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2014 Pantone Colour of the Year

Pantone officially declared Pantone 18-3224 Radiant Orchid as the 2014 Colour of the Year.

“While the 2013 colour of the year, PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald, served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity, Radiant Orchid reaches across the colour wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute®. “An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society.”

“An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.”

The colour of the year selection requires careful consideration and, to arrive at the selection, Pantone quite literally combs the world looking for colour influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films that are in production, traveling art collections, hot new artists, popular travel destinations and other socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from technology, availability of new textures and effects that impact colour, and even upcoming sports events that capture worldwide attention.

Information from

Thomas Cook Travel latest re-brand

World renowned tour operator, Thomas Cook, has opted for a new ‘Sunny Heart’ logo, ditching the globe logo it first used in 1880, as the company continues recovering from being close to collapse. The 172-year-old firm unveiled the new design alongside a new positioning statement – ‘Let’s Go’ – replacing its famous motto ‘Don’t just book it, Thomas Cook it.’

The re-brand is part of a complete overhaul by new CEO Harriet Green, who was recruited last year to save the company. The tour operator had been battered by weak consumer confidence in Europe and disruption to holiday destinations such as Egypt. Thomas Cook was eventually forced to cut 2,600 jobs and shut approximately 195 travel agencies as part a survival plan.

The changes mark a new chapter in a history dating back to 1841, when former Baptist preacher Thomas Cook began running tours for members of the anti-alcohol temperance movement.

The switch to the new logo follows a year-long trial in Scandinavia, which the firm said met with a positive response from Danes, Finns, Swedes and Norwegians. Swedish ad agency Happy, came up with the design. Neither Happy nor Thomas Cook would reveal how much it paid for the new logo, with a spokesman saying only that the cost was ‘minimal’.

While the Sunny Heart idea came from the Swedish ad agency, industry sources said the final version had to be tweaked by the firm’s own marketing team. The design was made ‘a little plumper’ compared to the original and has also been ‘irradiated’ by adding a sparkle of light.

Thomas Cook marketing and ecommerce director Mike Hoban said, “The gold sunny heart logo had been created to evoke warmth and emotion and worked for all types of holiday, even skiing. The type in metallic grey reflects a high tech, digital Thomas Cook.”

After a successful year in the Nordic countries, the sunny heart is now the unifying symbol for the whole Thomas Cook Group, in more than 70 countries. This is the first time in Thomas Cook’s 172-year history that all its companies will have a unifying identity.



Late 19th century

In 1914, a fifth continent was added to the surrounding ribbons


1928 a fifth ribbon was added, and the brand name changed from Cooks Tours to Cook’s Travel Service


The globe was replaced in 1930 with TC&S for Thomas Cook and Son


These two designs were used between the mid-1930s until after the second world war


Cooks was used between the 50s and 70s


The “flame red” Thomas Cook logo was introduced in 1974


Updated in 1989 to the logo most of us know


The “sea and sun” yellow and blue was launched in 2001






World’s thinnest keyboard unveiled

The company behind the wireless Beats headphones and Nike Running gadget has unveiled the world’s thinnest keyboard, with a flexible, wireless touchscreen just half a millimetre thick.

Cambridge-based CSR, which specialises in wireless technology, showcased a prototype of the product at the IFA consumer electronics event in Berlin, but it will be 12 months before it will be available to buy.

Paul Williamson, CSR’s director of low power wireless products, said the final form factor depended on how manufacturers bring the keyboard to market, although its primary use is likely to be as a lightweight, complementary external keyboard for tablet devices. “This is a working prototype and a glimpse forward rather than something people will be buying this year,” he said.

“We might see lots of shapes and sizes, some as small as iPad Mini or a larger, more rigid form for a desktop PC, which could be curved, in any colour way, transparent or fitted with a leather folio.”

Developed in partnership with Cambridge Inkjet Technology, the interface for the product is printed out and can be customised. That could mean printing bespoke keyboards in different languages with ease, or customised keyboards for functions such as video editing and for customers who would like personalised patterns or messages on their own keyboard.

The keyboard’s touchscreen could also be used under a piece of paper to transcribe notes made with a pen and sync them to a computer.

CSR’s research has led to wireless products that enable music streaming in the popular Beats headphones, the performance-tracking tool the Nike+ SportWatch and the Jambox speaker.

Founded in 1999, CSR is one of a cluster of successful, research-focused tech companies clustered around Cambridge and “Silicon Fen” who have recently discussed introducing a “Made in Cambridge” badge to promote their products.

“The audio experience you’re getting from Beats headphones exists because we developed it, put it out there and now it is used on a global scale,” said Williamson.

“People don’t recognise that that kind of innovation is developed by a small number of very bright people here, and the pool of engineering talent and expertise here deserves a bit more credit than the app economy drive in the periphery of London.”

Source: the guardian

Creative Packaging

This post is to show some amazing, innovative and creative packaging design ideas from all over the world.

Even though the goal of modern retail packaging is to encourage potential buyers to purchase the product, clever packages can also be a great source of inspiration.




2013 Colour of the Year

Pantone officially declared Pantone 17-5641 Emerald Green as the 2013 Colour of the Year.

Most often associated with brilliant, precious gemstones, the perception of Emerald is sophisticated and luxurious. Since antiquity, this luminous, magnificent hue has been the color of beauty and new life in many cultures and religions. It’s also the color of growth, renewal and prosperity – no other color conveys regeneration more than green. For centuries, many countries have chosen green to represent healing and unity.

The Colour of the Year selection is a very long and detailed process. To arrive at the selection, Pantone quite literally scours the world looking for influences on colour. Including the entertainment industry and films in production, traveling art collections, hot new artists, popular travel destinations and other socio-economic conditions. Other influences also come from technology, availability of new textures and effects that impact colour, even upcoming sports events that capture worldwide attention.

For more than a decade, Pantone’s Colour of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design.

With a continued emphasis on ‘going green’ it is no wonder that the vibrant colour has become the latest trend and it will be interesting to see how the design community pairs this energetic shade.


Image courtesy of Pantone.

The End of an Era

After 159 years the broadsheet tradition has ended for the weekday edition of The Age. It has become a tabloid-sized newspaper for the first time. The question is: does size matter in terms of editorial content? Will we, as readers, see a change in the content and selection of stories in this smaller Fairfax newspaper? According to Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood, the answer is no. He has emphatically argued when explaining the rationale for the size switch (to save costs through the closure of the Tullamarine plant) that the “compact” version will contain the same “quality journalism” as when it was broadsheet. Media scholars are divided on the question of whether newspaper size influences content, and in turn, the role of the press in strengthening democratic accountability.

Hywood did not explicitly stated that the company would pursue a “downmarket” approach when The Age changed size, and he was deliberate in using the term “compact” rather than tabloid. Tabloids tend to be dogged with a reputation for prurience and sensationalism. Globally, in 2013, the distinction between the editorial content of the broadsheets compared to tabloids cannot be simply determined by page size.

Previously, larger format papers were associated with a high income-earning readership, and considered a mark of style and authority. This divide blurred when many large format papers converted to “compact” to make it easier for the commuting reader, and to ultimately bolster sales. These papers were more accurately termed “elites” referring to their content, rather than their size, to distinguish them. Such mastheads include The Times, The Guardian, The Independent and The New York Times. Their content shows a commitment to the coverage of politics, foreign news and investigative reporting.

In Australia, the symbolic and physical difference between the two sized newspapers still largely existed up until yesterday (5 March). The broadsheet papers of the SMH, The Age and The Australian generally attracted readers from a higher socio-economic background, often termed A and B demographics. Of course there is one notable exception to this finding in Australia and that is the Australian Financial Review. This tabloid-sized national business newspaper also has an AB demographic and an editorial focus on politics and, as my research has found, a strong record for investigative reporting.

Looking at the compact newspaper versions published today it is impossible to make any strong statements about whether size matters for Fairfax. That will only be known with time. What is known is that globally, over the past five years, about 80 daily newspapers have converted from broadsheet to tabloid in a bid to boost circulation and revenues in response to the political economy of the mass media. But swapping to compact size for circulation gains has also proved not to be sustainable for most beyond a few years.

Since the 1970′s premium news pages have fewer stories, bigger pictures and more advertising as compared to each decade before. Editors have also shifted their lead-story focus toward crime stories and away from international reporting. The move toward tabloidisation of content has resulted in different editorial priorities, including less investigative reporting. Research has shown that when Australian broadsheets become tabloids their investigative reporting diminishes. Three examples are Brisbane’s Courier Mail, the Adelaide Advertiser and the Newcastle Herald.

A cautionary tale for Fairfax: size does not necessarily shape content (as the Financial Review has so far shown) but the political economy of newspapers demonstrates that it can. Whether it does or doesn’t largely depends on the power and editorial perspective of the editor – one free of the editorial compromises that corporate responsibilities of a masthead can bring.

Modern Vintage Revival

For a while now I have noticed a huge revival of vintage themed design. Designers are using classic typography techniques, muted colours and dirty textures to simulate designs from centuries past. Using truly inspiring designs dug up from the past and modernising them to work today. New vintage fonts are also emerging rapidly from typographers.

Vintage style designs arise feelings, awake memories and involve a broad range of viewers. A retro design often offers viewers something they haven’t expected at all. Retro styles have brought a touch of romanticism back into design, back to time when life was much simpler, less stressful and relaxed. This may be the reason it has become popular again.

Below are some inspiring examples of modern retro design.



20 years since the very first text message

20 years ago, a young British engineer named Neil Papworth sent the world’s first text message from a computer to his boss’s mobile phone.

Nokia introduced the 1011 on the 10th of the 11th 1992. It was the first mobile phone capable of sending and receiving SMS texts. Three weeks after engineers got the system live, so what did the first text message actually say? It was ‘Merry Christmas’.

When he sent that Christmas greeting on December 3, 1992, Papworth never imagined he’d make history. “For me, I was doing a day’s work and I just thought: ‘OK, if this thing works, what am I doing tomorrow?”.

He was 22 years old at the time of the inaugural text, working as a software engineer for the British company Vodafone to improve pager and mobile phone messaging systems at a time when few people even carried mobile phones.

Vodafone wanted to develop the technology as an improvement on paging, Papworth said, and no one realised then how it would change the culture of communication forever. “They thought it would be used as an executive pager so that secretaries could get hold of their bosses while they were out and about and they could send them messages and tell them what to do and where to go”.

Papworth was working for a company called Sema Group Telecoms at Vodafone’s offices in Newbury, southeast England, developing what was known as a Short Message Service Centre (SMSC).

“I used to talk to my friends about what I do, and they’re like: ‘Text what?’ No one had a mobile phone back then,” he said.

The bricks of the 1980s were heavy on the arm muscles but light on uses with only the option of making a call. Mobile phones have now evolved into multi-tasking smartphones and text messaging has become part of our daily interactions.

Wireless Digital Audio Adaptor

Two-way Audiomate AM8212 (left) and one-way Audiomate AM8112 (right).

The Audiomate allows you to stream audio from practically any device wirelessly.

This nifty device converts audio entertainment into wireless. Enabling the freedom to move without the limitations of a cord, whilst still receiving high fidelity, stereo sound for up to 20 metres.

Perfect for in-home use with stereo systems, mobile devices as well as all devices using a 3.5mm earphone jack. Simply plug the transmitter into the audio device and sync it to the receiver, connect your earphones or headphones and enjoy wireless audio with crystal-clear digital sound quality.

The one-way transmitter is the most flexible, as it features a 3.5mm audio jack as well as a mini-USB socket. You can charge the internal Li-on battery via USB, but you can also connect the transmitter to a computer via USB and use it like USB speakers. It offers the possibility of transmitting audio from some applications rather than the all-or-nothing sound from the headphones jack. This model also has a thumb-sized receiver with a 3.5mm headphone jack and micro-USB for charging the internal battery. It’s got power and volume controls on the front, plus a sturdy clip on the back for attaching to your shirt, sleeve or belt.

The two-way model uses exactly the same thumb-sized receiver, except it features extra buttons for jumping between audio tracks. The transmitter is a tiny USB stick, which is designed to work with software such as Skype. There is no 3.5mm audio jack, which means you are not able to use the two-way model to send audio from AV gear such as your television.

RRP starting at $59.95


Online shopping booming in Australia

Click Frenzy may have been an online disaster, but it has certainly magnified and definitely sealed the future of online selling in Australia, especially for one day sales and specials.

On Tuesday, according to the NAB Online Retail Sales Index, sales from online shopping has jumped 26 per cent in 12 months and it is believed that sales from online shopping will increase up to 20 per cent over the coming decade.

Although sales from online shopping still remains low compared to the total Australian retail spend – it is definitely a force to reckon with due to the enormous growth. I am an avid online shopper, I find I am saving time by not running around searching and money because often items are cheaper.

Of the $12.3 billion online sales, surprisingly around 75 per cent was actually spent on products sold by Australian domestic department stores and local retailers.

I believe the Click Frenzy hype, along with its meltdown and technology crash, is just the start of things for online shopping in Australia. Feedback from retailers is that logistically it didn’t quite work on the day, but it is still an emerging market and something they want to try again.

Image courtesy