After disembarking from a recent Air China flight between Shanghai and Beijing, I looked up to have the following visual assault on my eyes:
Now, someone or some team at Air China has the beginning of a good idea here (although not new). They believe they should be using built-in displays as a unique opportunity for branding and sending a friendly message to their customers.
Where they've clearly gone wrong in this case, though, is the combination of cheap LCD technology with a fundamentally poor choice of color combination. Of the commonly known color combinations that affect legibility, blue on red is one of the poorer performers. This typographic phenomena is even more true for display graphics than for print or other mediums. Branding can easily juxtapose these two colors, and does so successfully all the time, as seen in this classic design by Saul Bass:
Last week I spoke at Computex 2009 in Taiwan at an event hosted by the TDC (Taiwan Design Center). A key challenge faced by many Taiwanese companies in any part of the computing space is brand building. Taiwan’s computing culture, to generalize broadly, is all about OEMs. A few have made the leap into consumer brands (e.g., Acer, Asus, HTC), but most are still OEMS, increasingly evolving into ODMs, and no more than flirting with the notion of becoming a consumer brand. Under this backdrop, I spoke about brand building strategies for Taiwanese companies from 2 perspectives.
I just got a copy of 21st Century Business Review from the bookstore in the airport for my flight from Shanghai to Guangzhou for a design competition. The feature story of the May issue is From Manufacturing to China Design.
The topic of 'China Design' has been discussed for the past few years. There is no doubt that Chinese companies should have original design as the first step to build their own brand. Originality has been promoted in the cities, big or small, in China with the government support. Hundreds of design conferences and competitions are held to promote China Design every year.
Though the global village is still suffering from the economic crisis and seeking for innovative solutions to recover, an emerging trend is becoming more and more established and leveraged as opportunities for future growth. Green is not only the new black any more. It will be the rainbow when the sun arises after the storm.
As frog design celebrates its 40th anniversary, Mark Rolston, Chief Creative Officer, will moderate a round table discussion that will examine the dialectic between vision and pragmatism, conceptual thinking and craftsmanship. In today’s economy, a vision is good, but to make a real impact, it must be brought to life.
The discussion will investigate:
1. The challenge of executing a vision while allowing for the craft of design to tune that vision throughout the development process
2. Technology as the lever that bridges the gap between design as art and design as impact
3. How companies can use design to close the loop between strategy and execution
Round table participants include Baili Liu from CUA and Douglas Wang, Product Design Manager from Autodesk.
If you are interested in attending this event, please RSVP to email@example.com
Date: Thursday March 12th, 2009
Venue: BAU, No 17, Lane 1252, Fuxing Middle Road, Shanghai 200031
Presentation: 7:00pm to 8:30pm (includes Q&A)
Networking: 8:30pm to 9:00pm
During the economic slowdown, more and more companies find it hard to challenge the traditional way of doing business. Some organizations understand the importance of design and innovation but Very Few see the true value of user-centered design and usability as a good business approach. Looking at the Chinese context, the strategy and philosophy of top successful local companies is changing. The recent export figures, the engine of Chinese growth in the past decades, show a significant decline.
The China 3G certificate release on January 7th is taken by many people as a big economic event. I have been thinking about the realness of this opportunity. I currently feel the below:
This is a real opportunity, though short term and long term need be driven by different forces. Due to the 10 years marketing investments of the China carriers, cell phone fashion and cell phone culture are widely spread and enjoyed among Chinese people, so the China market consumers do have the potential to consume 3G. But the volume definitely will need a few years’ foster, just as shown in what has happened to many innovative cell phone data services over the past few years – investment to cultivate seed users in the teenager group, the young city inhabitant group and the high-end business group will take big efforts and should be led by the deep pocket china carriers. Good thing is the carriers do begin to show huge investment commitment: they recently committed about 280 billion RMB over year 2009 and 2010 into network and equipments, and billions to subsidize the cell phone companies too. With these fund, 3G is a real opportunity short term, actually driven by the daring spending of the carriers; long term it is still a question mark depends on whether there can be the tipping point from investment driven to user driven.
Some people around us have already become the beneficiaries of this:
Over the last few months, I've been increasingly asked about how business feels in China in light of the global economic meltdown. In particular, could it present an opportunity for Chinese companies, as much of the rest of world struggles?
Many have noted that China is somewhat more insulated, although obviously still heavily impacted by the crisis. GDP growth is forecasted to slow significantly in 2009 (from 12% to 8%) and FDI has been dropping steadily month by month. The former indicator still represents significant growth however, and the latter is a reflection of general external cautiousness more than any domestic Chinese issue.
Much of China's opportunity for success in a global recession is in markets that are less hit by the recession, which means other emerging markets (e.g., Africa) represent a real opportunity. However, these markets are generally not the targets of innovation, more an outlet for cheap products that China is already producing.
Consumer electronics is an industry in which innovations abound and is one in which Chinese companies contributions have been noted (e.g., Lenovo, Huawei). Did this year's consumer electronics showcase -- CES 2009 in Las Vegas -- shed any light on Chinese consumer electronics innovation?
There is something to be said for wandering. Having no place to be, no end in sight, no final destination. Taking in the city you live with fresh eyes. Catching a glimpse of the old anew, spotting the minute, details that you had never noticed before on your daily walk to work.
Often wandering is frowned upon. I, by no means recommend a wandering mind in a meeting, or wandering into a dark alley at night, but the serenity and contemplative nature of being able to just let free of all your inhibitions and just go. It becomes about a journey of discovery, often enlightenment.
In A Field Guide To Getting Lost, author Rebecca Solnit explains "Losing things is about the familiar falling away, getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing" she goes on to compare the city to "resemble a conscious mind, a network that can calculate, administrate, manufacture." On a recent bout I found that in every tucked away corner of the city there was a true to life innovation. Small, incremental changes and adaptations of existing products to better suit the needs of its user.