Weekly inspirations: February 27th, 2015

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:   A Lightbulb-Shaped Projector Could Power The Smart Home Of The Future Beam, a lightbulb-shaped gadget, promises projects your smartphonescreen onto any surface you want. Launched on Kickstarter this month, the $350 projector screws into any lightbulb socket, so you can set it up anywhere you’d normally stick a lamp, allowing you to play videos on your wall, view digital photo albums on your kitchen table, or, in general, make your smartphone screen a (literally) bigger presence in your house. Read the article and see it in action here.   Your Brand Needs a Visual Style Guide: Here’s How to Create One Style guides or brand bibles contain all the necessary information to create whatever assets, advertising, web site or collateral any company needs keeping it all consistent and on brand. So, if...

Creative Director Douchebag Detector Device

While I take my work seriously I am well aware of all the clichés that creative directors fall in to. It’s always amazing how such a creative group can all act so much alike. I recent found the Creative Director Douchebag Detector Device which is really funny site to be able to really narrow in on which creative director stereotype you are working with. It is really funny and a great diversion or stress relief if you need it. Check out the site here.

Weekly inspirations: February 20th, 2015

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:   Jonathan Ive and The Shape of Things to Come The internet exploded this week with the lengthy and very interview with Apple design chief Jony Ive. It is one of the best looks I’ve seen into his thinking, how things are done at Apple and much more. It is a must read for anyone interested in creativity, design and tech. Read the article here.   Collaboration Between Chef and Designer Helps Lead US to Bocuse History When the United States team made culinary history at the 2015 Bocuse d’Or with its second place win—the first time an American team reached the podium of the international competition – both the food and the serving pieces contributed to the victory. Central to the team’s success was the show-stopping meat platter prepared by USA team leader Philip Tessier, displayed on a custom...

A Look Inside Our New Brand Innovation Studio

Yesterday we unveiled a new video that shows off the sleek new $12 million studio we built in New York City. The space is called StarLab and is our brand innovation studio where our design, digital and brand teams all work together. Our corporate headquarters is in Stamford, Connecticut but the growing size of the digital team and the need to attract and retain top talent motivated the Starlab launch. The space is an innovation incubator where high-tech meets high-touch where we work on new innovations and guest technology like SPG Keyless and the Botlr robot butlers at Aloft Hotels. The space has a lot of fun tech like smart mirrors and a digital chandelier thats part art installation and part real-time Twitter feed. To keep in touch with our guests there is also a gallery space next to the communal dining area where we have 5 large digital frames showing Instagram photos being posted...

Weekly inspirations: February 13th, 2015

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:   The Brilliant Air Vents You Never Knew You Needed Nest created a whole class of copycat smart thermostats. But the vents that actually crank out all that finely tuned air still remain largely in the shadows. It’s easy to see why—air vents are designed to be camouflaged, by clinging discreetly to the ceiling—but that might be set to change. Keen Home’s inaugural product is the Smart Vent, which could do for individual rooms what smart thermostats do for the house. Keen’s Smart Vents make it possible for homeowners to do this with an app, rather than a bulky stepladder. The vents are rigged with sensors for temperature and pressure. Once installed, you tell the vent, via the app, what room it’s in (the bedroom, the home office, the den) and it goes about building a profile for that room. If the vent...

Introducing The Chic Library

I wanted to take a minute to indulge a little shameless self promotion for my wife who this week launched a new project The Chic Library. She has always been the most fashionable, stylish and knowledgable woman I have ever known which is one of the many reason why I married her. Her style is rooted in a wide variety of things like working for Chanel, opening the store at the Nasher Sculpture Canter and working as a luxury buyer for a number of years, Those roots have been nurtured by her own incredible sense of style which is why she is constantly complimented and stopped on the street by people asking about her style or where she got one of the things she is wearing. She is also one of the best researchers and hustlers I have ever known as she has gotten us into incredible experiences like a private tour of Yves Saint Laurent’s studio in Paris or a private guided tour of the...

Weekly inspirations: February 6th, 2015

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:   The Untold Story Of Shake Shack’s $1.6 Billion Branding Last week, Shake Shack went public in an IPO that ballooned to $1.6 billion—cementing the brand’s journey from a one-off boutique stand in New York’s Madison Square Park to a multinational burger titan with restaurants reaching Moscow, Istanbul, and Dubai. This article looks at the branding behind this new restaurant sensation. Read the article here.   Moment – The World’s Best Mobile Photography Lenses Moment is a new mobile lens system launching on Kickstarter created a professional lens designer to give you a pretty amazing wide-angle or telephoto lens. The sample looks incredible and I will be picking one of them up to try to make my iPhone more of a creative tool when I travel. Read the article here.   5...

My Design Ethos – The 9 Principles I Create By

A few years ago I started to write my “design ethos” that define the 9 guiding design and leadership principles I wanted my group and myself to always aspire to. They purposely meant to be simple statements but I wanted that simplicity to be deceiving as each is purposely challenging and aspirational. Over time I’ve also found having a set of beliefs is important because if you ever want to do anything new or innovative you are going to have to bring those ideas to life against a lot of opposition. It wasn’t until I started working with Apple that I really embraced that fact that you have to be crazy with an almost radical dedication to getting the best ideas and not compromising your vision to do it. It can be disheartening when people don’t share your vision but you have to be the person who is crazy enough to push through to get those ideas to come to life....

My 2015 Super Bowl commercials report card

I know that the last thing the world needs is another Super Bowl commercials top 5 list but since my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers weren’t playing in the big game again this year I had nothing better to do. I look at these ads not just as individual advertisements but also for qualities that I find important like how it fits into the brand strategy, how the ad features the product, of the ad gets your attention, if the ad tells a story and     TOP 5 COMMERCIALS I struggled to find even 5 ads that I thought stood out since I was really disappointed once again by this years crop of Superbowl ads. Here are my favorites but sadly I don’t think any of these will be timeless classics.   1 – BMW “Newfangled Idea” Getting people to accept new concepts is always a struggle. This commercial starts out with a clip from 20 years ago of Katie Couric and Bryant...

Weekly inspirations: January 30th, 2015

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:   Five Characteristics Of An Innovation Read the article here.   4 Rules for Getting Better Client Feedback A quick glance at Clients From Hell confirms it: there’s no shortage of people willing to provide unskillful feedback to creative professionals. From too-vague direction (one client once asked me, “Can you make it look more… yummy?”) to overly prescriptive requests (like the classic “make the logo bigger”), it often seems like the feedback we receive is designed to make our jobs more difficult. This article on 99u lays out 4 rules for stopping all of that and finally getting better client feedback. Read the article here.   The Secret to an Efficient Team? Gratitude. At first glance, the workplace—where we devote long hours, develop important relationships, and regularly participate in...