Friday, 15 February 2008

memory testing

This week has been very busy for us at Hoffi, we have been working on some work for Academi and also Care Council for Wales. As well as this I managed to pop out to a seminar run by Precedent, I was hoping to catch up with them after the seminar but they were swamped with people wanting there attention, I think I will drop them an email.

The seminar was about a number of items broadly around the idea of web design. It was very interesting to hear people give their particular point of view on a subject, but one of the things that really stood out for me was a small piece with the presentation about memory, it has been widely publicised how it maybe possible to increase your memory through visualizing a journey which helps attach a fact to an image or movement, one of the more common examples is memorizing a deck of cards. I think the record is held by a British man called Dominic O'Brien with something like 2,800 cards memorized. He memorises cards by going on a journey and along that journey he ties the cards into the journey, then when asked to recall the cards he retraces his steps and so finds the cards. 

During the seminar there was an example of medieval book design and the theory was that the illustration of the page and the interaction of the illuminated letters and the general 'content text' allows you to recall the story through the visual association, it was concluded that through this technique people had been able to recall a vast number of books, many more than any of us can today. While there is an obvious need to be able to do this back then, due to books being expensive and unlikely to be easily accessible, it is interesting how this technique works. From here it made me think about some of the most memorable memories I have had in my life, I was trying to see is it just visual recall that sets us off?

I came to think about  a few weeks ago, I have recently moved into a new area of Cardiff and am still finding my way around, but as I was walking down one of the streets near my house, I walked past a small corner shop (although it really wasn't on the corner), as I walked past I was instantly struck by the smell coming from the store and it instantly transported me back to memories I had of going into the corner shop I used to pass when I was walking back from school. The smell had instantly allowed me to access this memory. 

Thursday, 7 February 2008

difference is good

A new month and a new look into things. Over the last few months we have been working with alot of new clients, we have been really busy and have hardly stopped. We have also started working in a slightly different way. We feel that we are producing work that is far more sophisticated in it's understanding on current marketing and trend techniques. Over the last month we have been trying to help our clients be ever more bold with their design choices. 

A lot of our work is based along the lines of difference being good and indeed commercial. A recent tour round the leading thinkers in marketing and brand strategy seem to back up these theories. As people the idea of difference has been around for a long time. Ever since the Industrial Revolution made mass production possible companies have made more and more products. If we take a company such as Nike for example, and in particular there trainer ranges. If we look at a trainer fundamentally they all do the same thing so why the hundreds of different models? this though is in complete contrast to say a food product. Where a food company launches a product they are constantly revising their recipe and improving the taste, however what these companies should have been looking at is why don't we produce five or six different variations of the same food item so people can get exactly what they prefer?

This type of mass personalisation works for companies with very strong brand values. As long as the brand is clearly not been subverted or taken away from it's original feel/belief then why can't this be used on other less consumable items? Recently we have been working on a number of projects where we are actively encouraging our clients to choose a number of items (marketing collateral) to sell the same product/event. Just like the Nike scenario, people like different trainers and so in the same way people can also like different marketing collateral. This type of thinking has two advantages over traditional thinking. Firstly people will feel personally understood by the company trying to sell the product/event, secondly the difference will allow for far more dramatic/striking design and so difference will get you noticed above the rest of the crowd.