STARMEN Wins Summit International Awards’ Platinum for Marketing Effectiveness

 

We’re deeply honored to have won Summit International Awards’ Platinum for Marketing Effectiveness in the website category for our branding of Anoush Catering, Southern California’s premier Mediterranean caterer.


STARMEN Awarded IMA Best In Class For “Live Your Luxury” Campaign

 

We feel extremely honored to have won the 2014 Interactive Media Award’s™ Best In Class Real Estate category for the website and video created for Linda May Properties. Entries were judged by an impressive lineup of IMC members and submissions were scored for their usability, feature functionality, content, aesthetics, and cross-browser compatibility. The Best In Class title is only awarded to contenders that receive a close to perfect score on every scale.


STARMEN takes home the Gold Hermes Creative Award

 

Client satisfaction is our gold standard, but earning notoriety in a competitive award category, feels one of a kind. We are honored to be a recipient of The Gold Award by Hermes Creative Awards as voted by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.


Turn On The Telly: STARMEN Brings Home Two Trophies For Promotional Branding And Cause Marketing Video

 

The start of 2014 brought a wave of accomplishments at STARMEN. We’re happy to share that we’ve won two Telly Awards, in the Best Promotional Branding and Cause Marketing categories.


Don’t Have to Invest a Million for a Commercial

 

Adweek.com
Photo credit: Adweek.com

When it comes to getting your brands message across to a lot of people, most jump to the first thought: “we need a lot of money.” Why do you need a lot of money? “To do something really cool.”

Today, not the case. Brands are moving and moving fast. Your content is being seen on Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, and wherever else Google can find in a simple search. Most of it, your brand isn’t even producing. So your message is now being retold by your customers, and remember it’s not what you say your brand is, but what they say your brand is.


Awarded Best In Class at the Interactive Media Awards

 

Awarded Best In Class at the Interactive Media Awards

Creating award-winning work is always our goal here at STARMEN, but when two of our clients, Hampton Inn and Discover Your Path, each earned a distinguished accolade in the Interactive Media Awards we were particularly excited. Both organizations launched a revitalized website to highlight their refreshed brand identity, and we’re so glad to have been involved.


Our Top 5 Resolutions for 2014

 

2014 Resolutions

There was no question that our team would table key resolutions during our new year kick-off meeting. What made this year particularly interesting is that we decided to take it a step further and go public! Some may call it a risk but hey, we like risks that have a team of winners supporting them on every level. To show our commitment, we wanted to share our top 5 resolutions with you. 


Read Our Top 5 Resolutions!


Season's Greetings from your Creative Partners!

 

Happy Holidays

Here's to a prosperous 2014 - Happy Holidays from your Creative Partners!

As 2013 comes to an end, we wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who helped make it our best year yet. Amidst lots of exciting changes, we owe gratitude to the people who were a part of the company evolution - our clients and internal team. We look forward to welcoming in the new year together and wish you and your loved ones a Happy Holiday!


Creative Versatility Shines As STARMEN Wins Three Silver Awards at Two International Competitions

 


Our Story Featured In The Los Angeles Business Journal

 

Our Story Featured In The Los Angeles Business Journal

MARKETING: STARMEN ditches fixed-rate jobs for retainer relationships.

Story by Subrina Hudson, Staff Writer

Armen David was working at his father’s Sun Valley shoe manufacturing business when he hired his friend Anthony Wiktor to help design the company’s brochures and fliers. David quickly decided the two should branch out and start their own marketing firm, STARMEN Design Group Inc. in Hollywood. They sold their services to family and friends – even door to door – mostly designing business cards and direct mail. Then one day, only three months in, they got a call...


Who approved that? The top 5 cringe-worthy marketing mishaps

 

Who approved that? The top 5 cringe-worthy marketing mishaps

Whether you're driving to work, flipping through the radio, surfing the web, or watching the latest Breaking Bad, it's impossible to escape a barrage of advertisements.

They're everywhere- billboards, bus stops, park benches, FM airwaves, the top of your computer screen, and in between your favorite shows. With such an overwhelming amount of ads whizzing by us, it's become increasingly more difficult to "cut through the clutter." 

So what's the solution? Keep reading for more...


Re/VISION: A Night Of Celebrating New Ideas

 

Re/VISION: A Night Of Celebrating New Ideas

Since our office is located in Hollywood, we're aware that you don't always need an excuse to party. But sometimes you have a solid reason to celebrate, and here at STARMEN, we certainly do.

After scoring over 12 design awards this year, we wanted to pause and thank the people who made it all possible- our clients and creative team. Their support allows us to do what we love and take risks. To show our appreciation, we hosted a private event for a night of Re/VISION - a chance to celebrate the past and preview our future with the people who matter most.

Keep reading to see our remodeled office.


Increasing Our Altitude: 2 Wins On The Summit

 

Increasing Our Altitude: 2 Wins On The Summit

As our team here at STARMEN grows, so does our awards list; we recently received 2 trophies from the 19th Annual Summit Awards.

This year, the Summit Awards received entries from over 50 countries across 5 continents. The competition is geared toward smaller and mid-size agencies that produce great work but are normally overshadowed by large companies with significant budgets. The Summit Awards gives smaller agencies a chance to earn some deserved recognition among their industry peers.

Submissions were judged on concept and execution in design, broadcast, and interactive media by judging panels comprised of industry professionals from across the globe. Judges included entities like Wieden & Kennedy, Tribal DDB, Grey Advertising, TBWA/Chiat/Day, Y&R, The Art Institute, New York University, Leo Burnett, Ogilvy & Mather, Saatchi & Saatchi.

Keep reading to see the winners...


The New SEO is Human Engagement

 

The New SEO is Human Engagement

Just as everyone figured out the mechanics of SEO, everything changed. Here's what you need to know.

Google and other search engines have been updating the way they find the best results for queries. As the biggest name in the game, Google has pioneered the way with two major algorithm updates: Panda and Penguin.

What was once acceptable can now destroy a business’ reputation. Under the changes, websites are being punished for catering to the search engine instead of to their audience’s wants and needs. Overall, Panda and Penguin target websites that churn out thin content, spam backlinks, practice keyword stuffing or hidden text, steal content, and enact a number of other frowned upon SEO techniques. 

The Panda and Penguin updates give the illusion that Google is making big changes in the digital realm, but in reality these updates are just part of a larger trend. Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, and the increasing popularity of handheld devices have changed the way people find, share, and discuss information. To stay relevant, businesses need to publish interesting content regularly and share it through social media. By doing so, the same businesses will also find that Google’s new rules for SEO will be met naturally. And, that is exactly the goal. 


STARMEN Scores 7 Trophies from International Marketing Competition Communicator Awards

 

STARMEN Scores 7 Trophies from International Marketing Competition Communicator Awards

It’s been a warm summer and things are hot over here at STARMEN. Right on the heels of the Horizon Awards, we cleaned up with some serious hardware in the 19th annual Communicator Awards! The competition receives entries from both small and large agencies and creative firms from all over the globe. Self touted as the “the largest and most competitive awards program honoring creative excellence among communications professionals,” the Communicator Awards received over 6,000 entries this year. Winners were chosen based on quality of the entry, regardless of company or agency size and project budget.

The competition is overseen and judged by the International Academy of Visual Arts, an exclusive organization comprised of 600+ executives from marketing, advertising and media firms. IAVA members include professionals from Conde Nast, Coach, Disney, MTV Networks, Sotheby's Institute of Art, Time, Inc, Victoria's Secret, Wired, and Yahoo. Another detail about the awards competition that caught our eye was the fact that the trophies are made by RS Owens, the company that produces the Oscar and Emmy awards.

We were also psyched to see our integrated design efforts score some recognition. We won silver trophies for corporate identity, in the logo and package design categories, as well as brochure design. Creatively designed touchpoints like packaging and brochures help make brands more memorable, and it’s great that both our interactive and traditional branding efforts earned a spot on our growing list of award-winning achievements.

Read more to see the winners!


STARMEN Earns Multiple Wins from Horizon Interactive Awards

 

STARMEN Earns Multiple Wins from Horizon Interactive Awards

After winding down an exciting 2012 with 12 trophies from the W3 Awards and Davey Awards, we are gearing up for summer on a bright note. We took home 4 wins from the 11th annual Horizon Interactive Awards! The international competition was created to recognize excellence in the interactive media field.  This year, there was some tough competition, as the Horizon Awards received thousands of submissions from nearly all 50 states and 25 countries. 

We’re particularly thrilled about this recognition, not just because the statuettes are shiny and handsome, but because this competition embraces a unique approach to judging. The panelists aren’t just design experts — they’re our peers, other digital media professionals, with varying skillsets and capabilities. In addition to an end-user panel, the judging crew included Creative Directors Chris Nation of Hitcents and Flavio Masson of 10012.com. That meant the designs couldn’t just look nice, they had to function well and with purpose. Here at STARMEN, we always consider functionality during the creation process. Aesthetics are meaningless unless they offer a creative and strategic solution.

Keep reading to see the winners...


Our Creative Director Anthony Wiktor in Web Designer Magazine's "Hot 100"

 

web designer hot 100 trends

STARMEN's award-winning Creative Director, Anthony Wiktor, is featured as an 'industry expert' in Web Designer Magazine’s Hot 100 issue (#205), which is currently on newsstands this month. Anthony is featured alongside industry giants such as Eric Meyer, Andy Budd, and Patrick Van Kann. The article features experts chiming in on 2013′s hottest web trends, tools and talent.

Anthony shared his thoughts and insights on which web design tools and trends to look for in 2013, including an awesome boilerplate for responsive, mobile-friendly framework called, Skeleton and the emerging popularity of 'parallax' design.

About Web Designer Magazine

Web Designer is the flagship publication for international web creatives, offering expert project-based tutorials across modern disciplines such as HTML, CSS, jQuery, Flash, Photoshop, WordPress blogging and mobile apps. Accessible to hobbyists and professionals of all skill levels, the content is constantly informed by agency profiles, breaking stories and cutting-edge trends. Each issue features a CD packed with invaluable design resources and project files for the tutorials in the magazine. Give your latest website the perfect start with the ultimate design mag for the web professional.


Creative Director Anthony Wiktor Featured In Adonit's New "Create" Campaign

 

Through their "Create" campaign, Adonit, a cutting edge consumer creative-technology start-up, is redefining the way we think of "creators." By assembling a group of leading artists, designers, engineers, writers, educators and entrepreneurs, Adonit is seeking to highlight how people across the creative spectrum are using technology to expand productivity and creation in their respective crafts.


STARMEN Wins 6 Web Design Awards!

 

What an honor! We're excited to share that we've taken home 2 Gold Awards and 4 Silver Awards from the 7th Annual W3 Award Competition!

Check out the winners inside!


Armen David speaks as panelist at AIGA's Professional Series

 

The sold-out Professional Series talk, ‘The Importance of Studio Culture & Identity,’ was held at Continuum’s work-space in Venice Beach. Bringing together Armen David, Braven Greenelsh, Candice Brokeshire, and Michael Stinson, and moderated by Eduardo Braniff, CEO of Imagination the Americas.

Continue below to see photos from the event!


Designing for YouTube: DISH International

 

We were excited to be a part of DISH International's social media initiative by developing and launching a series of branded YouTube channels to target their long list of language communities. The channel includes a custom video slider, drop down menus and custom banner feature. DISH Filipino, the first of DISH International's channels we worked on can be seen here live on YouTube.

Click below to see our design for DISH International...


The End of An Era...

 

The inevitable as arrived... and with it, an end of an era too. As Apple's creative visionary, Steve Jobs steps down as "leader" a sense of loss is felt throughout the 'tech' world and more importantly the business world. The man who has pioneered so much innovation and ideation that fundamentally changed the way we live, has also been credited with rising a struggling computer company from near bankruptcy to become the world's most valuable company. Now it has come to end, and for that... we can't say anything more than Thank You.

Steve himself published the following letter:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple's brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

    -Steve

UPDATE: Gizmodo.com just published this awesome timeline of 'The Life of Steve Jobs - So Far' great read!


TIME Reveals The Iconic 'X' Cover

 

Osama Bin Laden 'X' Factor TIME Magazine Cover

Ad Age confirms that TIME Magazine will continue tradition and run a special edition of its iconic 'X' cover, marking the demise of Osama bin Laden. (illustration by Tim O'Brien)

Time magazine has rushed together a special Osama bin Laden death issue that’s set to hit newsstands on Thursday. The symbolic red X has been used to denote deaths of past leaders like Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein on previous issues. Time.com

As news spreads, social and traditional media unite. 
A look at how New Media and Old Media are brainstorming inventive ways to package together breaking news information about bin Laden. AdAge.com

Twitter explodes, can it keep up?
How Twitter helped speed up the news process alerting the masses about Osama bin Laden’s assassination. Forbes.com

Here's a look back at TIME magazine's use of the "X" cover.

For more stories and pictures of Time covers past and present, read SPD.com's Thinking Inside the (Red) Box category.

BUY THE TIME SPECIAL ISSUE HERE.


New Year, New Face

 

STARMEN on Facebook

We're making the most out of Facebook and sharing the experience with you! Check out our new Facebook page and see how we've made it easy to engage with us by using custom applications that allow us to connect with our friends, showcase our talents, and share our thoughts in more ways than you can imagine.

Join us on Facebook!

Make sure to 'Like' our page, we know you'll love it!


Naked Juice: Good Sustainable Packaging

 

New Naked Juice Redesign Bottles

A Recycling Revolution - All Naked Juice Flavors Now Available In New reNEWabottle® Packaging

Naked Juice initially unveiled the reNEWabottle in 2009 for its 32-oz. bottles—the first nationally distributed beverage to do so. The reNEWabottle, also known as rPET (renewable polyethylene terephthalate),is made of 100% post-consumer recycled content. These PET bottles are plastic coded #1, which is easily recycled and clear—showing off the vibrant juice inside. This seems to be the new responsible trend in design which other brands have been incorporating into their packaging.

The transition to the reNEWabottle helps Naked Juice to reduce its overall carbon footprint and will save more than 12,000 cubic meters of space in landfills. Using recycled bottles instead of virgin PET will also reduce the bottle’s greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent, the equivalent of saving more than 500,000 gallons of gas a year.

Every Bottle Counts

1 MILLION

Pounds per year, reducing virgin plastic consumption

8,192 BARRELS

Oil saved per year (equivalent of taking 497 cars off of the road)

When Naked Juice finishes transitioning its entire line, virgin plastic consumption will be reduced by 8.1 million pounds per year, saving 57,000 barrels of oil every year—the equivalent of taking 3,460 cars off of the road.

To learn more about the Naked Juice reNEWabottle visit www.nakedjuice.com


Gap can change its logo, but not its brand!

 

gap new logo before and after comparison

Let it be known, I'm not one to jump on 'bandwagons', whether it's politics, celebrity gossip, sports, or even in business. But I'm all aboard the latest bandwagon traveling along Gap's crossroads to logo disaster. It's widely been referred to as the 'Gapgate' controversy,  a questionable attempt by the company at designing a new logo and an even more tasteless approach at trying to market it. There has been way too much recent attention around the new Gap logo that I actually feel comfortable speaking my mind about it because unlike Gap's story, there's a happy ending here. Yes, keep reading and you'll see I offer a solution to this visual problem.

To much of my shocking surprise, I first came across the new logo while reading my favorite design blog 'FastCoDesign.com' where one designer so aptly recreated the Laird + Partners version of the logo in all of 3 minutes and retitled it, "Crap".

Before I critique the logo, I want to point out that one of my first jobs was working at the Gap and working in such a corporate environment with such good control over its brand propelled me into marketing and design. While working as an Old Navy and Gap associate I particularly became a fan of how Gap was able to engage and sustain a 'loyal audience' by constantly staying fresh in all aspects of their brand (fashion, marketing, advertising, etc.) Unfortunately this hasn't been the case over the past few years, revenue at Gap stores (including Old Navy and Banana Republic) have been declining (-8% in 2009). Pinpointing the problem by blaming 'The Economy' would be foolish. The Gap has a bigger problem, and it's not their logo... it's their brand.

A Brand Panic Move

One of my motto's is, "Your logo is not your brand!" This is a message we at STARMEN communicate to our clients all the time. But it seems Gap didn't listen, they officially rolled out their new logo last week, that came off more as a panic move, than it did with any real design thinking. Some credit this sudden change as a response to their declining sales, but as Abe Sauer from Brandchannel explained, "the brand decide[d] to change the one valuable element it has going for it." Changing the logo makes this obvious because it's the most recognizable thing the customers sees, but doesn't feel. A typical mistake most high-profile brands make in an effort to make a valuable 'change'. Just ask Pepsi how they feel about the whole Tropicana mess. With very notable brands, a complete brand identity redesign or even just a change to the logo can be the hardest task for any design firm, if not done right. Laird + Partners has done some great work for Gap in years past, and if the result improved the former, this probably wouldn't have been an issue.

Louise Callagy, a Gap spokeswoman, explained the new logo was intended to be the latest "evolution" for the brand and added that this was in the works for the last two years. Callagy explains "[the new logo] is more contemporary and current and honors the heritage of the Gap brand, but takes the blue box forward." Ehh... I don't think so... I'm sorry maybe back in 1965 but not today, there's absolutely nothing new about using the typeface Helvetica, just ask Eric Spiekermann. Simply typing Helvetica font over the former iconic blue box with a default gradient to offset the contrast of the black and blue is not the way to "take the brand forward" nor "honor the heritage".

We have a solution...

new gap logo identity concept

We at STARMEN came up with a relatively realistic solution for Gap. In honor of this 'heritage' Gap so greatly expresses, we found it easy to reflect on the first Gap logo and store back in 1969 and found a new way of embracing Gap's original essence with a more contemporary approach, something with similar mainstream flexibility as seen in MTV's new logo redesign. Rather than just an 'add-on' approach, this logo becomes more 'integrated' with the brand campaign, allowing the Gap to align its brand initiatives with its loyal customers. Rather than simply placing the retro typeface proportionally in the center of the iconic square shape, we more dramatically enlarged it to bleed over the edges. The clean, bold and organic lowercase font gives Gap a fresh new energy that's friendly and inviting. Our approach gives the logo opportunity to fuse the distinctive Gap imagery and the square shape, showing the flexibility of the new branding. So, what do you think of our alternative? More importantly, what do you think of Gap's perspective? We want to hear your thoughts... and we'd love to hear from you Gap!

Also stayed tuned to our blog later in the week, to hear what I think about another Helvetica logo redesign nightmare another popular company is trying...

UPDATE: By no means, are we saying that the above solution, is 'the solution'... we all understand that there is a deeper problem with Gap, and it's not just their logo, but rather their brand. However being neurotic creatives we couldn't help but offer our version of what we think their identity could be. Thanks for all the feedback, we hope you this will be a case study for brands to come!

As most of you know by now, Gap pulled the logo just as quickly as it put it up (overnight). There probably won't be much long-term damage to the brand, but we all hope that Gap will know how to approach the whole brand identity redesign, more hollistically, focusing on the brand itself and not just the logo.


New Twitter Based on the Golden Ratio

 

new twitter design based on the golden ratio

Check out the above picture from Twitter's Creative Director Doug Bowman, found on Twitter’s Flickr page. According to the caption: “To anyone curious about #NewTwitter proportions, know that we didn’t leave those ratios to chance. This, of course, only applies to the narrowest version of the UI. If your browser window is wider, your details pane will expand to provide greater utility, throwing off these proportions. But the narrowest width shows where we started, ratio-wise."

Personally, I think it's a much needed improvement. The new design takes the previous singular microblog layout to a whole new user-friendly multi-column UI giving tweeties a webpage similar to other social networks. As Mashable's Jennifer Van Grove pointed out, "The new Twitter is essentially a full-featured desktop application minus the download." Does this mean goodbye for popular desktop clients such as TweetDeck and Seesmic? What do you think of the new Twitter design?

We also hope that the recent update has solved Twitter overload.


Our Executive Director's New TV Spot!

 

Watch STARMEN's Executive Director in a new TV commercial promoting Woodbury University's MBA Program.

Woodbury MBA Alumni and STARMEN's Executive Director Armen David, was recently asked to star in an Alumni testimonial to air on local networks in the Los Angeles region, promoting Woodbury University's MBA program.

Woodbury has a great MBA program, it prepared me for the leadership skills needed to run a successful business" says David, who has been heading the talented and growing design firm for the past 5 years.

About Armen David

A Los Angeles native and MBA graduate, Armen has a strong desire to create meaningful connections between businesses and consumers. He launched nearly five years ago STARMEN. He cultivates a seamless dialogue among his clients while working closely with his multidisciplinary teams of designers and technologists to set strategy and create forward-thinking campaigns. Prior to STARMEN, Armen was Vice President of Business and Marketing for a global industrial design firm. There, he built business relationships in thirteen countries, which gave him perspective on the international business market. As a result, he is a frequent speaker at industry events and local universities. Armen holds a B.S. in Business Marketing and an M.B.A. in Business Management.


London Unveils Mascots for 2012 Olympics

 

london2012-creepy-mascots

When the official logo of the 2012 London Olympics was released three years ago, the odd puzzle-piece design was the object of so much scorn that organizers were desperate to avoid similar criticism when they unveiled the mascots for the Games on Wednesday. With the introduction of Wenlock and Mandeville (above), London 2012 organizers realized their goal. The criticism of the mascots won't be similar to the complaints about the logo. No, they'll be much, much worse. London went for a complicated design that seems a bit uninspired and fails to identify itself to the global community with its host city, culture, history and people. See if makes sense to you...

Check out the short film which details the weird origins of Wenlock and Mandeville:

Wenlock is named after Much Wenlock, a village in Shropshire which held an event in the 19th century which inspired the modern Games. Mandeville is named after the hospital at which the Paralympic Games were founded. Though both sound like Tolkein characters, the names are quite good and are the only thing that makes the mascots distinctly British.


Welcome Web Fonts!

 

typekit-webfonts

Google and Typekit both spilled some much-anticipated beans last week. First off, Google announced they are releasing high quality open source fonts in the Google Font Directory. Users will be able to download these open source fonts from http://code.google.com/p/googlefontdirectory/.  They also went so far as to release Google Font API, which is an HTML based tool that enables you to implement any of these fonts into your site with a level of ease that we’ve been accustomed to from Google.

Wait. It gets better. Typekit and Google announced the release of a Web Font Loader to smooth out any issues when putting their web fonts to use.

The WebFont Loader puts the developer in control of how web fonts are handled by various browsers. The API fires JavaScript events at certain points, for example when the web font completes downloading. With these events, developers can control how web fonts behave on a site so that they download consistently across all browsers. In addition, developers can set the fallback font's size to more closely match the web font, so content doesn't reflow after loading. Furthermore, the WebFont Loader is designed to make it easy to switch between different providers of web fonts, including Google, Typekit, and others. The code is modular, and we expect to add modules for other major web font providers in coming weeks.

To see an example of Google’s web fonts in the flesh visit Smashing Magazine.


Hugh Hefner Saves The Hollywood Sign

 

Hollywood Sign Saved

It's an iconic landmark we at STARMEN see everyday outside our window, the Hollywood Sign is truly one of the most recognizeable symbols of the California dream. A symbol that coined the phrase, "The land of opportunity". Well today, thanks to Hugh Hefner, Playboy magazine founder and iconic Hollywood figure himself, the peak has been saved!

The sign is Hollywood’s Eiffel Tower, this sign represents the dreams and aspirations of people around the world. Mr. Hefner said on Monday."

The landmark Hollywood sign will stand, unobscured, on scrub-covered slopes overlooking production studios and palm trees here, thanks to a $900,000 donation by Hugh Hefner in the ninth inning of a yearlong effort by conservationists to protect the hilltop around the sign from developers. The gift from Mr. Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine, closed the gap in donations to meet the $12.5 million price that the Trust for Public Land had agreed to pay for the 138-acre parcel on the hilltop, called Cahuenga Peak. Million-dollar donations came from the Tiffany & Company Foundation and Aileen Getty, and hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised online and at bake sales and lemonade stands. The deadline was the end of this month.

The Chicago Connection

Ironically enough the Hollywood sign you see today exists because Hugh Hefner raised the money in 1978 to re-build it. The land was originally bought in 1940 by industrialist Howard Hughes and after Hughes died, his estate sold the property in 2002 to a group of Chicago investors who intended to use the land to build luxury residences. Hugh Hefner is originally from Chicago, which is also home to the Playboy headquarters.

More info go to savehollywoodland.org


CONFIRMED: Apple 4G iPhone Unveiled

 

UPDATE: Gizmodo Editor Jason Chen Arrested, Home Searched And Computers Seized. The lost iPhone investigation begins...

UPDATE: Yes, it has been confirmed by numerous sources in news and media including online that Apple lost the next iPhone, in a bar.

Is this real? Could it be, that one of Steve Jobs secret service agents was sleeping in Cupertino? How did this slip through the cracks? Easy. Disguise it with a Belkin 3GS case. Though it's unofficially unconfirmed, there's a strong chance this is the next iPhone. Gizmodo, a high-reputable online source and popular blog for all things technology, recently posted this discovery.

You have to see to believe! www.gizmodo.com


Adobe Creative Suite 5 Launches Today

 

UPDATE: Preview the latest features in Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Premium. What is Design Premium?

We've been invited to attend the online global launch event taking place right now. Check back with us a little later has we'll have all the latest, up-to-date inside features and news regarding your favorite Adobe programs... for now here's a sneak peek.


Hertz Launches New Brand Identity

 

As part of a major re-branding effort, Hertz Corp. wants to woo cash-strapped consumers by urging them to "journey on" in a new campaign. For the first time in two decades, the company is updating its logo, uniforms, ads and 2,100 rental locations, as well as adding snazzy sports cars to its fleet. Omnicom Group's DDB is creating the campaign, which includes TV spots, print ads and online elements. Hertz also worked with Landor Associates to modernize the yellow and black Hertz logo.

Our goal in the logo redesign was to create a more contemporary corporate image that reflects our strong brand recognition, and is in touch with the mindset of current and future customers who appreciate superior service, personalized choices and value," commented Mike Senackerib, Hertz Chief Marketing Officer.

The new identity remains recognizeable by the strong use of its iconic yellow corporate color, but loses its familiar 'drop shadow' an element which made it look very dated. The new logo itself has been successfully updated to today's contemporary, friendly, and less-corporate consumer, but its going to take a lot more than aesthetic changes to re-energize the consumer and their views toward the Hertz brand.


Ready To Get Your iPad? Not So Fast...

 

The recent debut of Apple's latest creation, the iPad had people running to their nearest Apple store (myself included) to check it out. In fact early sales numbers show that it did quite well, between 600,000 and 700,000 iPads (pre-orders included) according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. Unlike the iPhone, the iPad is an entirely new category of device leaving many of its potential owners and consumers with questions. Questions not so much regarding the technology of the device itself rather, how will I use this device? More importantly, do I even need this?

These consumer questions are the least of Apple's worries. HP's much anticipated "Slate" is set to be released in the not so distant future, with capabilities that could potentially make it an "iPad killer" or simply 'a better product'. Take a look at HP's latest 30-second teaser that makes a point of showing off all the features on the Slate that are missing on the iPad, such as a built-in camera, a USB port (a real one, not an adapter), and an SD card slot. Now we at STARMEN are Apple loyalists, our office (and industry) has been made possible by all of Apple's sophisticated tools that make our working environment lots of fun and much easier such as our iMac's, MacBook Pro's, iPod's and iPhone's. After reviewing the spec sheet and looking further into the features of the iPad vs. Slate, I have to give a strong second thought to purchasing an iPad. I think HP might have the upper hand in this battle..

Contrary to the iPhone the iPad won't be as easy this time around because at that time, the room for Apple's iPhone competition was slim. Largely due to the fact that the Apple's first attempt at a mobile device was such a rapidly surprising success which had support elements such as its App's Store, usuability, and attractiveness that rivaled virtually everyone. Here the race as tighten considerably, the Slate has more functions (including Flash support), is just as sexy and can be much more of an asset to its owner.

The iPad, for now, is a hit (an impluse buy), a novelty if anything. But when HP's Slate debuts, its sure to shake things up a bit. Stay tuned...


Reviewing the New Look for Microsoft MSN

 

Microsoft debuts MSN's new logo and site design

During the late 90s internet boom MSN rose to the top, to become a popular and admired resource for finding information and news online. They seemed to have it all right, a brand identity that was familiar with its parent company, (Microsoft) an appealing television ad campaign and a whole lot of money to support their place in the online community. Fast forward 10 years lately, and the site, logo, marketing, consumer connection, virtually everything about the brand had evaporated. MSN quickly fell behind the emerging internet giants Google and Yahoo! and never seemed to catch up. It wasn't money or colors, the MSN brand simply lost its connection with its audience, which seemed to be outgrowing the company. The explosion of social media is where MSN failed to connect its audience with their new favorite networking tools. So with a new logo, added features, being too little too late for MSN remains to be seen. If it's similar to what AOL did last year, it might just be. AOL if you haven't noticed (recently gave themselves a much needed and highly criticized brand identity refresh.)

Will the new MSN re-energize today's online users back to its brand?

Microsoft lags behind Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. in search share despite efforts to turn the money-losing online business around. The software maker is saying goodbye to MSN.com's blue background and its blocks of text links. Instead, giving the site more white space, fewer categories and more organized navigation. Hoping to bring back MSN.com to what it once was (way back in 1997), a leading online search engine and news source. Microsoft Corp. hopes to get more Web surfers using its Bing search engine. Microsoft says Bing searches from MSN jumped during tests of the new design.

One highlight we can point out is the new MSN has a top news section that features photos more prominently. The addition of the Bing 'branded' search box stands out more, and people can scan lists of hot discussion topics and local posts on Twitter. What we did not like was that this facelift seemed to be just a new facade for its homepage. We discovered some of the interior pages still look cluttered and resemble too closely to the old version, leading us to believe this was done fairly quickly. We also noticed the MSN logo takes a backseat on the 'sports' page where, "FOX SPORTS" seems to dominate the page. This seems to be the case with most of its pages beign external link, making it confusing for some users who may think they've left the site.

Final Thoughts...

MSN is definitely taking a step in the right direction, unfortunately we think it's too late in this rapidly evolving technology market. They just seem to be pressing the emergency button on their re-branding efforts rather than taking a strategic approach, especially coming off the heels of competitors AOL's new launch and Yahoo's new "My Yahoo" updates. Still MSN has a lot of work to do before they can successfully recapture their audience. They need to assess what the brand stands for and how they are different and how to they can effectively communicate it.

Overall we think the site has been greatly simplified but still needs work, and we wish they would have been more creative with the logo! The site doesn't seem finished or complete and lacks in areas where others are stronger. The logo looks as if it has taken taken a step back, with the butterfly closely resembling a more generic icon which doesn't have the right balance or proportions of colors and shape it predecessor so recognizeably had. Regarding the type treatment, underconsideration.com said it best...

The new one suffers from Bing syndrome: It wants to be cool and modern but it suffers from complete lack of typographic decency. In this case, the whole is not so bad, but the parts are."

Tell us what you think? About the web site? The logo?


Upgrade Your Web Browser: Get Firefox 3.6

 

We've always been a fan of this friendly and easy open source web browser since it's release in 2004. The latest version of Firefox introduces cutting-edge features, support for a wide variety of Web standards, and access to more than 6,000 free add-ons that allow users to customize their browser to their liking.

The World's Best Browser Just Got Better!

Firefox 3.6 is more than 20 percent faster than Firefox 3.5 and includes extensive under the hood work to improve performance for everyday Web tasks such as email, uploading photos, social networking, and more. It also delivers new features like customizable browser themes called Personas, a ground-breaking Plugin updater, improved JavaScript performance, and enhancements to familiar favorites like the Awesome Bar for a better, more personal Web experience.

Upgrade to the latest Firefox here.


Alan Siegel: Let's Simplify Legal Jargon!

 

Having a hard time paying off those credit card bills? Well the design of the credit card contracts, make it harder for you to get rid of your debt. If Alan Siegel had his way, more of us would think twice to use plastic to pay for that expensive dinner. It's all in the visual communication.

Alan Siegel, is a brand expert and one of the leading authorities on business communication. He recently gave a great talk at the TED conference in Long Beach. He's man who preaches simplification and specifically regarding legal documents for government and business.

 


Tiger Woods: Breaking Brand Values

 

In preparation for the April comeback of Tiger Woods to the Masters I want to take the time point out how a key brand mishap, caused a deep wound in his legacy, which could have been avoided. What Tiger really needed was not a caddy, or a publicist, but a brand manager.

This is not to jump on the media barrage of articles streaming the web related to his "incident" or "incidents" (excuse me), but merely I feel this is the perfect opportunity explain how the success and downfall of the Tiger Woods relates to branding 101. I can't help but make a point of how it a key fundamental of branding was neglected and how it using the Tiger Woods 'case study' as an example for all brands, products or services.

Breaking the "Core Values"

I couldn't help but hear a loud undertone in this recent exclusive interview on ESPN with Tiger Woods when Tiger said, "I gotten away from my core values" and let me tell you, we're not just talking about Buddhism here. More importantly he forgot his "core values" were what drove his successful "brand". Like it or not, Tiger Woods is brand, a 'personal brand' which focuses on the individual, in this case a 'performance brand'. The Tiger Woods 'performance brand' can be interpreted by his success as a dominant golfer (athlete), his role as charasmatic family man, and more so, a marketable global figure. Like all branding, the 'brand' must be authentic, trusted, and faithful. These are the 'core' traits of which all brands must personify, it's the core ideas or values that drive the organization.

Up until this past November, the Tiger Woods brand had outward consistency, power and most of all loyalty. But internally, he was about to collapse. As he said himself, he became removed from his "core values" as a person, husband, and father. We won't get into his embarrassing "transgressions" and the details of his pathetic saga but it's important to note that because Tiger had abandoned his core values and ideas is how he got himself into this mess in the first place. The same way many companies and other brands become victim of their own success and become unmanaged. As brand expert Wally Olins states in his Brand Handbook,

"There always comes a time, however, in a successful organization when the informal, intuitive, perhaps muddled, but shared vision or core idea has to uncovered or rediscovered; when it has to be recreated, formalized, clarified and made coherent".

The steps to recovery is what Tiger is doing right now, but is it too late? Has he permantly damaged his 'brand image'? Will he ever be able to win over the hearts and minds of his loyal fans and followers he once had? Theses are the challenges that make for a great case study and with a brand manager in place, he should be able to overcome his woes and ultimately regain brand success.


Brand Marketing Is Not a Science

 

During our daily industry readings, we came across this encouraging article by brand consultant Tom Hinkes, a contributor to adage.com. It was refreshing to hear from a well-respected and experienced brand marketer that great marketing requires a balance of strategy and creative. Currently, companies have been scaling back on creatively-led brand solutions and focusing more on "the numbers" approach.

More Data Is Not Better Data

Marketing departments used to be the creative engines powering successful corporations. Now they're overrun by number-crunching nerds. As a direct consequence, despite all the conspicuous focus on "change management," the way brands respond to change in the marketplace has deteriorated. A McKinsey Quarterly article several years ago argued that the key to "better branding" is to build brands "more scientifically." If managers would combine "forward-looking market segmentation" with structural-equation modeling, they could "build a better brand more efficiently." In short: more data, more regressions and more conjoint analysis mean the "brand crisis" is solved. But fluency with buzz words and expertise with spreadsheets do not guarantee brand-marketing competence.

We agree that there is a need for consumer research, but brand marketing is not a science, it's not driven solely by metrics or statistics. It requires analysis, discipline and detail. Even more, it requires emotion, vision and ideas. STARMEN shares this perspective. We manage and balance both successfully and have the marketing abilities and creative talents to do so.

Enjoy the full article here.


Follow STARMEN on Twitter

 

Now you can get all the latest, up-to-the moment happenings from STARMEN and around the design world. No matter if it’s thirty seconds or 140 characters, we create ideas that don’t just talk, but get talked about.


Follow us now! @starmendesign


Our New Site Launches Today!

 

As an award-winning creative agency specializing brand design, we are proud to announce the redesign of the STARMEN web site. But "redesign" doesn't really cover it. This more than a aesthetic adjustment or surface-level change. This is more of a "refresh" both internally and externally. The new starmenusa.com reflects our new ideas, new thinking, and new outlook for our clients, and their brands. For those of you familiar with us, you'll find a lot of new and exciting information, about us, the services we offer and see new design work!

Our LA headquarters is buzzing with excitement! This site has been a labor of love, created with synchronized hard work, absolute enthusiasm, and meticulous attention to how effective design can be. The new STARMEN believes happy users means happy business. One goal of ours that hasn't changed is this: We are here to produce solid, valuable results for you! Now, we just look even better!

Visit our new virtual home and experience the new STARMEN!


Microsite. Macrohelp.

 

In response to the devastating January 12th earthquake in Haiti, the team at STARMEN Design Group rallied to spread the word to support the American Red Cross’s relief efforts. Creating this support-site is our way of communicating to the web community that urgency is needed to assist those affected by this disaster; especially the thousands of abandoned children who are now without homes. The best way to provide immediate aid is through financial donations. Join us and show your support by donating to the Haitians during these tragic times. Be a part of the solution and provide help for the relief effort through the American Red Cross today!

View the microsite & donate at www.WeSupportHaiti.org


Runway LA Magazine Press Article

 

Situated in the heart of Los Angeles, STARMEN separates itself from the plethora of design companies by remaining independent, creatively led, and modest enough in size to work closely with clients.  The November issue of Runway Magazine explains just this! Runway Magazine called us ‘Hollywood’s Rising Stars,’ and illustrates how a boutique design agency has found great footing in the entertainment capital of the world!

Download the full article here.