Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.


An Uppercut from the Lowercase

Helvetica Vs. Arial, What could possibly be more fun? Though I think the game is skewed to the more popular but inherently inferior Arial.

Now, if only we could have a Mau vs. Lavoie game, I'd never leave the computer.


Form vs. Function

Someone once said, “all propaganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited intelligence among those it is addressed to. Hence the greater the mass it is intended to reach, the lower its purely intellectual level will have to be.” If this is true, then are we sacrificing too much? Do we have to dumb down design to ensure its success? It is very easy to get caught up in the rigours of proper design etiquette, but if most of the public will not perceive them, does it really work? This goes hand in hand with, for example, producing a logo that is beautifully rendered and laced with nuances of letterforms and concepts. The work may be perfectly executed but if only the designer, the production team, and the client 'get it' who are we kidding?


Body Beautiful

Gunthar von Hagens' plastination of human bodies has come to Toronto in his new exhibition Body Worlds as I'm sure every subway rider is aware.

The images promoting the exhibit are at once repulsive and beautiful. Muscles separating from the body and folding over themselves, tendons straining and internal tissue lay bare. It is difficult for me not to stare. The most intensely intimate portrait of a man, and essentially, of myself, displayed unapologetically on my daily commute. It serves as a lesson on how to create beauty and a compelling dialogue from such grotesque subject matter.

It is the stuff of nightmares, and I wouldn't miss it for the world.



Beyond books

A lot of us in busines are voracious readers. On any given day, I will run into a colleague with a book in hand, or chat with a client who's reading one of the numerous marketing and business leadership books on the market. I'll admit, at the end of the day I am often found with a book in hand.

But there can be more interesting ways to get in touch with new information - beyond books or media.

Sometimes just a simple walk around the city (paying attention) or a conversation with someone on the train can spark the imagination. If you are an entrepreneur, designer, or marketer, the most engaging process can be to actually test out something you've helped promote. Or how about immersing yourself in a new trend to understand why it's appealing to customers and clients?

A good example of this is my newfound love for all things martial arts and self defense. I have noticed that more and more women are choosing to engage in fighting sports. I want to know what that's all about. Should I pick up a book on the socio-economic discourse of "fight" behaviour or should I take a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class?

I'll tell you which I think will be a hell of a lot more fun.


Quark's New(?) Logo

This has already been discussed thoroughly elsewhere: antipixel, the register, creative pro, cnet, speak up ...

Nevertheless, I couldn't help mentioning it. What were they thinking? Here are the options as I see them:
1) they are big enough not to care
2) they care, but they are incompetent
3) they care, they knew of the existing brands, and they are making use of the controversy to create a buzz.
Pick any of the above.

I've never been he biggest Quark fan -- they lost me early in my career when I discovered mid-way into a project that the "undo" level stopped at one. ?? Even after they fixed the problem, I never could shake the idea that they really had no interest in developing software that made my life as a designer any easier.

Anyway, I think the new logo is actually a pretty good upgrade. It's contemporary, iconic, graphic, and will work well across a suite of products. Even if it's not terrifically creative, it works. It seems to work well enough for a legion of others...

Will it win them the battle with Adobe for market share dominance?

Not a chance.



Random Pick of the Day

Leo Burnett's tres cool site!


Horn blowing

If you like poetry, check it out. One of my newer poems appears in the fall issue of Eclectica.