KEEP CALM and READ THIS POST

It is truly incredible to me that great design is truly timeless. The story of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster is one such example. The simplicity and timelessness of this poster has had a resurgence of of popularity online and has been reproduced and parodied in a way that is a testament to the power of great design.

The Instagram Effect

In October of 2010 an quirky and fun photo application named Instagram launched on Apple’s App Atore and quickly gained popularity. In fact, over the next two years the app gained over 27 million users on iPhone and Apple’s other iOS mobile devices. During this time, Google’s Android became the number one mobile smartphone platform in the world, but its users did not have have the pleasure in being a part of the vibrant social network that Instagram users had created. But Instagram made a lot of Android users very happy on Aril 3rd, 2012 when they launched their ever popular app on the Google Play App Store. In under a week Instagram had over 5 million downloads on Android devices making the application’s popularity uncontainable. Not even one week later, on Monday, April 9th, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom announced that that they were in the process of being acquired by Facebook. Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerburg made a similar blog post the same day.

In under two years Instagram went from being a small one-platform application to being incorporated with the largest and most popular social network experience in the world. I seriously doubt that is creators, Keven Systrom and Mike Kieger, ever were able to foresee the exponential expansion and transformation their invention would undergo. It is quite clear to me that when it comes to the technology industry the traditional collegiate perceptions of what standard business growth should be tend go up in smoke. Yes, the story of Instagram is an exceptional success, but there are many up and coming technology startups that are not too far behind them. It will be very interesting to see how this generation of uncommon business innovations will shape the global economy. Just a thought.

– Daniel.

Evernote – My New Best Friend

Evernote is incredible. I cannot think of a more useful cross platform productivity application. It tis he perfect assistant for a variety of taks including but not limited to managing class work, event planning, journalism, and photography.

At its very base, Evernote is a note taking application, but if you use it for any time at all it becomes obvious that you are working with much more powerful than your grandmothers steno pad. An Evernote document does more than just store your text notes. To that text note you can attach photos and website clippings, record voice notes, or even create a sketch. This means than all the information for any project at hand will truly be in one place. Just the vast array of uses for this application are testament to how useful and versatile it is.

Part of what makes Evernote so useful is that it is useable. On every platform, the developers of Evernote have provided a clean, straight forward and organized user interface. This makes curating, retrieving, and using your information incredibly simple.

Yes, there are other note taking applications that offer some similar features, but what I thing sets Evernote apart and above the rest is how accessible and cross platform this application is. Their are Evernote apps that are available for your Android, iPhone, and Blackberry smartphones, Android Tablets and iPad, as well as powerful desktop applications for both Mac and PC. Plus, if for some reason you don’t have one of your own pieces of technology at hand at the moment you can log on to your Evernote online and use their equally competent web app on any computer. Because the cloud is the hub of what make Evernote so use full their is not complicated syncing process. If you jot down a not and attach a picture on your smartphone, seconds after saving, your new note will be available on your tablet, laptop and of course online. So their is virtually no way to be without your notes as long as you have an internet connection.

The Evernote Tech Blog has posts on countless ways that Evernote can be used, I encourage you to give some of them a look.

Constantly Changing, Yet Never Changing the Constant: Media & Church.

Every day it seems that our culture become more and more difficult to reach. In order to reach a culture that is so self consumed organizations, businesses, and individuals have turned to the media to communicate their messages. The every multimedia medium challenges us be more and more cutting edge, more and more creative, and in a lot of ways it has been the catalyst for a cultural renaissance of sorts.

The need to to be culturally engaging has become very apparent to modern church. There is a lot of discussion surrounding the methods we use to communicate the gospel in an environment where mere moments are all that is available to capture the attention of a culture that is constantly inundated with media messages.The following are several notable voices in Christian culture that are actively engaging this discussion.

C3 Global is an organization of churches and pastors that has is committed to engaging this tension with one goal in mind; to show people Christ. They champion call of creatively communicating the gospel in churches week in and week out.

Cameron Strang, editor of RELEVANT Magazine profoundly says that “Even if you think that church, christian culture, religion; all these things are irrelevant to  your life, that God is relevant. They are are pioneers in Christian culture and are effectively communicating this reality.

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/h6pvgtTWcQI?p=1 width=”480″ height=”307”]

CALALYST is an organization that directly targets church culture leaders and three times a year hosts a major conference to recharge and pour into the leaders of the church that are so often drained of all they have to offer. This experience is incredible. The CATALYST team truly utilizes mediums that capture all of the senses. Leaders leave inspired and full of fresh ideas. Each year they select a theme that that always seems to be exactly what the church body needs to hear.

Questionable Politics, Solid Branding.

Mr. Obama and I don’t see eye to eye on many things politically but when it comes to ensuring that his brand is communicated effectively I have to give him props.

Never have American politics been so effected by by branding, design, and promotions as it was in the 2008 Obama presidential campaign. “The Obama presidential campaign was an innovation in American politics and American design. For the first time, a candidate used art and design to bring together the American people—capturing their voices in a visual way.” – Designing Obama 

Scott Thomas, director of design of the Obama campaign, is truly a branding visionary. The design that surrounded this iconic campaign was a tasteful blend of classic Americana and cutting edge graphic design. it is remarkable how this collection of highly varying artwork still retains cohesiveness and communicates a unified message.

This campaign is a huge inspiration to me as a designer and a PR practitioner. Take a look.

“Fotoshop: By Adobé”

This video it brilliant! As someone who has had a little experience working for a women’s magazine I have had to use all of these Photoshop tools for won purpose or another. But I do wonder when does it cross the line from just helping a person out with their photo to really projecting a false sense of beauty. In the industry I want to be apart of it is a question that I will have to always wrestle with. But this video is a satirical portrayal of o what really has to happen to a photo to be considered “cover ready.”

New Inspiration

Ever here someone speak or see their product or observe what they do that is resonates with you so much that you kind of say to yourself “I want to be just like you?” Well maybe that’s a little much but that’s just how I felt when I listened to three of the best speakers at the 2012 Southeastern University National Leadership Forum.

The first for me was Nancy Duarte, CEO and creative genius behind Duarte Design Inc. Nancy and Duarte Design have had to opportunity to work with some of the worlds most prominant brands to create stunning visual presentations used for product launches, social media campaigns, and more. Her commitment to excellence in everything, especially design, was truly refreshing. Her presentation was about delivering messages that will resonate with your audience using beautiful compelling visuals, and engaging story. She also presented what I think is a brilliant discovery. She said that every great speech follows the pattern of repeatedly present icing “what is” in contrast with “what could be” and in this the audience can truly appreciate the greatness of what you are “selling” and the “new bliss” your product or company or skill will create in their lives.

On day two of The Forum, film maker Phil Cooke gave a similar “rock my world” presentation. He also spoke of story and howyour story should be used to uniquely brant your message product or organization to provide distinction from the clutter that is modern media. He also pointed out the common pitfalls that a lot of people fall into that hinders the message of their brand.

The third and final speaker to completely blow my mind was Erwin McManus, revolutionary pastor and film maker from Mosaic Church in Los Angeles California. After hearing Duarte and Cooke present putting such emphasis on excellent visuals and design Erwin takes the stage and profoundly delivers a message on how great design has to be intentional and is essential to life. “Beauty and aesthetic and atmosphere were not supplemental to God, but essential to life” and “to be the image of Christ is to be uniquely who he created you to be” are just quotes from his entirely thought provoking segment.

All in all, these three voices were truly an inspiration to me as a graphic designer, a public relations student, a creative, a Christian, and a person as a whole. Their words have given me a new dose of energy for my profession and I am happy for the opportunity to share it with you.

– Daniel

The Other Reason We Watch the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is is a giant advertising-palooza! Over 1.48 billion advertising dollars were spent of the Superbowl this year. One thing that has made them increasingly popular is that they have been collected on sites all over the internet. Sites like BrandBowl, YouTube, and my personal favorite Hulu, have made these ads and event of their own. They have taken it from just a Super Bowl Sunday experience to a completely social community.

Here is one of my favorites and check out hulu.com/adzone for more!

http://www.hulu.com/embed/bGwBVLI8MQXPEwd6Opax0A

SEU Public Relations Alumni Making a Big Impact in Little Haiti.

Every SEU student, just like any other student for that matter, dreams of doing significant work with their degree. Southeastern University almnus, and PR graduate, Hope Dodson, is doing this to the utmost. After her internship at her home church, Free Life Chapel, Hope made the brave step to move to Haiti to work in an orphanage called Danita’s Children. The impact that she is making there is truly profound. The following is a post from her blog that really touched me. I feel that she is fulfilling the great commission and using her education to do so.

Music = Ear Candy for the Blind.

Can you imagine being blind? How about being blind in Haiti? How about being blind, having three children – two of them who are blind, and depending on your four year-old daughter to lead anywhere you need to go? Yep. True story. Now tell me how hard your life was today?

Two of the kids came into school on the first day, one is bind and the other is four and the dependent of the family. She has never just been a kid a day in her life, always making stuff happen and keeping her family out of harms way. That first day her mom, Julie, who is blind also, was late coming to pick them up, and little four year-old, 3 feet tall, Nouvley said behind her (in Creole) as she is running toward the property gate, without a drop of fear in her voice, “Mom’s not coming, Juvensky, you sit here and I’ll go call a taxi.”

About 45 seconds later to be seen walking back with her face in her hands and our security guard leading her toward us. It was her first day of Kindergarten so she couldn’t understand why she wasn’t allowed to just make stuff happen like she days every other day. Structure is a foreign concept in Haiti. My kind of girl though – find problems and fix them – no questions asked. One of our missionaries said that whenever she took the two children to the road to get a taxi (motorcycle) and take them home that she marched right up to the street and yelled for a taxi to “come and stop right here!” Then she proceeded to to tell the driver that her brother needed to sit in the middle because he can’t see and then she would sit behind him because she is little and Mami Heather would sit in back to keep them safe.

Watching Juvensky makes me smile. His spirit is so sensitive. To watch his heightened senses, when he sees a shadow, hears the slightest sound, or begins to inch his way on his hands and knees to cautiously approach a toy that has rolled away, in case of harm close by. I told him my name one time and anytime he heard me after that he would find my voice and say, “Mami Hope”. I wonder what I look like in his mind. Am I Haitian? Do he even know what Haitian looks like?

One day I watched him feel around everything that he came into contact with to reveals it’s identity – the storybook with plastic lady bugs on it, when he felt my wrists and looked alarmed at what could possibly be surrounding them (bracelets) and when he found a large pilates ball that he could push in front of him to ensure his navigation. I pulled out my phone and turned on my favorite playlist. It was as if the entire world stopped around him. He recognized music immediately due to his heightened senses. He didn’t know the words or the tune, but he had connected with something. It was touch and go for a minute because he sees with his hands and that isn’t exactly good for a touch screen phone :)– it was going on and off and every which way. I smiled watching him light up and was reminded of not only what people don’t have in Haiti, but how people who already have a disability make due in a world with no resources. I don’t know if he has ever even been able to hold a speaker up to his ear before.

Today I pulled out the big guns. My laptop. I turned on Kari Jobe. Her album cover is so bright and on the laptop he can put his eyes real close to the screen and see the bright shadows and listen to her voice. His smile is priceless, as if I made the world was alright for him again by providing something as simple as music.

Kari, if for some reason you ever read this please know that your music is changing lives. Literally. I let Jvensky’s mom (who is also blind) listen to your album via my cell phone and she was just overjoyed to have worship in her heart. Thank You – your album is amazing.

Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus || Spoken Word

This awesome video has had over 13,000,000 hits in just seven days. It’s seriously the most truth I think I’ve ever heard from a youtube video.

Besides the message of course, I really appreciate that it was well made. I am a freelance “filmmaker”, and I got started in church. It made me happy that to see that this was produced with quality and excellence that makes it relevant to people that would not normally watch it. It breaks the stereotype that church media is Word Art in Microsoft Publisher 1998 at it’s best. I really have an interest in proportions as it relates to churches and Christian organizations.

Well enough of me – CHECK THIS OUT!

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