Tuesday roundup

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Once again, looking back over the week that was, and sharing  a collection of stuff that grabbed my attention – usually focused on branding, behaviour change, strategy and creative. But really, it could be anything.

1. Three Ad Delusions

A few choice words by The Ad Contrarian. He cuts through some of the worst tendencies of the ad industry. I especially liked his comment on the industry’s obsession with millennials.

“You know all the awesome millennials we see in car ads? In the US, people aged 75 to dead buy six times as many new cars as people aged 16 to 24. Do you really think it’s a good idea to avoid these people?”

2. Why I write

I stumbled across this interview via Slate Culture Gabfest. Horatio Clare answers the question Why I write. It’s 13 minutes of great storytelling – honest and inspiring.

3. Road painters

It turns out watching paint dry can be incredibly beautiful. This new film profiles the craft of painting traffic instructions on roads.

The background behind the video is just as impressive. Glasgow based design studio O Street wanted a new brand that would better reflect their focus on “authenticity, collaboration and getting our hands dirty”. So they engaged with a local roadliner crew to create an entirely new font. There’s a great write-up of the new brand design elements over at It’s Nice That

4. Doctor’s prescribing novels

From the UK comes an innovative new scheme where Doctors will be able to prescribe novels for teenagers with mental-health issues. Chosen by mental health experts, there are 35 books included in the scheme. The Reading Well for Young People is aimed at 13 to 18 year-olds and provides a recommended reading list for support on mental health issues such as depression, eating disorders, anxiety, self-harm, bullying and exam pressure.

5. Escape to the Artic

A stunning video showcasing the incredible wildlife photography of Vincent Munier. Worth escaping for just a few minutes

6. The Alphabet of Light

A modular way to build an alphabet of light. Stunning design by Artemide

Are you building a classic brand?

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On a tour of the wonderful Vitra Design Campus last year in Germany, I came upon this perfect little definition of what it means for something to be classic. It’s by Rolf Fehlbaum, Vitra Chairman Emeritus.

Of course, he’s referring to “classic” in the context of design. But I think it works as a simple and powerful philosophy for your own brand or organization. Brands built around a unique product or service, brands built upon honesty and passion, brands that lead rather than follow, and brands that stand for something beyond the trend of the day.

What is a “classic”

“A classic is not a classic from the very beginning. It starts by breaking the mould. It doesn’t become a classic by confirming to established norms; instead, it questions these established norms. A classic becomes a classic because it wins the battle; first against the products that already exist and then against all of the new products that it must beat out. A classic comes from a different era and yet is contemporary and current. It is iconic without trying to be iconic. It has the qualities of a piece of art without trying to be art. It is forever fresh. When it was presented for the first time, it was new – and it will stay new until another product breaks the mould and challenges it and questions the established norms. It is important to Vitra to produce these outstanding products from the past until they are no longer relevant. At the same time, we develop products together with the most talented people of our age – in the hope that one of them will one day become a classic”

Rolf Fehlbaum, Vitra Chairman Emeritus.