Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Window Dressing

I miss the "old school" window displays especially this time of year. When I was groing up in Indianapolis we'd go downtown and I'd see these amazing mannequins and all the dressings the designers would come up with. Fortunately there are some stores that are around that still do that. I often travel to Columbus and in Short North there is an antique mall that does up their display windows so beautifully. For those who have missed out on such a thing, here are a few shots I've taken through the year.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Taking better candid shots.

I recently taught another digital photography workshop and the second most asked question behind. "How do I put my batteries in" was how can I compose my photography better? Here, in a nutshell, is what I told them that may help you out too this season:

Watch your lighting!
Hallways and small rooms will bounce light around, which can cause hardness of the flash. Look for high ceilings and stand farther away, like 3 to 4 feet from the wall behind you.

Don't pose subjects too much!
People look more relaxed and more importantly comfortable when they're engaged in activity. Anything that keeps their mind off you taking their picture is best.

Use your eyes!
Forget that your camera has a viewfinder and an LCD. Get everything in focus, then hold the cam in front of you and rely on your own sight. This lets your subjects warm up to you and helps you read their expressions.

Shoot first, ask questions later!
Be cool about finding that "perfect" shot while the camera is in your hands. Move around, get as many angles and takes of your subjects as possible. Click quick and click often.

That's why there is Photoshop!
Back at home, you can refine your raw material into a beautifully composed candid. Purists shun this software use as a kind of photographic half-truth; for the rest of us, there's Photoshop.

Keep it simple!
Avoid clutter in the shot. Less is more.

Be Cool In Public Places!
While in a public place, it's basically fine to photograph people. If they complain, you need to stop. If you're not sure, ask permission before hand. Your subject may be alright to pose, but explain what you saw them doing and ask them to continue as if you were invisible.

Go ahead – Try different angles, lighting and locations. Look at photos shot by others for inspiration.

Hope these tips make for a better photographic experience!

Googie Architecture: What I love to shoot!

I love finding bits of remaining architecture called Googie

For more shots I've taken of this wonderful, fading example of Americana go to my Flickr account!

In-Store display

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Happy Birthday MWD

This July will be my 13th year as Mark Wolfe Design. What a long strange trip it's been, but what a great one.

My clients have come and gone, some have changed to other design shops, etc., but for the most part I have a strong average of repeat clients that has kept me busy over these thirteen years. I'd like to thank them and all my friends who have supported me through peaks and valleys of stepping out on my own.

The ability to work with so many people from all over the U.S. has taught me many things; most important is service. Without the ability to provide my clients the maximum service out there, I might as well pack it in. I remain just as dedicated to being consistent, up-to-date and results oriented.

The next thirteen years will be just as challenging and rewarding, I'm sure. I'm proud to have served so many wonderful businesses and folks who believed in me!

Please stop by and see what MWD has been up to.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Wall Street Journal – Think Apple: It Boosts Creativity

Think Apple: It Boosts Creativity
Posted by Ben Worthen

You don’t need to be a Mac owner to be a cutting-edge hipster. Turns out just thinking about Apple can make you more creative.

Subconsciously seeing this will make you more creative
That’s according to researchers at Duke University and the University of Waterloo, who found that exposing people to a brand’s logo for 30 milliseconds will make them behave in ways associated with that brand. And in Apple’s case that means more creatively, Gavan Fitzsimons, one of the Duke professors who conducted the study, tells the Business Technology Blog. The study will be published in the April issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

Scientists have long debated whether subliminal messages, the idea that subconscious exposure can shape behavior, really work. In recent years, the consensus opinion has tended towards no. But most studies measured if subliminal messages caused people to buy products. Fitzsimons and his colleagues wondered if the exposure resulted in behavioral changes that don’t show up on the balance sheet.

To find out, they exposed subjects to imperceptible images of brand logos for Apple and IBM (as well as logos for other non-tech companies). Surveys found that people felt similarly about the two companies in every way except creativity, where Apple came out ahead, and competence, which was IBM’s perceived strength. After exposing them to the brands, the researchers asked subjects to describe as many uses for a brick as they could.

Most people mentioned a door stop or a paperweight. “But the subjects who had seen Apple’s logo also came up with uses like tying it around my roommate’s foot and throwing him in a deep pond,” Fitzsimons tells us. The Apple-primed subjects averaged 30% more answers and independent reviewers also deemed their answers as more creative. It’s harder to measure competence, but Fitzsimons says that IBM-primed subjects had strikingly uniform answers.

Does this mean that businesses wanting to inspire creativity or competence in a handful of areas should buy Macs or IBM equipment for their offices? (IBM sold its PC division to Lenovo while the study was in progress.) Fitzsimons isn’t ready to go that far: The key to shaping behavior is unconsciously planting the brand image.

Nonetheless, Fitzsimons replaced his Thinkpad with a Mac three months ago. “I figure I’ll be walking by it everyday and sometimes I’ll see it without thinking,” he tells us. “I felt like if I really believe this stuff, I should put my money where my mouth is.”

Friday, January 4, 2008

I like Type!

I love the old school hand painted signs that are fast disappearing from our streets. Here's a gem from Columbus, Ohio.