SXSW from afar, Bold Brands, Doyald Young, and the bleeding edge of logo design

If you can’t be there I think Pepsi has the best resource for connecting you with the latest from SXSW Interactive. Also check out their zeitgeist which pulls in the feeds from Twitter, Flickr, Sched and Foursquare to show connections, happenings and mood in the moment. If you’re like me and not there, a few #UsGuys have organized a virtual mini conference. Join them at #usXsw this weekend. Either way, this is the happening event of the year for the digisphere. Thinking I’ll finally make the trek in 2012.

For the contrarian view on SXSW, check out Jonathan Salem Baskin who believes brands waste their money by going to what amounts to nothing more than a big tradeshow and ginormous party. Not that there’s anything wrong with a party. He simply doesn’t think it holds a ton of business value for large brands. It’ll be interesting to see how Pepsi measures their success!

Are you building a bold brand? Shaun Smith shares highlights from his new book on the practices for bold brands which outperform in their niches and continue innovating even through a global financial crisis and truly care about the customer experience. His research uncovered 8 key practices for these brands:

  1. Keep the main thing the main thing.
  2. Demonstrate zealous leadership.
  3. Engage in infectious communication.
  4. Dramatize the customer experience.
  5. Pursue wow.
  6. Create a cult–like culture.
  7. Develop rites and rituals.
  8. Measure what matters.

These are admirable traits and not for the fearful and uninspired. Probably explains why so few companies truly get it. Takes strong leadership, courage and a willingness to do things differently than the rest. Hence why they’re Bold. Add this to your reading list.

I had the opportunity to listen to and meet Doyald Young in 2005 when he came to Portland for a talk. I was moved at the time by his incredible attention to detail when it came to typography, and saddened to hear of his passing February 28th. Idgsn has a nice tribute – be sure to catch the documentary at He had an amazing ability to draw intricate type with precision like I’ve never seen. His appreciation for what well-crafted type can do to convey a message and mood suggests a time when craft really mattered. He bucked the trends in quick digital type and if you take nothing else away from his work, it’s that craft matters still. Perhaps even more as we strive to capture the attention of those that matter to our businesses and lives. And that craft should extend beyond type to the words you choose and the way you communicate them. Great type is a powerful communicator. Even if you’re not a type aficionado, spend a few minutes with Doyald’s work. “Decide who you are, decide what you want to do, and then do it, because it is surely possible.” A great quote relevant regardless of where technology takes us. I have his book Fonts and Logos – a rich labor of love and smile at the title of his last book on logo design: Dangerous Curves. Sums up his wit nicely.

Leave it the MIT Media Lab to push a logo way beyond the everyday mediocrity we see. They didn’t just animate their new logo, they created an algorithm that will create 40,000 permutations so each person has their own. Sound gimmicky? It’s not. When