The Minimalism Project

July 23, 2014

This is a design crush for the ages. Two talented young creatives married the art of lettering with photography to express one simple, inspirational theme: all good things require risks. Designer and typographer Noel Shiveley and photographer Alex McDonell collaborated for the Minimalism Project, a collaboration series that invokes deep feeling and motivation to go forth and create.

1 2 3 4 5• See the rest of the series here. Bonus: keep up with the work of Noel and Alex on Instagram.

A Color Lover’s Oasis: The Pantone Hotel

July 16, 2014

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Pantone, the nation’s leading authority on color, is best known for artful color swatches and for awarding “Color of the Year.” So when the company opened a boutique hotel in Brussels, Belgium, it was built with brilliant design, playful appeal and of course, many bright and bold hues of the Pantone rainbow.

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The Pantone Hotel delivers surprises in every corner – colorful toilet paper and other delightful reminders of where you are. Located in the Avenue Louise area, guests have access to many of Belgium’s most popular businesses and boutiques. A visit to this undeniably cool hotel is access to not only a fun, Pantone-branded experience but some of the most interesting landmarks, shops and restaurants the city of Belgium has to offer.

Boasting seven floors of varying colors, rooms of the hotel are not one shade top to bottom with accents in every corner as would be expected. Instead, a refreshing contrast puts spotlight on the room’s assigned color with clean white paint filling most of the space.

Continental breakfast (including Belgium waffles, of course), customizable meeting rooms and the largest selection of Pantone products are waiting for color-loving guests. Oh, and free wifi!

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A Brand’s Best Friend: New Level Marketing for Bloggers and Followers

July 12, 2014

The age of Instagram has saturated the way our world thinks (in captions), categorizes (with hashtags), creates (photo staging) and even shops (bloggers). Of the 20 billion photos shared daily and 1.6 billion “likes” on these photos, the likes that lead to links are turning the double-tap heart into dollar signs.

A few distant years ago, blogs were merely online journals. Starting a blog for most was a simple hobby to keep up but now, it is a land of opportunity to be much more than a hobby. A blog is a business.

To succeed these days, one could assume all it takes is a smart phone and some passion. A good grasp of photography techniques and a knack for social media engagement also helps. Even with millions of blogs on the web, many have found ways to stand out and make theirs a full time career. For those top bloggers who find success comes followers, and not just a few loyal readers – hundreds of thousands of link sharing, photo liking, book buying fans.

Keeping in tune with the times, brands are taking advantage of the opportunity to be what bloggers are advertising. Whether the niche is fashion, food, design, interiors, travel or anything else, getting a product in a top blogger’s hand means grand scale social media exposure.

It’s a big business and everyone wants a piece of the pie. Services have launched to help connect bloggers with brands to work with. Sites like Brand Backer, Sverve and Brand Meets Blog (not to be confused with Blog Meets Brand) all promise to help companies create marketing campaigns, design collaborations, branded content and special events led by the best blogger for them.

Of course, brands and bloggers working together translates to, “You help me make money, and I’ll help you make money.” Blog followers ask, “What brand are you wearing?” Bloggers and brands collectively respond, “Well, wouldn’t you like to know…”

With the intelligent design of LiketoKnow.it and Reward Style, follower purchases have become sales commission for bloggers from the brands they wear and use. Links are generated to shop your favorite blogger’s lifestyle simply by clicking the special link to the product page or by liking their Instagram posts.

It seems to be a smooth path to help everyone get what they want, but the continuous reign of bloggers and their business practices has not come without controversy. Some industry insiders don’t want bloggers at what used to be events for the elite. Concerns have surfaced over bloggers losing their personal brand voice in trade for a percentage of sales. Readers have called them “sell outs” for turning their blogs into profit centers. With some visitors feeling that they’re being used for clicks, will we all soon have blog burnout?

The facts suggest that it’s not likely. This new shopping system’s criticisms don’t stand up to its success. Through this innovative arrangement, brands have found a new way to stay in the consumer’s sphere and the underdog is on top. It works. It’s too smart not to.