Archive for 2010

Glasgow’s fairytales of New York

On Friday 19th November, Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York, addressed SCDI’s Annual Dinner in Glasgow. Here’s a few parallels between the two Cities that might surprise you.

Glasgow IS New York

Glasgow and New York look very similar. Glasgow’s charm acts as a magnet for film directors who continue to transform our beautiful Victorian architecture, grid layout and endless cobbled lanes into movie sets reminiscent of New York.

Stars like Robert Duvall, Gillian Anderson, George Clooney, Charlie Sheen and Keira Knightley have all made movies in the city.

Uncle Sam belongs tae Glasgow!

Uncle CamNew Yorker, ‘Uncle’ Sam Wilson is the personification of the USA but his parents were Glaswegian. Samuel Wilson, was a meat-packer in Troy, New York during the 19th Century. During the War of 1812, Wilson helped the troops fighting the British by sending them crates of meat, carrying the stamp ‘U.S’. (which stood for United States). The soldiers, familiar with Sam Wilson’s operation, jokingly, claimed the U.S stood for “Uncle Sam.” The name stuck and now represents the very ethos of Americana.

Two Great Cities of The World

Glasgow and New York are both in Lonely Planet’s guide of the World’s Top 10 city destinations to visit.

Get my slippers, make a pizza-Sinatra

It’s nice to go travelling, but it’s so much nicer to come home. Both cities have a Central Station amidst their very similar, City centre street grid systems. Glasgow’s gorgeous new station hotel has just been re-christened ‘The Grand Central’.

The Wee Apple

New York is the most densely-populated city in the United States, with 8.5 million people. Greater Glasgow is the most densely-populated city in Scotland, with 1.25 million citizens.

Bobby ThomsonThe Staten Island Scot

Glaswegian Bobby Thomson played Major League baseball and was renowned as “the Staten Island Scot”. On October 3, 1951, Bobby was playing for New York Giants in a playoff against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Thomson blasted the dramatic, winning home run, famously christened “the shot heard ’round the world”. After all these years, Thomson’s is still one of the most talked-about home runs in US baseball history.

It’s your turn! Win some hooch!

Glasgow has at least TWO Statues of Liberty! One of them is in a VERY high profile position in the City and if you’re a Glaswegian, you’ll have walked past it, If you can tell us where either (or both) of these statues are, we’ll enter you into the Uncle Sam’s hat to win a very special bottle of prohibition-proof Malt Whisky (another Glasgow product that went on to change America), So go, tell us, where are they?

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Where are the Glaswegian Statue of Liberties?

Connectivity – NOT!

It is no surprise that the resilience and quality of UK broadband and phone networks have been called into question again this week. The disruption experienced by business and domestic users acts as a resounding reminder that always-on connectivity is a must.  In addition this needs to be underpinned by a modern, robust core network reaching all communities if we are to operate effectively in the modern world.

The private sector has kicked back in reaction to David Cameron’s recent appointment of minister Lord Young as the new enterprise tsar whom has been tasked with cutting rules and regulations.

New research from the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has discovered that nearly three quarters of SME’s expect the government to fail when they try to implement “proposals” to slash red tape to a level that helps businesses realise their growth potential.

What are these doubts based upon you might ask? The research clearly demonstrates that there is a huge dichotomy in culture between small employers and those employed in the public sector; civil servants justify their actions through paper trails, whereas smaller employers are not subjected to the same formal scrutiny.

What impact do these issues have on our economy?

The Digital Britain Report released in June 2009 clearly states the UK’s ambition is to secure our position as one of the world’s leading digital knowledge economies. This is an admirable ambition and one that is supported by the business community. This was clearly demonstrated at the recent Glasgow Chamber of Commerce’s Think Digital conference where speakers included IBM, Google and Cisco.

Recent Forrester Research tells us that globally the biggest percentage of digital users currently sit in the Joiner or Spectator zone; they are watching from afar with the more audacious ones visiting and starting to join social marketing networks. The real brand building, credibility establishing and development of authority takes place in the Creator and Conversationalist zones. What is it that happens here? Well it’s not rocket science, perpetual creation of unique and compelling content in the form of blogs, music, video and interactive engagement with social platform. This offers us huge opportunity to claim the Creator and Conversationalist zones and utilise our digital strengths to deliver on Digital Britain’s ambition.

However, there’s an elephant in the room and it is vital that it’s tackled sooner rather than later. The bottom line is Scotland needs a robust broadband infrastructure and a confident private sector to support our growing creative industries and digital technology sectors enabling us to compete effectively on a global scale. I reckon the private sector is up for it, so come on quangoland get with the programme.

Sorry love, you’re just not my type…

Typography, it’s a funny one and we know that some creative types harbour a great sense of frustration that some of  ‘the masses’ don’t share their love of the craft, the artistry and the aesthetics of typography. If you ask ‘the man in the street’ he might know a few typefaces maybe Ariel or Times, primarily because it’s what comes up on ‘Word’, when you’re typing-out proposals.

Most people don’t really give typography a second thought and the fact that Doctorates are written on the subject and some of the most respected Designers use the tool to differentiate Brands, sometimes giving them $Billion equity values, this doesn’t seem to resonate with some people. The reason for this is that some of the biggest brands have ‘marques’ that are so simple, it looks as though absolutely  no thought or effort has gone into the process. That’s why, when a new ‘logo’ (as the tabloids like to call it) is announced, it’s usually roundly derided by them, filed under: ‘what a waste of money, my five-year-old could do that’.

We’re bound to say this I suppose but we Designers don’t just pluck these ‘logos’ out of the air, we put a huge amount of time, effort and creativity into selecting (or actually creating a special  font) However, it’s often seen as the ‘means’, rather than the ‘end’ of a fairly exhaustive business strategy process. Sure, there can be a lot of aesthetic snobbery involved and this is because designers are designers and have studied at Art College, so any decent ones usually know instinctively what looks ‘right’. A lot of the really good ones take this a step further and set trends. They can inject vitality and make the old-fashioned ‘fonts’ look modern and outdated typefaces look contemporary.

We’d be the first to admit that the art of Typography can often follow fashion and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you don’t believe it’s a fashion thing, have a look at some of these babies, from the 1970’s! The secret to really good typography though is trying to transcend fashion and create something…timeless.

The BBC have a great wee piece on their website regarding the typeface Comic Sans, a font that many Typographic Gurus dismiss as a joke. It’s set us thinking as to what some of the iconic Brands (along with their equally iconic slogans) would look like, using Comic Sans, the typeface that everyone loves to hate…

As you can see, the world would be a pretty dull place without nice Typography.

Some bad examples