Consonance

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Hi everyone!

We do what we do! Well, I do anyway…

I sometimes find myself questioning my work. Like, is it too complicated for the average reader? Does it come off as fluffy or at the opposite end of the spectrum, dense? And when my mind enters ‘the complex’, I literally have to stop what I’m thinking and revert to self-talk. I used to avoid self-talk for fear that it gave others the impression that I was crazy (my mouth might move too much when I’m thinking hard), but now I use it as a gentle form of therapy, to get me back on track to believing in myself. That’s why today, when I came across the word consonance, I felt blessed and it quickly resonated with my current circumstance. Anyway, here’s a bit on consonance as it relates to working and the whole job interview process thingamajigger.

Scott Olster, Ideas Editor at LinkedIn, wrote a brief article around “the idea of business trends, perspectives, and hot topics you need to know to work smarter”. He says –

Success can easily end up feeling hollow when it’s defined and measured by other people’s standards. For our work to have lasting personal value, author Laura Gassner Otting writes that we need to focus on developing what she refers to as consonance.

Laura is a writer for Harvard Business Review and she defines consonance as –

“Consonance is not just purpose writ large (and lofty). It’s your purpose, freely and clearly defined by you, and put into action through awareness of and alignment with your life’s plan. Consonance is when what you do matches who you are (or who you want to be).”

As I enter the interview zone, I will remember consonance as another word that can help me stay on track. Thank you for the opportunity, now I have something to say! And always remember: the value of the job is to you (Gassner Otting).

Do you relate to this? What is the interview process like for you? Easy? Intense? How do you prepare?

Blogging Graphic Design Process

Hi everyone!

Using simple applications to turn out wicked images is fun. Sort of like the gamification of graphic design (what blogging is like to me). Gaming is portable these days, right? Here’s an interesting article on the history of gaming, maybe you can check for me!

The History Of Gaming: An Evolving Community by Riad Chikhani

Back to the matter at hand…

Here are 3 versions of an image I developed for a post (Start). I’ll try to share my process with you (unedited) about how it came together in a time frame of about 5 minutes.

Step 1 – Select a major topic from blog content. (the plague)

Step 2 – Decide if primary message will focus on an image or text. (text)

Step 3 – Decide on a colour palette. (complementary colours blue and orange)

Step 4 – For this image, I decided on text, so the next step was to figure out wording. Wording should be based on the blog’s content, and is usually more effective if it provides the viewer with a direct parallel or bold contrast to the primary message. (the plague)

Step 5 – Pair text with secondary element – image or text. For example, the post’s title is ‘Start’, so I looked for an image of a ‘start button’. (image)

Step 6 – Publish the featured image. Go back to the website to see if it’s effective. In most cases, the image will be cropped, so you may have to edit to ensure the desired elements you want to showcase show up in the frame. (edit to fix)

Step 7 – For this image, I didn’t like the way it was cropped. So, I asked myself – to add or remove? In this case, I decided to add another element in the centre area where visual weight was lacking. (edit for composition)

Step 8 – Again, return to your website and check to see if the image is effective. Still in this case, there was a lack of balance in the top left side corner. I decided to add a pop of colour to provide an additional element of contrast. (edit for graphic design elements)

Step 9 – Check the image on your website. If it works, you will be aesthetically pleased with its presentation or you have found a balance between image – text – colour. (satisfaction)

Step 10 – Double-check to see if there were any cropping issues, spelling or grammar mistakes. Ensure each element of the design is balanced and harmonious. And, you’re finished! (completion)

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What’s your graphic design process like? Do you create your own images for your blog? If you could write 10 steps to finalizing an image for a post, what would it entail?

Meaningfulness

Editing could quite possibly be the treachery of writing! Overly edited content may tell readers, “This is not false.” On the other side, the raw construction of content is meaningful, but we should argue that the deliberate deconstruction of content to reveal a greater point of view (proper editing) more readily achieves the goals of an SEO/communications strategy – to uphold popularity, relevance, authority and credibility and to distribute a message that is transparent, accurate and responsible.

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This piece is inspired by a very popular surrealist painting, Ceci n’est pas une pipe by René Magritte. Ironically, my image overloads the viewer with elaborate messages (a commentary on keywords perhaps), whereas Magritte’s painting is a basic review of signified and signifier. Here’s some additional information taken from Wikipedia

The Treachery of Images (French: La Trahison des images) is a 1929 painting by surrealist painter René Magritte.

The painting shows a pipe. Below it, Magritte painted, “Ceci n’est pas une pipe“, French for “This is not a pipe”.

The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it’s just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture “This is a pipe”, I’d have been lying! (Magritte)

Do you enjoy the process of editing? How do you know when to stop and is this action directly related to a meaningful message, because content becomes inherently closer to ‘an answer’ or ‘a reality’?

Katie

She loved the red glitter on her eyes. It was so thick and opaque. Looking into the mirror, she had to tippy-toe onto her Dr. Martens to see the details. It gave her a buzz – the satisfaction of seeing colour on her face. Kate patted down her hair, trying to ignore the grays.

There was a lot now. They came in from nowhere. Probably due to stress. Her mom-in-law. Lack of inspiration or something like that. Katie inhaled a deep breath while admiring herself. One more time, she thought. And then, she turned to exit the restroom.

Her dress was red too. Strolling through the children’s department, Katie saw something green. It was fabulous! Hyper-fantastic and surreal. She had to run towards it. A supreme, three-piece, pastel green, polyester suit. It was a suit of dreams.

Flared pants, minuscule vest, oddly-sized plastic buttons, and a blazer. The blazer. The lapels and the boning. That feeling she got when fresh clothes actually existed was drugs. Not street drugs, but visceral happiness-coated candy love.

Lime green market baskets. Apple-scented Jolly Ranchers. That sort of thing. Why in the world would you even need drugs, if you could find clothes like these? She didn’t know. It blew her mind. As she took the leisure suit to the till to pay, she was anxious, but she still smiled.

She opened her Celine wallet, removing the VISA card – personal purchase – she thought. I’m gonna make this work! Smiling and not evaluating an inch of the sales associate’s grin, Katie took the handles of her JC Penney bag and walked out. Into the world.

***The stores that have given me a sense of fashionable purpose growing up were JC Penney, Fairweather, Smart Set, Dalmys, Le Château, Mariposa, Jacobs, Westbeach, Au Coton, Aritzia, Nike, Winners, Eaton’s and Hudson’s Bay. Most have come and gone. Based on this subset, the champions have focused on a specified niche market, continual dedication through brand evolution and reduced pricing.

CONCLUSION

Time changes everything. How do we keep up (trend)? Stay relevant (worth)? Do you remember your favorite stores and brands? Are they still around? Have they become more or less ubiquitous over time? Why are the champions still in ‘power’ and how do you think they got there?

Transparency

 

Abstract: that this things work jeans hat

Hi everyone! Ready for some conceptual development? Let’s go!

Transparency is our ability to see through the madness. If you walk alongside an ad, a banner or a billboard, you are shuffling ahead, trying to get by the crowds surrounding your body and your spirit. This leaves you with little to no time to stop, to take a breath and to analyze what you see. But if you do have a moment, take it. Stop, breathe, then look. Let’s analyze this image as you would see it, if for example, you were walking through Burrard skytrain station (Vancouver, BC) trying to catch your ride home.

It’s so bold, you have to stop. Even if for 1 second. You’re wondering about the colours, the use of red + blue & light purple. Why would they do this? But look – a rabbit. It’s in the centre of the circle. I suppose we are trying to catch it, but it is getting away. That’s interesting! Softly positioned underneath, we see some text – A Technical Creative Company. Hmm. I guess this business is in the business of creating technical and creative things. And that is enough to think. A slight nod of his head, then he walks away.

From Wikipedia –

Hidden Markov Model (HMM) is a statistical Markov model in which the system being modeled is assumed to be a Markov process with unobservable (i.e. hidden) states.

In simpler Markov models (like a Markov chain), the state is directly visible to the observer, and therefore the state transition probabilities are the only parameters, while in the hidden Markov model, the state is not directly visible, but the output (in the form of data or “token” in the following), dependent on the state, is visible. Each state has a probability distribution over the possible output tokens. Therefore, the sequence of tokens generated by an HMM gives some information about the sequence of states; this is also known as pattern theory, a topic of grammar induction.

The adjective hidden refers to the state sequence through which the model passes, not to the parameters of the model; the model is still referred to as a hidden Markov model even if these parameters are known exactly.

Hidden Markov models are especially known for their application in reinforcement learning and temporal pattern recognition such as speechhandwritinggesture recognition,[7] part-of-speech tagging, musical score following,[8] partial discharges[9] and bioinformatics.[10]

Transparency. It is hard to see the writing, but I suppose this is a play on words. Let’s take a step aside to identify another idea that could possibly contribute to our exploration of transparency.

Shakespeare wrote –

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.

As an exercise for my readers, let’s remove ‘seven ages’ and replace it with ‘seven goals’, which we can create to incorporate more visuality into our practice. If you are a business owner, define these seven goals around the fields of branding, marketing and sales. And in case you were wondering about the word visuality, https://www.merriam-webster.com describes it as –

Definition of visuality

1the quality or state of being visual or visible VISIBILITY
2a mental image or picture VIEWGLIMPSE

So, seven goals to incorporate more visuality into my business (acting as a business owner for Blox. Communications) –

(Goals should relate to the quality or state of being visible, as in advertising/PR and should relate to a mental image or picture, as in HOW our customers perceive our business and our products/services.)

  1. Define 1 main logo and 1 main tag;
  2. Consistently promote ChonaBLOX. blog (with URL) across all social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter);
  3. Come up with a consistent slogan for each identity (BLOX, ChonaBLOX. and Blox. Communications);
  4. Ensure each project/document aligns with established goal attributes – transparency, accuracy and responsibility;
  5. Speak and write using vivid and bold description;
  6. Speak and write following a linear and logical pattern;
  7. Establish brand identity using colour + text as a visual tool across all platforms.

Can you come up with something like this for your own business? For myself, transparency is creating an abstract concept, breaking it down for my reader, so that they can begin to understand the ways we see and interpret visual and/or written data, using innovative + mainstream techniques. This is a skill and it must be honed. If you are trying to establish or refine your brand, your marketing strategy or your sales approach, comprehension of innovative + mainstream ideas is imperative, especially in a visual state. Do you agree with this?

Back to our analysis…

(Ask yourself, can we jump from paragraph to paragraph? Does it distort the message?)

And it relates to the two images, because the first one is bold and the second one is more transparent. However, messaging does not exist along the same plane. Which image has more popularity? More relevance? More authority? More credibility? (These are SEO metrics to keep in mind.) The man, who I forgot to mention, wears a khaki-coloured trench coat and matching hat. He takes 5 steps back to re-read the word ‘transparency’. He quickly glances further back at the bolder image, then walks forward 8 steps to be faced directly with the more transparent image.

We have engaged our viewer. Transparency is a particular context that comments on HOW things work. Transparency, which lexico.com defines as – an image, text, or positive transparent photograph printed on transparent plastic or glass – is able to be viewed using a projector. Just as a frosted window engages its audience to peer in closer, these images encourage the same experience. Perhaps if the man looks closer, deeper, further into, he will begin to question HOW the messaging is working, while still taking in a normative meaning that most average ads, banners or billboards intend.

And visually speaking, the projector has imprinted the image in our minds, in our short and long term memory. In our digital collaborative state, the aim is to be able to study another’s work and run a real-time comparison to understand how someone else’s chosen elements could apply to and improve our chosen modes of communication. Again and again, we see that the stage is experiential and we must involve ourselves with interest and intention to reap any benefits for our business and our customers.

Members of the advertising discipline are playing many intentional ‘games’ that are designed to engage, enrapture and captivate a specific, targeted audience. Would you want your audience to be enthralled? Are there any downsides to this type of engagement? Is the experience itself enough?

Welcome

Hi everyone!

What type of woman would you hire to help brand your business? What marketing skills should she hold? What type of sales personality will she have? Is she strong, independent and willing to change in order to meet and exceed current industry objectives?

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