Milieu holding box

From TJ

Potential & Restriction. A short essay on Mediocrity

“White space creates the negative space; The negative space creates the positive space.” A statement any Parsons student who had to pleasure of Foundation year I’m sure.

If we take this idea to typography, we’re now talking about relationships. Many relationships. To those who don’t study typography, they may think typography is the act of selecting Comic Sans as instead of to Time New Roman in Microsoft Word, but in reality typography is a universe of scales. In typography we look at the collective effect of paragraphs to the page, the sentence to the paragraph, the individual word to the sentence, the glyphs that compose the word, until we finally come to the basic “atom” of the typographic universe of the individual glyph to the page. All of which occur all at the same time and are interdependent on one another.

But at the core is the individual glyph and the fact that any typographer must respond to a restriction he is place with. If I want to make a “Q”, a “Q” is not a “O.” This restriction is unchangeable and binding, the only thing I can do is respond to this condition as a given, otherwise I am not making a letter, with a signifying meaning, I’m making something else. This restriction may seem to be a bad thing, but it’s quite the opposite— This is where true potential for greatness is possible, and no where else.

However, the reality is that people will try to solve their problems with what they have possible. If something a person wants to achieve is beyond him due to a limitation, only then will a person expand his capacities within himself or by collaborating with others. If man cannot fly, he’ll make airplanes. If man needs to eat, he will hunt. If there are no restrictions, then there is no need to create new things and people can rely on what already at their disposal. This explains the Microsoft Word poster with clip art for an informal club meeting, but why for a more high-risk event a designer might be employed. When presentation actually counts, the client comes knocking.

If we don’t practice our skills with a eye on restrictions, we’re doomed to just repeat mediocrity, regardless how much we try to do otherwise.





Online collaborative brainstorming



Paula Schers INFORMATION GRAPHIC about how blogs work




The best measure of communication is "was this helpful"?



Neomedia.|see the video more]

Prentice Hall to Use NeoMedia's qode to Link to Sales Force via Cell Phones

FORT MYERS, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--NeoMedia Technologies, Inc. (OTC BB: NEOM - News), announced today that its patented qode® technology, which links users via cell phones to the Mobile Internet, will be used by Prentice Hall, a worldwide leader in text book publishing, to help communicate with its sales force. Prentice Hall is currently introducing qode to its sales force at a national sales meeting in Phoenix.


Eric Frank, director of marketing, Business Publishing for Pearson Prentice Hall said qode will be an "integral component" of the seven-day meeting at the J.W. Marriott. Prentice Hall, he said, will use qode as an "ice-breaker" from the beginning of the meeting, and will have its sales staff enter daily contests through active personal interaction, all powered-by qode. When the national sales meeting is over, he said, the Prentice Hall sales staff will take qode with them, on their cell phones, as they work. Initially, they will use qode to receive sales tips and "talking points" on some 40 titles.


"Our team is very excited about using qode in our internal and external marketing efforts," Mr. Frank said, noting that sales staff "will also be enabled to demonstrate the interactive features of the "Marketing: Real People, Real Choices 5/e," text book.


The fifth edition of the popular marketing text, "Marketing: Real People, Real Choices 5/e" will be in distribution in January. The text, used annually by thousands of college students and hundreds of professors and instructors worldwide, includes a detailed description of NeoMedia's launch of qode, including interviews with top executives. Prentice Hall also made a video about the qode launch, which was filmed at NeoMedia's Fort Myers headquarters. Dr. Michael R. Solomon, visiting professor of Marketing, St. Joseph's University, Greg W. Marshall, professor of Marketing and Strategy in the Crummer Graduate School of Business, Rollins College, and Elnora W. Stuart, professor of Marketing and BP Egypt Oil professor of Management Studies at The American University in Cairo, wrote the fifth edition of the text. Through a special arrangement with Prentice Hall, the textbook will be made available for purchase through links on both the NeoMedia Technologies ( and qode ( Web sites.


]|Type Designer who has done work on small typefaces]


Communication Doctor


Document creation vs document construction

A document is an artifact that communicates information. The physical form is accomplished by document construction. This is a function that can be automated. But document creation implies a transformative function. It is creative in the sense that the particular most effective artifact, and it's appearance can not be easily defined by rules. While document construction is becoming a commodity - being produced through a series of choices among different well defined rules, document creation is a messy, creative, value added process.


Corporate websites: How well are we being served?

David Bowen

Published: March 28 2007 10:14 | Last updated: March 28 2007 10:14

A corporate website has to serve several interested groups – jobseekers, investors, the media, customers and society. The FT Bowen Craggs Index examines this in detail, with the table, right, giving scores for how well each group is served. This article identifies the three companies who best serve each group. Scores are out of 32.

You can download a PDF of the table, or read more, here

What is a Good website? Well it turns out that websites have become such an important part of business that the business floks are developing standards. The point, unlike many design competitions, is NOT tgo choose a winner. Rather it is to identify what some "experts" identify as "best practics" so that others will be able to duplicate as quickly as possible. The Financial Times of London speaks to Global Capital. They have a compeeling need to find out work what works best as quickly as possible so they can learn from it. is a project devoted to Information Visualisation, seen as the process of incorporation of knowledge through the perception of information, mainly (but not only) in visual form. Go there

With this focus, the contributors, who seem to have great creds from non design as well as design fields, try to outline the steps involved in the input-transformation-output cycle. Lots to learn here.



Creating value for the Milieu brand

One way to define the audience of Milieu is the hardcore. There are many ways to serve this audience, but it occurs to me that the student hardcore lives on freelance. The good news is that it is relatively easy to get work. The bad news is that often the engagement turns out to be stressful, unsatisfying and working much more than you get paid for. One of the ways to solve this problem is to have a set definition of the project, BEFORE you decide to get entagled in it. The problem exists because there are very few clients who know how to define a project correctly. So maybe a solution is to have a web form that asks for all the necessary information in receive the benefit of attracting the hardcore.


The benefit for the hardcore is a stream of relatively satsifying day jobs to put some cash in hand...the benefit to the potential client is the relatively low price, fast service and transaction ease that they can get, by "paying" the cost of filling out the form.


So it might sound like this:

Join the Milieu Hardcore.

Get a free subscription to Milieu The Print Version.

get access to well defined free lance opportunities

And connect with others who are truly hard core, on their way to fame and fortune.


Here's version 1.0 of the form:

First proofsSecond proofsFinal delivery of fileDeliverable Due Date


fortunefamefunwork with great people
Compensation$$$Visibility? Event?:) :)build networks


Final Deliverable(s)


Design Briefall answers required
What is the deliverable trying to accomplish?
Who is the audience?
What do you want people in the audience to do after they get the piece?
How much collaboration time and money do you want to invest?
Is collaboration needed to get to a clear brief?


The Design/Production Process
The creative director functionthe CD sets the voice of the piece
The art director functionThe AD selects the art to make that voice visible
The Document creator function DC combines the art into a digital file to produce the artifact


Design/Production Communication
Estimated Number of Face Time meetings0123
Estimated Number of Work Time hours5510more
Online Process Management OK?emailpbwikibasecampother
Online Proof approval and discussions OK?



Tread lightly along the new Silk Road

By Dominic Barton and Kito de Boer

Published: January 29 2007 21:07 | Last updated: January 29 2007 21:07

The headlines from the Middle East understandably focus on the war in Iraq, the nuclear ambitions of Iran and the Palestinian peace process. But 50 years from now, historians may say that one of the region’s most important stories was a profound economic shift: the development of strong ties between the Middle East and the rest of Asia.

A dramatic rise in the flows of goods, capital and people between the oil-rich Gulf and the fast-developing nations of Asia began around the dawn of the new century that may go on to reshape the world economy. We first explored this prospect in these pages last summer (The need for reform along the new Silk Road, July 4 2006). Since then traffic along what we called “the new Silk Road” – the reincarnation of what had been the world’s dominant trade route during the Middle Ages – has reached a new level of intensity.

The volume of trade between the six members of the Gulf Co-operation Council and east Asia roughly quadrupled between 1995 and 2005. the link to the full story


Footnotes to Communication Ecology


What to Measure

An idea for the Milieu website feature. - An updated collection on the exhibits in town gathered from a weekly conversation with Alvin Grossman.

Another idea for Mielieu website to encourage participation. Ask design students why they decided to go to art/ design school. Or ask foundation students why they chose communication design as a concentration.

For the web presence - focus on the historical picture. Graphic design has existed for about 90 years,arguably since about 1910-1920. Parsons, design schools all over the country, the Bauhaus, France. But visualizing ideas has been a function of humans dince day 1. The art of ancient Greece had a purpose, medieval art had a purpose, the art of China and India all have purposes that have lasted a lot longer. They made the invisible, visible. Usually it was some notion of a narrative that made sense of the world.

And many of them have stood the test of time. Taking the long view, and the big view, where does graphic design live in this continuum?

The objects that were created, over time, were taken from the contexts in which they were produced. And when artists could work for them selves, as a market developed for the art itself, the context, in the west, started to change. And then when large scale business saw the value of artists, they naturally used what was available to get what they (business) needed.








And here's one the rates economies on their "freedom"




So here's one way that schools are ranked in Asia...

the link




Every human being needs a narrative to make sense of the world, that's a central position of communication ecology..

Here's a columnist from the Financial Times that might have it right.

the link


Green lobby must be treated as a religion


By John Kay

Published: January 8 2007 19:33 | Last updated: January 8 2007 19:33


Anthropologists have established how different cultures independently evolve similar myths – familiar stories, such as the myth of the Fall and the myth of the Apocalypse, which meet deep-seated human needs. The Christian tradition describes the temptation of Adam and Eve and warns of the Last Judgment.

In Europe, these stories no longer have the impact they did. Environmentalism now fulfils for many people the widespread longing for simple, all-encompassing narratives. Environmentalism offers an alternative account of the natural world to the religious and an alternative anti-capitalist account of the political world to the Marxist. The rise of environmentalism parallels in time and place the decline of religion and of socialism.


from the end of the column

Environmentalism embraces a myth of the Fall: the loss of harmony between man and nature caused by our materialistic society. Al Gore recounted the words of Chief Seattle, as his tribe relinquished their ancient lands: “Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother?”

Business should treat the environmental movement as it treats other forms of religious belief. Business leaders do not themselves have to believe its doctrines. Indeed we should be wary if they do: business linked to faiths and ideologies is a sinister and unaccountable power. But companies must respect the belief systems of the countries in which they operate, and acknowledge both the constraints these structures impose and the commercial opportunities that arise. Most environmental initiatives that have been implemented – phasing out fluorocarbons, renewable energy and emissions trading – have significant commercial lobbies behind them.

Still, myths play a valuable social role and the intentions of their proponents are generally benign. The social impact of religions and ideologies, for good and ill, does not depend much on the factual accuracy of their stories. The injunction to be careful of the impact of our actions on the air, the earth and the water is well taken. The danger of environmental evangelism is that ritual, gesture and rhetoric take the place of substance.





Another one from Ad Age...

Conill Named Ad Age Multicultural Agency of the Year

Latest Rankings Underscore Growing Clout of Hispanic Agencies


By Laurel Wentz


Published: January 08, 2007

NEW YORK ( -- U.S. Hispanic shop Conill was named Advertising Age's Multicultural Agency of the Year today.


the link


The biggest independent Hispanic agency, the Vidal Partnership, New York, made the A-List ranking. The ten A-List agencies were selected based on growth, management stability and innovation, creative quality, and marketing effectiveness. They also had to be digital and direct-savvy. Vidal kept turning down invitations to pitch to focus on managing breakneck growth of recent years, but still managed to pick up new business in 2006. Although the loss of Alex Pallete, managing partner/director of account planning, in December to return to his native Spain will be felt, Vidal has a solid young team, one of the market's most talented creative directors in Mauricio Galvan, and is a leader in digital and branded content, two areas where Hispanic agencies have lagged.





the link

To article in Ad Age about the consumer being in control of the best content.



Agencies losing control

some excerpts below..

What it does mean, however, is that big agencies -- great companies that once cast long shadows over corporate America -- are losing more of their control within a marketing process that for decades they have dominated. They're already being squeezed by procurement departments and jostled by media companies and nibbled at by a host of other kinds of agencies that grew in importance as TV ceased to be the only game in town.

'Inexpensive rapid prototyping'

"We are forced to work faster and to try to spend less money, and that's a positive thing," he says. "It changes the way we validate certain kinds of ideas, and it allows for a lot of inexpensive rapid prototyping."


Then there's Procter & Gamble Co. At the annual conference of the Association of National Advertisers last October, P&G CEO A.G. Lafley urged companies to "let go" of their brands. For those unfamiliar with P&G or marketing-conference protocol, this was the equivalent of a then-still-very-folky Bob Dylan plugging in an electric guitar at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1965. Others were already plugged in, but to have such a central figure make such a statement resonated deeply with the audience. The same could be said of Mr. Lafley showing an animated Pringles commercial made by a U.K. teen to an audience full of advertisers.



Advertisers turn to science to get inside consumers’ heads


By Alan Mitchell

Published: January 4 2007 22:15 | Last updated: January 4 2007 22:15

from the FT the link


Interesting article..


Here's the part I thought was most the terms of Com Ec, this is a similar idea to people want "useful information" to help them do something... "task related".


Research by Prof Raymond’s team suggests that consumers’ attention is “task-related” and that consumer reactions to things that interfere with these tasks – including advertising – can generate “very negative” reactions. Also, “if you throw too much information at people, they shut down. Marketers need to take that on board.”

“Humans evolved to make trade-offs in complex situations,” says Paul Zak, director of the Centre of Neuro-economics Studies at Claremont Graduate University. “It’s a fundamental misunderstanding that if you look at someone’s brain you can manipulate them. People really aren’t that easy to manipulate.”

Antonio Rangel, a neuroeconomics expert at Caltech University, says: “If you define neuromarketing as the use of neuro-technologies to improve the effectiveness of advertisements or sales, I have not yet seen a single instance of success.”

Link to Fogelman Search here

Walter Been Michaels. Chair of the Literature Department. the author of "The trouble with Diversity". the link He says, The American Dream is equal opportunity for everyone. It is the basis of contract between government and people. If people don't feel that is what they are getting, why should people feel that is what they are supposed to be getting what is there motivation for keeping up their part of the bargain of being a "good citizen". Sounds plausible to me... Why the liberals focus on diversity, and ignore inequality. Trying to find a place for this argument.

So if money is information about communication, this chronology of money might be useful...Chronology of Money






So if the context for thinking about politics is the Congressional District...

America would look like this: One person -- one vote America.

This image was created at Cartogram Central.

To get there, click here

There's a pretty neat discussion fo cartograms and the tech that goes into them.

Meanwhile, it's entering the mainstream.

The NY Times is using the same narrative in reporting on the People's House.

To see a really neat info graphic interface check out the link.

the link




And here's another way to look at it.

Josh wants a good job.

Being an elected politician is a pretty good job.

High pay, good benny's and usually tenure.

Keith Olberman seems to agree.



Follow the money. Where does it come from, where does it go?

According to a report on C Span. about 70% of political spending goes to Broadcast media. So.... if the numbers are right and about 4 billion has been spent on this election cycle, that means an inufsion of 2.* BILLION into broadcast media. At the same time that most other businesses are running away from Broadcast media, as fast they can.



So, from a communication ecology point of view, you have the political class collecting money from business and people and giving it to the broadcast media industry..



Still another way to look at it....


After a quick look at the NY Times site the huge variation in the number of people who play the game seems an interesting source of data. The highest number I could find was about 300,000 votes... in New York City.. it's usually under 100,000 votes.


So... suppose the story is that most people don't play politics. Even at it's best I understand that politics has about 50% market penetration. This year it might inch up to an average of 60%, which is about as high as it gets.


Today, and for the next couple of days, maybe weeks, all the data is available. (The NY Times site is, in my humble opinion, brilliant). What if the data is analyzed from a ComEc point of view. The question to be answered is why are there such huge discrepencies between CD's in the number of "customers".


Looked at in this way, it's not about who won or lost, but how many people are playing the game.


Maybe that's a better indicator of the resiliency of the system than red or blue?


It seems that Wisconsin has the highest rates of participation. Wonder what explains that? And does it scale? And what would make it scale?



Grading for States

To get to the Government Performance Project, click here




Here's the link for the story on the design awards cick here