Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
From the Gwinnett Daily Post:
LAWRENCEVILLE — A department store that has been around for generations is developing a new modern brand.
Belk unveils new logoA department store that has been around for generations is developing a new modern brand.Reporter: From Staff Reports
Belk, which is three years from its 125th anniversary, created a new corporate logo and tagline — Modern. Southern. Style. — the first significant change since 1967.
“Our new brand clearly communicates what our company is today and what we aspire to be in the future,” Chairman and CEO Tim Belk said. “We want to reflect our increased focus on meeting the fashion needs of our modern customers. While we will continue to meet the needs of our traditional and classic customers, we are changing our brand and expanding our assortments to attract new customers who are looking for modern, updated brands and styles. Our vision is for the ‘modern, Southern woman to count on Belk first — for her, for her family, for life.’”
The re-branding process started more than a year ago and included a survey of more than 30,000 customers, a press release said. The company plans to install new logo signs in its 305 stores over the next 12 months.
In Gwinnett, Belk locations include the Mall of Georgia, Gwinnett Place Mall, the Forum at Peachtree and in the Snellville Pavilion. In Barrow, a Belk is located at Barrow Crossing in Bethlehem.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Gap's logo back to blue after fans gripe about new
Gap's logo returns to blue after fans gripe about new logo online
Emily Fredrix, AP Marketing Writer, On Monday October 11, 2010, 9:02 pm EDT
NEW YORK (AP) -- Gap is back to blue.
The casualwear chain will keep its decades-old white-on-navy blue logo after all. The move comes just one week after the company swapped it online for a new logo without saying a word. The new logo irritated fans, spurring them to complain about it online.
Gap North America president Marka Hansen said in a statement late Monday that the San Francisco-based company realized how much people liked the old logo after they put up the new one, a white background with black letters and a little blue box. She also says Gap didn't handle the change correctly and missed a chance to have shoppers offer input until it was too late.
"There may be a time to evolve our logo, but if and when that time comes, we'll handle it in a different way," Hansen said, adding that the project was not the right one to offer up to "crowd sourcing."
Crowd sourcing the new logo, or allowing fans to help design a new one, was the company's original solution to the issue of quelling consumer confusion. Marketers are increasingly letting fans help or fully make decisions, including PepsiCo Inc.'s Doritos brand having fans create and vote on Super Bowl commercials. But a logo change left up to the crowd is much more rare.
The new logo was still live on the website Monday, one week after the company swapped it in on gap.com. Confused fans took to Twitter, Facebook and tech blogs to complain. The company stood by the new logo, saying it would roll it out in stores and advertising next month.
The company plans to return the original logo to the website on Tuesday and is moving as quickly as it can, spokeswoman Louise Callagy said.
Gap announced the change on its Facebook page, where it has more than 700,000 fans. The old blue logo was never removed from the page.
"We've heard loud and clear that you don't like the new logo. We've learned a lot from the feedback. We only want what's best for the brand and our customers," the company said.
Fans reacted quickly and seemed relieved. One responded: "Thanks for listening. The blue box logo is truly classic. We love it as it is." Others wondered why it was even swapped out in the first place.
Originally the company had wanted the new logo to coincide with what it says was its updated image, including having more modern designs of jeans, pants and other clothing.
The company got itself into a jam by putting out the new logo without explaining the change, said Tony Spaeth, president of Identityworks, a consulting firm in Rye, N.Y. It had a reason for the change, but missed a key chance to share it with fans until it was too late.
Spaeth said he was surprised the company decided so quickly to return to the blue logo, but said it was right to admit it made a mistake both in putting up the logo and then reacting by suggesting fans help with the decision.
Logos are key to brands because they convey meaning and are something fans feel connected to. Spaeth said fans might be appeased now, but investors, competitors, and even potential employees may still be scratching their head that the company made such a mistake with something so important.
There probably will not be much long-term damage to the brand.
"They really were in big trouble," he said. "And now they have some breathing space."
Although fans be warned: The blue box will turn red for the holidays, as it has done for years.
Friday, October 8, 2010
From The Atlantic
Some clothing companies adapt well to changing times, and Gap seemed to be one of those venerable brands.
With little fanfare, the company decided to redesign its logo and post it on its website. Not too long after, waves of criticism from design firms, mainstream publications and just-plain bewildered bloggers started rolling in.
The company, which has apparently heard the cries of outrage, turned the redesign into a crowd-sourcing exercise on its Facebook page. No word yet on whether that was the official plan all along, or if it was just a knee-jerk reaction to all the bad press.
• 'Looks Like it Cost $17 From an Old Microsoft Word Clipart Gallery' notes Abe Sauer at Brandchannel, who deemed it a "monstrosity." The writer explains: It "demonstrates a prototypical brand panic move. With things not going in its favor, the brand decides to change the one valuable element it has going for it."
• Makes Old Navy 'Look Like a Luxury Brand' scoffs Armin Vit at Brand New: "The shaded square on the corner doesn't help at all either -- I'm not one to critique something by saying it looks as if it were done in Microsoft Word but this one is just too unsophisticated to warrant anything more than that."
• This Doesn't Make Any Sense writes David Brier at Fast Company. "It's all a cosmetic band-aid which is so unbelievable for a brand as big and 'mature' as Gap. I'll be surprised if a few people won't lose their jobs as this is basic Branding 101."
• Gap Sales Are Declining Anyway dismisses Jim Edwards at BNet. "There's a clue to what might have triggered the misstep in the fact that same-store sales at Gap are down 4 percent. ... Brand managers need to resist that temptation when they see revenues decline. There are lots of reasons sales might be down -- the recession, lack of discounts, off-trend product -- and not all of those respond to a new trade dress."
• Everybody Hates The Logo ... Except Us Time Newsfeed writer Nate Jones goes out on a limb saying that he "personally does not mind Helvetica, and so this new logo brings to mind visions of a streamlined, technologically dominant future America where everyone wears white suits and cool glasses. Sure, it's generic, but don't you know that in the future everything looks alike?"
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Can you feel it? The warmth of a gentle sun on the first day of spring? You forgot your jacket and as you turn back to get it you realize that it isn’t needed. That warmth, right there, that’s yellow.It’s feng shui fire energy…not the blistering roar of red…not the front row of the bonfire that’s burned too long on a crisp fall night, but the enchanting softness of a gentle glowing fire…the pleasant burning swell of energy and excitement in the cozy fireplace on a snowy December morning.Yellow is early morning…it’s the sun rise knocking away the chill from the twilight. It’s quiet. It’s welcoming.Now smell it. Can you detect the scent of a lemon? Clean, fresh, crisp. Now a field of lightly scented flowers? Daffodils? The pure scent of those flowers after a gentle spring shower has washed away the clutter. That’s yellow.Yellow isn’t the dark, cold smell of dank mildew…not the oppressive smell of rotting food…but it is the clear, pleasant scent of sun dried laundry, and a freshly cleansed kitchen or bathroom.Do you hear it? The quiet giggle of little girls as the sun sets, late in a summer’s evening? The melodic tinkle of wind chimes as a comfortably, warm breeze cuts through the suffocating heat and humidity that has settled on the seat of a Southern porch swing?It’s not the sharp, painful clang of marching band cymbals…yellow is more mellow…like the gentle ring of finger cymbals. It’s not the dark rush of a violent thunderstorm…instead, yellow is the sweet chirp of small birds greeting the morning. Small, mellow, sweet. That’s yellow.Finally, will you taste it? Tangy? Tart? A little sour? A little sweet? Yellow is the slight accent that completes the perfect meal…without yellow there’s a little something missing (and it isn’t salt).Yellow is the color of cheerful exuberance and excited joy. It is a child. Yellow brings hope. It is warm and cozy…welcoming and uplifting. Yellow is an endorphin rush. Yellow is happy.
In Japan, Living Large In Really Tiny Houses
by Lucy Craft
August 3, 2010
The Japanese have long endured crowded cities and scarce living space, with homes so humble a scornful European official once branded them rabbit hutches.
But in recent years, Japanese architects have turned necessity into virtue, vying to design unorthodox and visually stunning houses on remarkably narrow pieces of land. In the process, they are also redefining the rules of home design.
Few Americans would consider a parking-space-sized lot as an adequate site to build a house. But in Japan, homes are rising on odd parcels of land, some as tiny as 300 square feet.
Yet the term "house" doesn't really do justice to these eye-catching architectural gems, fashioned from a high-tech palate of materials like glittering glass cubes, fiber reinforced plastic and super-thin membranes of steel.
More With Less
The need to do more with less space has sparked a boom in house designs that are as playful and witty as they are livable. One of Japan's leading designers of kyosho jutaku, or ultra-small homes, is Tokyo architect Yasuhiro Yamashita.
"If you tried to build a normal house on a super-small plot of land, it would end up being really cramped. So in order to make the house as roomy as possible, we have to think up new structures and assembly," Yamashita says.
Ultra-small homes conserve space by dumping conventional elements like entranceways, hallways, inner walls and closets.
Windows, in a variety of shapes and sizes, are scattered across a wall, or concealed near the base. A bathroom is separated by just a curtain. Furniture can be folded into the wall, allowing a single room to serve multiple purposes.
Designers indulge in fantasy, like asymmetrical walls, cantilevered floors, or cover their houses in a translucent skin, in order to exploit all available natural light.
Yamashita built a long, skinny, cathedral-like futuristic home on a sliver of land just 40-feet wide, and named it "Lucky Drops."
"'Lucky Drops' was built on an extremely long and narrow space. So light could enter only from the ceiling," Yamashita says, speaking in Japanese. "All the light comes in from the top. So the whole house becomes like a Japanese paper lantern."
The boom in quirky small homes was fueled by new design and materials technology, which have slashed the price of a custom-built home by as much as two-thirds, making these homes affordable for singles and middle-class couples.
Minoru and Aki Ota, a couple in their 30s, reside in a home that sits on fewer than 500 square feet. The walls, floors and even the kitchen table are made entirely of precast concrete.
"We weren't interested in a big house in the suburbs. We were happy to have a comfy place downtown. It's not that we wanted to live in a micro-house, but it's turned out to be plenty of room for two and convenient," Minoru Ota says.
The home features narrow windows at ground level, strategically placed to reveal bits of scenery, and flood the house with light.
Washing dishes at the counter — it's also made of concrete — Aki Ota says the house has proved warmer than they expected, but the novelty hasn't worn off four years into their residence. She says it's like living in an art museum.
Azby Brown, author of The Very Small Home: Japanese Ideas for Living Well in Limited Space, says the phenomenon's impact on Japanese popular culture has been huge.
"Cell Brick" (exterior) is a three-story micro-house in Tokyo, circa 2004. Architect Yasuhiro Yamashita says he "cross-stitched" steel and glass to create the eye-catching facade.
"Where the forms of these houses is very unusual, asymmetric, seemingly unbalanced or lopsided, it's because there's a room or certain functions that need to be accommodated," Brown says. "And rather than make everything be symmetrical and line up, they just said, 'Well, if this living room is just going to have to stick out, over the parking space, so be it.'"
The real genius of ultra-compact homes is the use of visual tricks that make tiny spaces appear roomier.
"People tend to think of homes simply in terms of floor space. We architects think in 3-D," Yamashita says. "Using all three dimensions, we can make a space look larger, and more functional. It becomes easier to devise ways of bringing in more light and air."
"It's kind of a psychological jujitsu," Brown says. "That changes your sense of perception from the things that would make you feel claustrophobic perhaps, and rather focusing on the life and the people that you're with."
Super-small luxury houses might seem counter-intuitive to most Americans, who measure their floor space in the thousands of feet, not hundreds.
But Brown, who has lectured on the subject for New York City planners, says the techniques in Japan could offer lessons on how to comfortably house residents in other teeming cities.
"We are larger people physically than the Japanese, we do tend to need more space, we're less comfortable in some sitting positions, like sitting on the floor, than most Japanese are. But I think we could also accommodate ourselves to it," Brown says.
As for the Japanese, who have updated their small-house design based on traditions such as the teahouse, they haven't just accommodated to ultra-tiny homes — they now revel in them.
see the original source here