A Poem About Differentiation

A differentiator is what sets you apart from the competition.

It’s playing sports vs playing ball.

It’s smiling when life throws you those base curves,

because by the end of the day, everyone will remember.

In marketing, a differentiator makes people revel.

At times in silence, but that silence is awe.

You have differentiated your product when,

people know your name by your vision,

your philosophy, your mission statement.

Your audience begins to recognize your slogan,

they begin to identify with your colours.

You are en route to differentiating when,

you feel nervous and yet grounded.

At the end of the day,

you feel like you’re taking a risk

like you’re in trouble for something because

it pushes boundaries, it causes discussions,

it breaks the rules but never forget,

you are leading the group.

A true differentiator cannot be physically realized, because it has infinite gain at infinite frequency – Wikepedia

Digital reach is UNLIMITED. How does art make a difference? COOL is an UNLIMITED concept. Take that back to the couch when you break. Like someone in sales talking about sales, talking about art takes vision. It takes direction and you must be a leader through and through. I am obviously trying to push myself. Always, always tryin’ ta be that purple cow. Let’s remind the crowd again –

Purple cow:

The concept of the Purple Cow was introduced by Seth Godin in his groundbreaking book by the same title.  Recently I read it again because it is full of ideas and case studies on how to make your business remarkable. When you drive by a heard of cattle they all look like cows and it doesn’t seem out of the ordinary.  But if you drive by a heard and standing in the field is a Purple Cow you have to tell someone because it is so different.  When something forces you to remark on it, by definition it is remarkable.  This is what your new business strategy should be focusing on, finding ways to make your customers talk about your products to their friends.

I write about differentiation in light of the launch of DirectFood.store, an online platform that enables local farmers and vendors to sell their products to consumers, restaurants, and care homes. The food is fresh. SO FRESH. The food is local. SO LOCAL. And you get it right away, to your doorstep, the next day. DIRECT TO YOUR DOOR.

I helped to develop the brand identity which you can witness on our recently revamped website. And I run our social media campaign, which is meant to be fresh, in the definition of COOL, like Will Smith Fresh Prince of Bel-Air COOL, that shirt is sick COOL, those kicks are dope COOL.

COOL is just one aspect of the brand, obviously my favourite. But DirectFood.store is also about:

  • Supporting local businesses
  • Engaging the community
  • Spreading the good word about fresh, healthy, organic & local food
  • Promoting a good cause for the good of all people

Just wanted to share some graphics I created that are live on the website. And you need to follow us on Instagram, to check out the REAL DEAL grid. 2 posts per day. Slammin’ balls against the ground. ALL BALL SPORTS. It’s bold. It’s cheeky. It’s collage. It promotes our core values + image. It’s inspired by a retro van, who needs a name…any ideas?

I AM STILL AN ART DIRECTOR. PERIOD.

WHY DOES RANTING END BEFORE YOU’RE FINISHED?

Never let anyone sway you otherwise. If you’re capable, you’re capable. You don’t go back in time. You move forward. And forward-thinking people, know the game. But they’ve got their own game going on, and other people play that. That’s it. Goodnight.

PS – Props to Gurwinder!

PPS – A little lightness. I am lovin’ my work, my day, my grind at i-Open Technologies!

Delivering Real & Sustainable Technology Solutions for a Better Planet. Hi Ray!

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Recent MART

If you follow along my wonderful journey you would know what MART means! Here are some new adventures inspired by Archie comic books, Sigmar Polke and David Hockney always. I miss making random stuff. I truly exist as an abstract artist, perhaps one day I will own a beautiful big studio with lots and lots of paint! Hope you enjoy these and if you have any thoughts or comments, please do share them!

43ECBB8E-B24A-4DCD-92F2-CB2A3216C874

B7F1E432-7333-4A68-93DD-149758DA5780

A1A5A1EC-A78E-4C48-B539-6B671C490D4C

8FF3DDC8-2CED-4F2C-ADC4-0897DB92D9A1

A8234BD5-43CB-47B9-8B5E-F0F2A11D27C5

 

#blocks Project

Hi everyone!

One of my favorite creator’s is David Airey. He recently put out a large book titled, ID which explores his previous projects down to the nitty gritty of project management, managing expectations and design decisions. I love how it encapsulates important ideas from page to page, in bold black typeface. I’m pretty sure it’s the same one I used in my Previous Documents Presentation (more on that later).

As I was thinking what to post on next, I read from a glance –

It’s important to show how the identity will perform in a variety of contexts.

This quote quickly reminded me of some logos I designed for my social media project Blocks. So, I’ve put them together here for you, along with some other showstoppers (in my opinion).

Each image has been categorized based on identity type (e.g.: logo, label, magazine cover) and context (e.g.: exercise, influence, mission). These categories will help you to understand my focuses and interests in digital marketing, branding and design (BTW BC stands for Blox. Communications, if that wasn’t already obvious!) –

  • BC Vision
  • BC Mission
  • BC Value
  • BC Mantra
  • BC Symbol
  • BC Perception
  • BC Stock Image
  • BC Logo
  • BC Quote
  • BC Label
  • BC Photograph
  • BC Influence
  • BC Panel
  • BC Grid
  • BC Magazine Cover
  • BC Digital Collaboration
  • BC Text
  • BC Album Cover

Note: can you guess which image belongs to what category?

Let me know what you think, cheers guys! Oh, and you can check out the entire project (which ran for about 2 months) on my Instagram account chona_canlas.

Recent Works – Direct Mail Proposal

Hey everyone!

Back into the swing of things.

This project may seem simple to you, but it challenges the idea of giving and receiving. In our digital space, we give constantly. And is the return of our efforts (ROE) measured through digital collaboration (DC) enough? Think: total impact of IQ + EQ + PQ or a new notion ascertaining digital quotient (DQ) / digital equilibrium (DE) / digital aspect ROI (DAROI). *I will explore these ideas in a future post.

When my mother received letters from her suitors (a common practice in her time), she did not write back. She kept each letter as if to say, I realize you are all interested, however I will hold in my heart, the one who is right. Is this action right? Is it just? We observe a similar practice in Japanese culture. The ritual is gift-giving (action), rather than the gift itself. Huffpost.com describes it in three steps – the reveal, the denial and the recognition. Or, revelation of intelligence + denying impact of emotionality + recognition of our role and place in digital space.

Using this interpretation, I could say that this project was aimed to reveal part of my identity/intelligence (I now question its visual and linguistic legitimacy in my current digital explorations), to reflect my denial of attaching emotion to the act of giving and receiving, and finally to sustain 2-way recognition/communication (between seller and buyer in this case) of the journey (action) itself – “For the Japanese, gratitude is a battle of endurance.”

We need to evaluate the tone and style of our expressions (gratitude being relevant today) as we delve further and further into a state of digital collaboration. We are impacted and at what point are we actually bringing more clarity to situations and circumstance? This is sort of the concept of ‘niceties’ and because I aim to maintain a certain level of accuracy in my work, details are important, but should my actions impose more or less scrutiny in regards to how my audience receives my message? This ties everything back to: total impact of IQ + EQ + PQ or a new notion ascertaining digital quotient (DQ) / digital equilibrium (DE) / digital aspect ROI (DAROI).

As you make your way through the below, try to remove feelings of assumption or judgement. Art is for everyone. Despite my specific approach, there’s a core selection from each demographic (Baby Boomer to Gen Z) that relates to my work in its simplest form, in other words – the visual and the language. For this project, I give it back to them!

Abstract – slash / roboto / elephant

This project started out with a photoshoot. I was dressed as Wenda (Where’s Waldo’s girlfriend) and my friend Allegra and I captured a series of images in and around Horseshoe Bay, British Columbia, Canada. There was lunch at Troll’s (fish and chips of course) and a brief introduction/chat with family business owner Ab Troll. Then, tea at another local establishment Flour Bakery and the final shot – me peering over … The Giant Hedge.

I developed the concept around a youthful, graffiti-inspired (old BLOX style) rendering of sweetness or the sweet spot/’magic’ that we often search for in our interactions with brands and art projects in general. My old style was always striking, vibrant and street culture inspired. Think – Keith Haring meets baby Andy Warhol.

The first portion centres around strategy, the next on my Social Seller & Social Buyer personas and finally, the Wenda portion (introducing myself within a specific context) finalizes the presentation. I printed the images on glossy card stock and hand-cut each one with a paper cutter. The final presentation resembled 7-inch vinyl singles and are displayed most effectively in a stack, layed out as placards on a table or mounted onto a wall with colourful binder clips (yellow, purple or stainless steel would work).

Along with my visual presentation, I designed a series of stickers that were printed on matte sticker paper and cut by hand. I then assembled the stickers, one by one, into individual, resealable plastic bags. Two of the images are BLOX identity concepts. The one with the primary color wheel represents right-brained or creative BLOX and the other with the black and white bunny mascot (and letter B branded roboto typeface mouth) represents left-brained or technical BLOX. The remainder stickers were simple and fun applications of imagery used in the presentation. To top the set off, I made a collaborative-style logo (powered by) for the agency I was presenting to.

As a fun treat and tribute to the jam jar (featured in several of the images), I filled a couple of clear canisters with bright fruit candy (I once had a banana necklace) to match the colour theme and concept of sweetness. I also included a book containing 85 pages of work samples and creative/technical resources – collateral, white papers and articles. The book was bound using the specifications below:

8.5″ x 11″
Double Sided, Colour
Colour Laser, 98 Bright, 32-lb.
Binding – Wireless Binding – Black
Standard front cover
Pastel Yellow, 90-lb. Index
Standard back cover
Pastel Yellow, 90-lb. Index

*See more supporting documentation on my Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn account.

The final products were wrapped in colourful confetti  paper and fastened with two Jelly Marketing stickers. Everything was arranged bento-style in an unobtrusive Staples box with a package of fun pastel highlighters and a final ‘hello’ letter placed on top.

I am eternally dedicated to my work and process. This project was a homage to my academic background as a printmaker and street identity as a writer. When I was practicing regularly, the art forms themselves took shape. There was no plan, just creation. I would compare it to writing and reading classical music. I can’t really compare it to anything else. But my efforts today are different. They are positioned around understanding and fully utilizing the creative + technical aspects of my brain. So, now there is a need to plan and there is a need to create, but by having a specific outcome in mind.

At the end of it all, this has generated the foundation of A Brand Strategy. You will hear more about this in the coming year.

A few quick work goals for 2020 –

  • Find a job that I’m happy about
  • Develop Digital Presence business model
  • Develop A Brand Strategy

Next up: who’s down for white, black and corporate-friendly? Is it time to revisit my Digital Presence business model? Yes/No?

The question remains – To mail or not to mail? To give or not to give? To receive or not to receive? What matters most? Having or expecting? Waiting or forgetting? Are you a yes-man or a no-sayer? Check back guys!

Recent Works – Instagram Graphics

Hi all!

Here are a few graphic art/design pieces I put together over the past couple of months using my own photographs, Pic Collage + Canva.

My images flow from one to the next. It’s not intentional, it happens. Lately, I’ve been focused on using two hues, often complimentary. This enables our emotions and makes us think – is the content more striking or the context? There are also 2-3 characters fighting for the space. Can you identify them? What kind of plot line would you tell about these pictures?

BandDad

AllHallowsEve

Beauty

collage (89)

TheKing'sCrown

Relentless right?

Brand Strategy

Hi gang!

I was excited about creating these designs. The work was produced using Canva and took about 30 hours (including printing and assembling) to complete. I left out the personal part of my proposal, but I hope you can derive a positive sentiment from the style + tone I chose to go after!

This portion of the proposal defines a brand strategy in three parts – the social media aspect (WHAT), art direction aspect (HOW) and digital specialty aspect (WHY). At best, these aspects are shared and applied to a project equanimously in order create a sweet spot, ‘the magic’ or WHERE and WHEN true potential can emerge.

This whole concept is derived from Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle Theory which purports that great organizations create their foundation by addressing WHY they exist, HOW they go about their mission, and then finally, WHAT they do.

In my model, social media is used as a product or service we sell, however this can be changed to web development, SEO, email marketing etc.

The HOW is the people who are involved in the project. It is what sets us apart from the competition. It is what makes us unique and indispensable.

Lastly, WHY is the ultimate outcome. Very few organizations know WHY they do what they do. Why is not about making money. That’s a result. Why is a purpose, cause or belief. It’s the very reason your organization exists.

In synergy, any set of core values can be realized. In my model, I value belief, faith, trust and love. As a brand strategist, my ultimate outcome paints a beautiful picture for both the seller and buyer. The PICTURE is the agency differentiating itself from competitors. WHERE and WHEN this occurs impacts results – profitability, scalability and customer experience.

Have a look at this brief slideshow and let me know what you think –

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Remember, there is always room for further or greater interpretation. This is the sweetness of advertising. Branding is the #1 method we can use to portray our message, whether that message be creative, technical or both, a brand is responsible for defining who we are and what we do!

Talk soon!

The Social Seller & Social Buyer

Hi gang!

Let me know what you think of this project!

In my next few posts, I will showcase elements extracted from a direct mail proposal I created about brand strategy. The images below are a continuation of my Seller & Buyer persona study (also see image description in Previous Projects) and comment on the social aspect of selling and buying in the marketing industry.

Here is a pertinent excerpt from another relatable post Brand Names

For example, we (Sellers & Buyers) make the same, dedicated connections when observing a special life experience. Then, this can be observed through products and services. We recall brand names and in the long-term, we remember who you are for what you can bring to the table. Then, the name you have chosen to attach to your products and/or services will become synonymous and eventually engrained in time.

The original document was printed on glossy cardstock and sized like a 10″ vinyl record cover. They were presented in a stack, so that the viewer could lay them out on a table and take in a visual and sensory experience.

I placed a variation of the BLOX rabbit mascot in the bottom right hand corner of the images, the seller mascot wearing the creative BLOX logo and the buyer mascot wearing the technical BLOX logo. I’ve just recently defined this aspect of my brand and have much more to explore regarding it in the future.

Here’s an interesting article you should read – Why people focus on the right-hand side of a design taken from creativebloq.com.

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Relentless Beauty – Directing Art in Life

Hi everyone!

This post is being published a couple of weeks late. It sides like a dialogue or script between my negative and positive conscience. It also questions the personality of reality and the role of work impacting everyday life. Have a read and let me know what you think!

1

I am you.

We are masterpieces at work.

A masterpiece is considered to be a work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship. I am building something great in my brain, that might take 5-10 years to materialize, but for today…it is a matter of steps.

  1. TED Talk
  2. Meet some important CEOs (Microsoft, Facebook etc.)
  3. Have an annual income>$100,000.00

Step 1 – The Wait

This past year has been a period of unparalleled accomplishment and perseverance.

  1. Being able to write well – technically (analyses) and creatively (rationale)
  2. Upping my graphic design capabilities (still supporting MART)
  3. Identifying the BLOX brand (logos for example)

Step 2 – Past Reconciliation

Bell Bird / I walked away from my desk knowing it was over. And every time I returned, I resumed my role, but thought to myself quietly and strategically: 1 – you don’t allow me to be artistic or creative in a way that would generate an income; 2 – despite all my hard work and dedication, you haven’t allowed me to move forward or upward; and 3 – down to the date I left, you gave me the belief that I could achieve something bigger, better and huge.

Step 3 – Hiding

When I say there’s a solution, here’s why. My partner is the most realistic human being that has ever existed! He tells me; I should listen. Now, I’m trying to understand, again (in this moment of gratitude), WHY I have the NEED to reveal a few big secrets, but I won’t. I think it’s going to take a long while, you guys might as well grab some food.

Step 4 – Revelation

Chona: I am not realistic.

Daisy: I am the least realistic human being that has ever existed!

Chona Fe: I am so utterly unrealistic that I presume the world in a digital fashion and to me, it all makes sense.

Seventeen: And my unrealisticness bears unbreakable confidence and this leads me to believe that people already understand it, that other people exist in a digital fashion as well and that it is all working.

Steps, I said. Steps.

Step 5 – Fighting Back

Blox Bunny / Back at my desk, I am thinking again: when I left my former job, there was something inside of me that longed to escape. I was previously trapped in the mind of a realistic person! This does not satisfy me! I want it back! I belong in there. So, I started writing this blog and finally, I have a platform to voice my concerns, however all I want to do is write and that leads to my battle with time.

2

Young at heart.

Old in thought.

Step 6 – In the Past

It feels like more things have been given to me and I have spent a whole lot of time trying to decipher those things regularly. The pursuit seems futile. Is it? I experience true happiness when I am free to create, to express myself as I will. Just being is so strong.

Step 7 – Entrance

Chona begins to write feverishly on a notepad: the questions become – how does the audience receive these creations? But that is not a real question. The real question is, does it matter how they receive it? Wrong again. Once I release a creation into someone’s hands, or brain for that matter, is that it? Is that all that matters?

No, no, no!

Step 8 – The Return

We need to feel a reason to proceed with creating.

Step 9 – The End

I will get there, promise. And when all else fails, I did it for love and the beauty surrounding it.

3

A very dear friend of mine, Yenukwa Kombian, is the co-owner and facilitator of King of Hearts (a collective of men helping men). He shared a few quotes with me when I was feeling down and they really helped –

About struggling as an artist/entrepreneur

…being an artist/entrepreneur, grinding it out and never being recognized for your hard work. It talks a lot about giving up, letting go and even going into a dark hole that you feel stuck in. The line ‘Lose My Air’ is directly correlated with anxiety, and depression. Feeling overwhelmed and stuck in life. I think it’s so easy nowadays to compare ourselves to everyone around us, and that can be crippling. The one thing I have learned through all of this, is that everyone is on their own path, their own chapter of life and it’s extremely unfair to compare yourself to everyone around you. – Brandon Linkewich

About hustling aligning

Destroy the idea that you have to be constantly working or grinding in order to be successful. Embrace the concept that rest, recovery, and reflection are essential parts of the progress toward a successful and ultimately happy life.

About feeling behind in life

You’re not behind in life. There’s no schedule or timetable that we all must follow. It’s all made up. Wherever you are right now is exactly where you need to be. Seven billion people can’t do everything in exactly the same scheduled order. We are all different with a variety of needs and goals. Some get married early, some get married late, while others don’t get married at all. What is early? What is late? Compared with whom? Compared with what? Some want children, others don’t. Some want a career; others enjoy taking care of a house and children. Your life is not on anyone else’s schedule. Don’t beat yourself up for where you are right now. It’s YOUR timeline, not anyone else’s, and nothing is off schedule. – Emily Maroutian

And so, it should be said…

Has anything changed since last year? Are you more ahead of the game? Do I understand being HERE and NOW? Is there something standing in my way? Is it constructed or real? What is real anyway?

Revealing my true identity…

Instead of defining it as creating, writing, being artistic, it must be redefined as working. This mantra says it best – At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best, every day. That’s it. That’s all that matters!

I think somewhere on this blog I talk about losing my identity, then regaining it. It just isn’t as easy as that. As an artist, you can create a wonderful masterpiece and use it to build yourself up. But when you are done, you have to start all over again and this is a problem. It’s a similar thing building a social media presence. You can really use what’s out there to help support your vision or you can get lost in the confusion of trying to fit in (or out) with a trillion other ‘things’, plus being an open book for everyone one to read. The role of work is to harness these conditions. To take the experience and quantify or qualify it. To have a goal and to accomplish it, then to move on to the next task. Bell provided me with this motion, it just lacked the artistic/creative portion. This past year I have learned how to objectify my work and I am ready to apply these skills.

4

Please bring your trays to a tray return station. We’ll take care of the sorting, recycling and trash. To lower our environmental impact, nearly 90% of waste in the IKEA stores is sent for recycling or used for energy production. And we’re working hard to get to 100%.

IKEA’s founder Ingvar Kamprad thought along these lines, “To do business with a clear conscience is an attitude that pays. We have to find more time for ourselves and to regain respect for the environment in which we live.”

I agree and what if the sign instead read –

Please bring your brains to a brain return station. We’ll take care of the sorting, recycling and trash. To lower our environmental impact, nearly 90% of waste in the BLOX stores is sent for recycling or used for energy production. And we’re working hard to get to 100%.

The idea that the brain requires an actual vacation – with pay – connotes the modern (we’ve been modern for much too long) notion of a retreat. The IKEA restaurant works just great.

Conclusion – Digital Detox Works

Leave your devices at the door and have a seat with us in our cafe, er…restaurant. You really have to plow deep to comprehend your body visiting versus your mind walking in. That is how I think. Typically the thoughts are in motion, in my head and do not leave it. Case in point, there’s power in environment, yet I am denied, time and time again.

Hyper Conclusion – The Drive of Your Mind

It is incessant. Must be more positive. Must be HERE and NOW. Must trust, believe, have faith and most importantly, love.

It causes turbulence. Must convert to renewable energy. Big breakfasts. Netflix. Naps. Running.

1 day left until Halloween!

Yay!

ChonaBLOX Graphics

Hey everyone!

What a whirlwind of week it’s been!

Between studying like a madwoman and trying to maintain a consistent posting schedule, I’ve designed some quick, quirky graphics for various topics up on The ChonaBLOX Blog.

Right now, they are being shared across multiple platforms (remember, have you had your FILPTS today?) and I will present them in one swift punch once my colour scheme (rainbow, of course) has had its say.

I suppose it would be my most current body of work, should any amazing agencies in the air desire a digital marketer with an artistic penchant to boot!

For now, here’s a sample. A graphic designed today for my latest #girlstories post – her name is SABRINA and she is a…GHOST!

Check out her story as it relates to two other Elevententeen characters, Judge Judy (I know, and yes, on purpose) and Alice from Wonderland.

new #girlstories sabrina (1)

And last thing, two very important marketing terms that I’ve come across lately and seem to apply to my work – top of mind and evergreen. Here are a couple of simple definitions.

First, per Wikipedia –

In marketing, top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) refers to a brand or specific product being first in customers’ minds when thinking of a particular industry or category. … At the market level, top-of-mind awareness is more often defined as the “most remembered” or “most recalled” brand names.

And second –

Evergreen content is content that is always relevant – much like the way evergreen trees retain their leaves all year around. Interesting and relevant content that does not become dated is necessary in order to be found online by search engines (The Balance Careers).

As we enter the beginning of Q4 or reach the end of the year, I want to consider these definitions as they relate to my brand and marketing strategy. How have these terms applied to your business? Do you think they are relevant and does applying these concepts to your work produce less disparity between yourself and your audience? Let’s have a brainstorm!

Cheers y’all!

PS – Halloween is just around the corner, what are your plans?

PPS – FILPTS is a BLOX acronym standing for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter & Snapchat.

PPPS – I gotta up my Snapchat game! Any cool tips or tricks my friends?