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Design has the power to influence our core values, our identity, our expectations and our worldview. Design brings clarity and enhances meaning. – Design Week Vancouver

If design has power how can it be measured?  Does this influence extend into the online community?
The other day I found a local design company online called ‘Seven25. Design & Topography.’ with a limited social media presence. My initial impression of Seven25 is that it does create real power through art and it did influence me through its design portfolio. But I found them….why is Seven25, with a Twitter account, Facebook page, and Design Influence blog not able to connect with the rest of us? With 214 likes on FB, 1,315 followers on Twitter and a blog full of content that I found by accident it doesn’t seem like Seven25 is successfully integrating their offline presence into our online domain.
An interesting side note: besides designing incredible advertising materials Seven25 offers clients expert services in Strategy + Planning in the form of “outlining a plan of action” and Craft + Execution in the form of “broadcasting to the right audience”. This can all be found on the Studio page of the website.
Following my earlier train of thought my next questions are: who is the right online audience for Seven25? And what action should the company take to find this audience?

Seven25 - "Bike to Work Week" for VACC

Before I make an assessment of Seven25’s online presence I want to take a few lines to introduce you to the company and their design influence.  At Seven25 “it’s a passion thing.” They are “passionate people with a passion for working with passionate organizations to make audiences as passionate about great causes as [they] are.” This Vancouver multidisciplinary design
consultancy for not for profits and cultural organizations is led by Creative Director Isabelle Swiderski. The company’s design success is based on a not-so-secret recipe for progress: “From planning the perfect strategy, to creating great content, to getting said great content out into the world, [they] handle it all.”  

Seven25 - "Dining out for Life" for Friends for Life a Loving Spoonful

Social media testing “is the process by which you expose your campaign to a representative sample of your potential audience” (Stewart, 2001, p. 92). SM testing is designed to collect data aimed at improving market executions and maximizing a return on investments. The most effective social media testing occurs while conducting a campaign by playing around with various techniques. Why am I interested in performing a (very basic) social media test on Seven25? Because the information I gather will help the company decide: where to allocate resources (eg. what platforms to use, how much time to spend); how to increase exposure within the social media space; how to facilitate audience engagement; and how to strengthen relationships with existing followers.

Seven25 - "Canadian Payments Association" for CPA

As I noted earlier Seven25 has a FB page, Twitter and blog. The FB page is updated on a semi-regular monthly basis with several months going by without any new content. The posts are focused on self-promotion, related news stories and in-house information pieces. There is no engagement from fans beyond occasional “likes” and Seven25 does little to start conversations. It takes more than posting quality material to get people to notice you. Something to consider: if you are not actively participating in online communities why should they care about you? Building relationships online are important and you can’t sit back and wait for people to come to you. It’s up to Seven25 to seek out their audience in other places than their website and social media
platforms. If your target audience likes design what else may they like? How can you access these places? What can you contribute to the community that will make your target audience participate with your platform(s)? With only 214 “likes” and one person talking about Seven25 on FB I suggest they either ramp up their participation and engagement or pack it in. There is no reason to be putting effort into an activity that does not fit with your brand or enhance your business. It’s OK to deactivate a FB page if it’s not working out and try something different (just because everyone uses it does not mean you have to as well).
The two other platforms used by Seven25 are more successful. The Design Influence blog features case studies, tips and resources to leverage the power of design specifically in the context of social change. The goal of the blog is to “engage in discussions around the role design thinking can have on examining issues we face and reimagining our way of living.” I think the blog flows with the company personality and typography and the journalistic content places Seven25 as an expert in their field–a trusted and valued resource for followers and potential clients. The idea of being an expert is key to social media success and something that is difficult to generate. Knowing that your product or service is the best is much different from others knowing this and trusting your opinions. If Seven25 can establish itself as a leader in design and socially conscious thinkers across all social media endeavours they will be ahead of the competition. Using the Twitter account to its full potential will help them achieve this goal. The account is regularly updated with the majority of the tweets linking to the blog content. A continued and focused effort directing these tweets to people who would be interested in them and engaging with tweets that are related to Seven25’s company values will further establish online presence and integrate offline successes.

Seven25 - "LOUD" for LOUD Foundation

The work created by Seven25 is original and pushes boundaries. Their social media presence should do the same. Instead of FB I would suggest platforms that better reflect the Seven25 personality. Take Pinterest or Instagram for example. Both of these sites are about sharing visually appealing photos and images. Design elements are very popular and entire pinboards and profiles are dedicated to posters, books, and photography. The visual content created on Seven25 and uploaded on their website is perfect for these platforms. Seven25 also provides loads of quality articles, news stories, and professional advice on the site and blog. This type of journalistic content would fit right in with platforms like Digg and Reddit. One last thing to consider: if Seven25 is going to continue with a social media presence then the platforms should always be apparent on the website and blog. There is no point putting effort into something that isn’t well connected to a main hub of information. All platforms should be visible with feeds and badges so they are one click away from the main website. 
That is it for now. Time to stretch my legs and give my eyes and fingers a break. Until next time.
Be inspired. Be colourful. Be happy.
-M
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It’s a another rainy Sunday and I feel the urge to write down a few thoughts to help push away the damp fog gathering outside the window. On this dreary Sunday the colour of the rain and sky is much more grey then shades of refreshing blue. 

This weather has put me in a very contemplative mood. Who am I? How do I feel today? What do you think of me? 

I like to think that I am an optimist. Although, trying to look at the bright side of things can sometimes stress a person out. I like to be whimsical and carefree at my best moments. I don’t see the world as black and white, but as a constantly evolving colour wheel. I live to love, laugh, and experience. I enjoy reading Architectural Digest, Veranda, Trends, Florida Design, and Apartment Therapy. I also have a habit of wandering around my neighbourhood enjoying the different houses, paints, and textures that make up the lives of my neighbours. It’s a great way to get to know the people around you without knocking on their door with baked goods or wine. 

What does my house say about me? I like to think the pink-coloured front door says I’m spunky and/or eccentric, that the white trim and blue paint shows I have a good eye for contrasts, and the inside decor is a showcase of the family and friends I hold dear. Most of all, I like to think that my living space is an example of two happy people who have come together and made a home. Its an odd mixture of colourful momentos from my trips around the world and my partner’s manly furniture pieces. There are a few silly things he would not get rid of–like a pirate flag that now hangs from the shower curtain. But compromise is not a bad thing–its all about accepting people for who they are and what they like and making room for those differences. 

A Home Song

by Henry Van Dyke

I read within a poet’s book 
A word that starred the page:
“Stone walls do not a prison make, 
Nor iron bars a cage!” 
Yes, that is true; and something more
You’ll find, where’er you roam,
That marble floors and gilded walls
Can never make a home. 
But every house where Love abides,
And Friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home-sweet-home:
For there the heart can rest.

What does your home say about you?  Feel free to share photos of your living space with me. I think it would make for a great conversation on the designs that structure our lives. Until next time!

Be inspired. Be colourful. Be happy.

-M

Eastern Design

Beauty can be found in bright and lively colour schemes…

Today the sky rained these colours…

Design Your Mantra

Enjoy this thought…

“Transparency – I see a cloth slightly moving in the mirror between light and shade. You can see through it – no, you can guess what is lying behind and you give free rein to your imagination. Your own stories mix with the silhouette concealed behind. Transparency stimulates. There are transparent faces which can be incredibly fascinating. Transparency encourages us to raise questions and to search for answers. If transparency promotes knowledge, it has to be the knowledge that secrets exist”.
– Jana Caniga, manager of cultural and social affairs, Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund

What does transparency look like in the world of social media? I have been asking myself this question all week. Transparency can be defined as the “degree to which a company shares its leaders, employees, values, culture, strategy, business processes and the results of those processes with its publics. It’s the opposite of opacity, in which companies operate behind closed doors and shuttered windows” (Shel Holz). Social media transparency means that users, like myself, should focus on building relationships with our online community rather than creating content with the sole purpose of  promoting a business or my personal brand. If social media etiquette is considered and the available tools used effectively the formerly hidden private sphere should be laid open to the public eye–for comment, collaboration, and criticism.

What does transparency look like on colouryourfancy? Visually, it looks a lot like this…

  Don’t get things twisted! I’m not letting you into my bedroom per say but I am keeping things open and honest. If you have a question – ask it; if you have comments about my blog – post it; or if you are a fellow design enthusiast – share your passion with me. If transparency is the key to social media success then I will be colouring this fancy with clarity and a focus on building online relationships.

– M

References

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/kekkila-garden-prefab-garden-shed-turned-backyard-retreatanthology-164599

http://thiscenturysreview.com/THE_TERRIFYING_BEAU.theterrifyingbeaut.0.html

http://bene.com/office-furniture/was-bedeutet-transparenz-fuer-sie.html

http://pr.typepad.com/pr_communications/2010/02/opinions-social-media-agency-transparency.html


Good Evening,

Please enjoy a few late night ramblings from a newcomer to the WordPress community.

Writing in a journal or diary has always been a way to collect our thoughts, reminisce over our day, recall our memories,  and jot down a secret or two. Well here is my secret……I have an unspoken love for architecture and interior design.

I think I get it from my mother who hoards glossy magazines filled with spacious homes, breathtaking views and perfectly assembled rooms. Or my father who is a general contractor. Either way it’s in my blood and I can’t walk down the street or enter someones home without making note of stylish elements and commanding structures. Thus, I’ve taken to this online forum to let loose my creative passion and fill my blog with colour, fancy, and design.

I hope you enjoy my secret, which is not so secret anymore.

Till next time,

-M