO.

In March of 2010, the agency formerly known as Plaid, the Greatest Agency in all the land, was acquired by Source Marketing, an MDC Partners company. On this day in creative history, HUMONGO was born.

HUMONGO is a digital creative agency like no other agency in the world. We like to call HUMONGO "the greatest agency in the land" but maybe we're a little biased.

Need huge ideas? Come to HUMONGO.
Want your brand big? Come to HUMONGO.
Need a digital creative, social media or promotion campaign to be ginormous? HUMONGO is your answer.

If you're on the East Coast, they're probably coming to your city (or at least they'll be looking for a decent place to eat on the beltline that bypasses your city.)

You can follow their progress, keep tabs on how it is they do what it is they do at Humongo Nation.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Look at it this way

Possible blog post content: Originality (and how utterly unoriginal we can all be proven to be.)

OR How a brave few thought differently.

OR Dyslexic home builders should/shouldn't do whatever it is they do.

OR If your idea sucks, turn it on its head.

OR Crazy weather is an understatement out here in Texas.

OR Idiots. How to identify 'em. And how to make money off 'em.

OR I hate assholes who do shit like this just to say they did shit like this.

OR Arkansas Tourism!

OR Upside down mortgage?

via oobject 12 upsidedown houses

Monday, June 28, 2010

frog in my throat

Stuttering moustachiod mouse with a finicky guitar string = indelible childhood memory.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Safe Viral

Our VP of client services passed this one along.
Thanks David.

City of Brotherly Chaos

Philadelphia based artist/designer Dustin Kemper.

Sunday, June 06, 2010


Jeff Koons wraps a BMW in speed.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Look at it this way

James Hopkins invites us to look at from his perspective. And while there are some things in here that are tricky for tricky's sake, there are some truly beautiful, thought provoking pieces too. I particularly love these doors and the series of shelves.

Thanks to anothermag
Which is, in turn, thanks to my new intern, Maria.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Antisocial media

Is it social to ignore the person in front of you to reflexively check your Facebook app to see if anyone commented on your witty status. OMG! She DID!

Is it social to disengage from a conversation at lunch long enough to check in and earn 6 points on foursquare?

Is it social to tweet your horoscope?

I did not quit Facebook on May 31st. Because frankly I'd spent some time and effort cultivating a small community of people that (at least pretend to) give a shit about my life, my family and my various evenings spent toasting my toes in front of my chiminea.

Do they give more of a shit about me than my wife? No. My kid? No.
So why am I reflexively putting them off for another 10 seconds while I investigate just WHO IS IT from my high school past that "likes" something I said in a status two days ago?

It's an illness.
And it's not social.

Social is a discussion. Not a thumbs up.
Social is an opinion deeper than LOL.
Social is interaction. And true empathy.
Have I lost most of you?


Don't go spreading this around, but I skyped with my mom the other night.
In fact, it was her idea.
And you know what?
Skype is social.
One person.
Who you're looking at.
And talking to.
And pretty much only them (unless you're reflexively reading your facebook feed while you talk face to face with someone via videochat).

Social should require you to put on clothes.
And comb your hair.
And watch your tone.
Social media should enable true social activity.
Not coordinates.
Or fifty out-of-focus pictures of a new cat.

Betty White was right.
This shit is a huge waste of time.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A long walk...

...for the dark side of the moon.
Thanks, Walrus (Proper Philly Folks)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Double Take

Ben Heine (courtesy of Lost at E Minor)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Living in the Past

Got this email out of the blue today:

Hi James,

My name's Kevin ****. Five years ago, when I was a senior in high school, you wrote me an email that outlined, in great detail, the path I would have to take in order to become an advertising creative. A few weeks ago, in a bit of post-graduation housecleaning, I stumbled upon a printout of this note. Having not seen this for several years, I was surprised by the specificity to which I had inadvertently followed your advice - I attended a university with an actual Advertising curriculum (Penn State), studied abroad in Australia, took photography classes, learned about web design, and emerged with a portfolio that I'm proud of.

The note went on to ask for my opinion of his work (which I'll spare my loyal readers - and Kevin).

I gave him 5 new pieces of advice, which might be worth sharing with anyone in pursuit of a career in art direction in 2010.

1. I've seen better books, but that's always going to be the case. You should have a billboard campaign. And you should think about a longer format idea: like TV. And you should weave together more integrated stuff. Look at this. Watch the video - it's pretty well done. Your peers are doing videos like these to sell their campaigns.

2. As you look for internships or a junior job, think about how much interactive work they are into. Consider a mobile-only campaign. Think about a Facebook app. Start with an idea; don't feel like it needs to be a print ad.

3. Don't neglect the basics: push for opportunities to hone traditional skills. An interactive art director who can run a photo shoot or a film shoot is a rare breed. And getting rarer. Take "Art Director" seriously. Always find out if there's a budget for photography/illustration/film/music. If not, ask why. If that answer isn't good enough, ask someone else.

4. As you start to work on real projects, understand that it's imperative your work is based on sound strategies. Question the ones you're given. Make them better, simpler, sharper. Find out what the true business problem is, and look for the solution (not necessarily the requested print ad, TV spot, etc).

5. Ask for the good stuff.
Sitting around waiting to be fed a sweet project is futile. If you get into a great agency, you'll have to take opportunities away from other great teams. If you get into a good agency - or a bad one - you can make it better ONLY if you seize opportunities to take risks and try to get good work into the mix. Find a creative director who'll back you up and work your ass off for him/her.

Thanks, Kevin.
Best of luck.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Photo Thursday

Ladies and Gentlemen: Ben Garrett

Monday, May 17, 2010


Pedro is interning at Slingshot this summer.
But before he does, he's going after the Young Lions competition.
Check out his toilet paper puppet.

Monday, April 26, 2010

gabriel wickbold

Sometimes, you've just never seen it before.

photo by Gabriel Wickbold

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nothing to it

I'm not the world's foremost authority on IA/UX, but this is pretty.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Graeme Mitchell channels Irving Penn.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Think Big

The Japanese aren't much for cutting corners (Toyota debacle aside?) This project has scale, layers and more than a little effort going for it.

(Forgive the warning on the way into the blog. Evidently Rikki Kasso has some nude photography that may offend?)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sean McGinty

Great combination of illustration and photography.
From Sean McGinty

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A little free time

Free time is precious.
But I had a little this holiday to do some cool stuff.