Aaron Dignan: Digital isn’t software, it’s a mindset

September 20th, 2014 No comments



Aaron Dignan: Digital Isn’t Software, It’s a Mindset



The most dominant companies, no matter the industry, are digital-first. Think Netflix over Blockbuster or iTunes over Tower Records. So how can we take advantage of this trend in our work and with our own projects?
Aaron Dignan walks us through how we can have the right mindset to thrive in the future: We need a purpose, a process to support it, the right people, and (most importantly) these need to combine to make products that serve a community larger than any employee or organization. Dignan shows off plenty of examples and tells us what to adopt for our own work. “When we look at the companies that are really dominating, this is what they are doing.”

Aaron Dignan ist CEO and founding partner of New York agency Undercurrent. Undercurrent continues from were McKinsey left of. They help ambitious teams and their organisations discover the courage and capabilities to do the impossible.




A commercial growth agenda

A linear process for reducing risk

Manager of competitive advantage

Built to last

Closed system for us to build on



A visionary growth agenda

An agile process for reducing risk

Makers of competitive advantage

Built to evolve

Open system for the world to build upon


Learn more.



Graphics standards in kindergarten clarity

September 14th, 2014 No comments



70's NYC Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual was a ring binderStandard ring binder for the graphics standards manual of 1970


NYC Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual



The keyword for design
is composed of the words
and clarity

What graphics designers strive for, reaches far beyond the extend of the New York subway system, into our time dominated by mobile devices and usability design. The rediscovery of not too simple simplicity is eating the world.

The 1970 NYC Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual, by Unimark’s Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda, reissued as a full-size book.. Kickstarter helps Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth get their project off the ground.








First person shooter tvc for Netherland’s Knab spelled backwards as bank

September 11th, 2014 No comments



first person shooter perspective

first person shooter perspective



This brilliant first person shooter commercial for Knab was created by Fitzroy.



If you give it your all, you expect the same from others. So why not from your bank?” Knab (‘bank’ spelled backwards) helps you to make the most of your money (with the pay off: “The bank that works for you” – freely translated).




Netherland’s bank is an exclusive online bank with no branches. This way energy is dedicated to online support across customers preferred media channels.
Most people spend all day starring at their screens either at the office, at home, or during their commute. So yes, services dedicated to online are obvious and make perfect sense.



Since the average bank-site is crap (with a capital C), Knab has an advantage here. Now we finally understand why we should switch to Knab.


The thumbnails make the first homepage you see below, appear clutter free. Visit the site for it’s intuitive user experience.
None of the three homepages makes use of responsive, theme based design off the shelf. Simple’s site looks and feels as though it was based on open source cms, we all have grown comfortable with from visiting blogs.

The web standard has not yet reached today’s popularity when these sites were built.



Banking websites by Simple,  Knab & Fidor.







Now we finally understand why Germans should switch to Fidor.

The German bank was first to offer peer-to-peer connectivity among its customers.
Numbrs, is no bank but an interesting application, made in Germany, capable of handling your fiscal needs, no matter what bank you are with and across several accounts with different banks.



Unlike Knab or Fidor, Simple was first to market with the convincing idea, that what we need is not a bank when we can have an app

What we need is banking not banks. Unlike numbrs, Simple is a bank and was first to market with an idea of how to build a business on a sensation of how banks and politics have failed us.



Apple Pay™

With Apple’s announcement of Apple Pay™, the theme of the game may change once more for both, banks and their counterparts listed here. Family run businesses, small businesses sadly excluded due to the assumed unprofitable expense of the electric receptor device.



It’s Official: America Has A New CTO via Eugene Kim

September 5th, 2014 Comments off



Megan Smith Source: Flickr

Megan Smith Source: Flickr



Megan Smith in familiar surrounding. Source: Flickr.

Megan Smith in familiar surrounding. Source: Flickr.



The White House made it official on Thursday that Megan Smith, the VP of Google’€™s secretive research lab Google X, will be America’€™s next Chief Technology Officer.

President Obama created the U.S. CTO position within the White House to help the government create more tech-related jobs and find better ways to use the internet for things like healthcare. Major Bloomberg has long appointed a Chief Digital Officer to help with promoting New York the digital capitol of America.

Read in full by Eugene Kim.



Serial failure turns out a public gain

September 3rd, 2014 Comments off

Judith Williams photo HSE shopping channel.

„The Lions Den“ produces – as do all casting shows – failure in serie. It’s Vox channel’s German version of ABC’s Shark Tank reality competition series. As audience, you learn from the failure of others and can distinguish what to dismiss and what to follow for your own business model while keeping a safe distance. There’s your gain.

Judith Williams photo HSE shopping channel.

Fellow-american lioness Judith Williams. Photo HSE shopping channel.



You are being evaluated or ignored. And it is on you to decide if you want to be self-sufficient or independent. The mission may be to completely rely on oneself rather. I wish for no partner and no investor—strategic partners yes, a mentor is welcome! I want to collaborate and do what it takes to be a powerful individual.

As audience of Vox tv you won’t leave this tv show any dumber, then when you switched on “Die Höhle der Löwen“. You gain insight and you may eventually reconsider you own walk of life. Judith Williams, Rural Öger, Jochen Schweizer, Frank Theken, Lenke Wischhusen, are the more agreeable jurors than your bank advisor.

TV Preview: Tom Shales on Mark Burnett’s ‘Shark Tank,’ Premiering Aug. 9 on ABC By Tom Shales



Quartz has a new look—and for the first time, a homepage

August 29th, 2014 Comments off



Zum ersten Mal eine homepage



Newsrooms take note, Quartz the digital native newscast for the global economy now has a homepage. Sort of. A brief replaces the homepage, their morning brief with for the global economy relevant stuff. They don’t start with why but with a brief in real time for all devices in use today.



Quartz's audience grows since launch



Quartz is digital native rather than relying on being a descendant of the Atlantic. It sports no paper edition and won’t manage digital on the side. Perhaps what they don’t do is as important or more important than what they do. A paper issue wastes a lot of energy without profitable proof. Lack of advertising fund make paper based newsrooms shut down. There will be a better time for paper. Promise.

The focus remains on banner free advertising. High quality advertising as the stories that come form their newsroom. Quartz designers have a love for usability. They get rid of stuff that was seldom used. Their award-winning design gets better with more white space on tablets and PCs. Quartz experiments with new stuff. Pullquotes within the content rather than comments at the end of each story…

Read in full by Zachary M. Seward







Zara pulls striped ‘sheriff’ shirt after holocaust outrage

August 28th, 2014 Comments off



Zaras umstrittenes „Sheriff“ Hemd

Zara’s disputed ‘Sheriff’ T.



People are paying attention and they love to share what consumes them. Remember when you were a kid, how urgently you wanted to share your discoveries immediately. You wanted your father and mother to see what you had found. With the event of social media the supporting technology for sharing became publicly available. That changed everything. Again.

The recent children’s shirt uproar demonstrates the effect and efficiency of sharing.

Someone discovered a children’s shirt. And found its display of a classic American western sheriff badge on a striped t-shirt, a potential similarity with the Star of David. A curiosity that was then shared on social media. In consequence the shirt manufacturer removes the kid’s t-shirt.





What is happening here is not a conversation, it is no dialogue. It is a message sent of relevance to others that was shared.

Nothing new to you. An inevitable development has taken us for nearly 20 years into the early 21. century.



  1. The motivation is sharing.
  2. The cause is technological progress.
  3. The out-take is self-actualisation.

Read in full by Asa Bennett.



The world has never been this incomplete

August 27th, 2014 Comments off

Craftmanship, the economy next door.



The world has never before been so incomplete. Lend a hand. Agency: Heimat Berlin




True, the world had never been this incomplete. Europe is now accepting transformation to take place. Moving Europe from an industrial to an information age as part of the global transformation. True also, it is happening with a 15 year delay. Now that business and marketing is accepting the transformation to be of relevance to their audiences. They failed to accept how radical it is. It reaches every corner of people’s lives. It changes people’s customs, even their relationships. Myths get busted en masse. Production of school books become invalid with the drying of the ink.

It so happens that Scholz + Friends, creator of the top transformer-campaign, get stuck mid way. Visual elements are unmistaken 70′s design. In the early 21. century, creatives are seeking a new aesthetic (NA) to mark the time. The website fails to accept the global open web standard. Alas, like almost all German websites it makes use of content management system built for developers not users. The web standard caters to the user managing the site not developers. An accidental misunderstanding of the internet craftsmanship.

The second film shown above is by new incumbent Heimat agency in Berlin. Masters of ceremony and the one German agency to watch closely. I bet they made use of the crap typography for political reasons rather than healthy creative reasoning.



Men, women & children

August 25th, 2014 Comments off




Jason Reitman
Kaitlyn Dever, Rosemaire DeWitt, Ansel Elgort, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Dean Norris, Adam Sandler



Men, Women & Children follows the story of a group of high school teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives. The film attempts to stare down social issues such as video game culture, anorexia, infidelity, fame-hunting, and the proliferation of illicit material on the internet. As each character and each relationship is tested, we are shown the variety of roads people choose – some tragic, some hopeful – as it becomes clear that no one is immune to this enormous social change that has come through our phones, our tablets, and our computers.



Leica T

August 23rd, 2014 Comments off



Leica T. Photo by Andrew Kim

Foto Andrew Kim.



Leica T. Photo by Andrew Kim



This is great. Andrew Kim has shared an -as to be expected- stellar photo documentary about the Leica T, with impressive photos shot with the T.

Leica has been historically bad at software so it’s been quite ambitious to create something that is so software heavy. It’s no surprise that Andrew noticed a number of software bugs with the T.

The service desert the German design nation was once mocked for has silently moved into digital.

That said, the T is a camera worthy of the Leica name and rare product with which to look ahead, rather than all the nostalgic products around usthat take us backwards and that Andrew much like myself is sick and tired of. The T is priced significantly higher than you’d expect and it’s documentation is highly recommended for all photo fans, especially Petra with her iconic Bavarian food blog and her step photos taken with a less capable Leica.



So many products lack of focus and an opinion today and respect for the craftsman has been replaced with a chase of fads. There are so many craftsman that I see everyday, with the potential of making masterpieces. But we are all reduced to making more of less rather than more with less.

Read in full.
Leica T highlights at a glance