Things that disappear

Posted in Free thoughts on November 29, 2011 by Primo Angeli

from the files of Armand Re

With a response by
Arnold Maran,
Former Edinburgh
Chief Surgeon &
Current Jazz Piano Musician.
Based on the following
American musical phrase:

“Accentuate the positive,
delete the negative and
don’t mess with
mister in between”

1. The Post Office. Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

The opportunity this presents to stamp collectors is enormous.
If stamps disappear what will a complete collection of a country’s stamps be worth.
Buy now while there is opportunity.


2. The Check. Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with checks by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check. This plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.

There was such a row about this they’ve rescinded the decision and cheques will stay.
If they disappeared there are a number of things that people could not pay and the elderly who don’t use   computers would be stranded.
Grey power won the day.


3. The Newspaper. The younger generation simply doesn’t read the newspaper. They certainly don’t subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.

No big loss.  TV has largely replaced them anyway for news.  All you get now is opinion pieces and there is a huge fluctuation in quality.
The future lies in weekly magazines where the columnists have time to prepare a piece worth reading.


4. The Book. You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book.
And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can’t wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you’re holding a gadget instead of a book.

Agree.  The Kindle has been as big a breakthrough as the iPod was for music.
It’s just so much easier to read especially in bed and on the move.
Hard back books will become luxury items.
They will be published with beautiful covers and on beautiful paper.


5. The Land Line Telephone. Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don’t need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they’ve always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes

The use of this has just about gone now.  I had a friend in last week who wanted to phone home.
I directed him to my land line and he asked how to use it!
And this is in the backward North of Scotland!


6. Music. This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It’s the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the
people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is “catalog items,” meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, “Appetite for Self-Destruction” by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, “Before the Music Dies.”

They destroyed the goose that laid the golden egg with the invention of CDs.
Do you not remember how the prices of these went up and up and up in the late eighties.
There was such a rip-off that the public was ready for an alternative and Steve Jobs provided it.
The iPod was a fantastic invention.  The music industry did not cope with the change while looking for the Courts to protect them.
What Apple ought to do now that they’ve won is to put out some talent scouts to search out new artists just like the old  A&R men of the record companies did.


7. Television. Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they’re playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It’s time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.

I never had a TV till we got married.  I’ve never been a big TV watcher and I feel sorry for those  who are addicted because much of the material is rubbish and put together by kids with a degree in media studies from a college in the styx.  Those of us who remember ‘good’ programming -not Americans — can’t stand watching present day stuff.
We get what we want from computers when we want it.
You can read your Kindle instead of mindlessly watching.

8. The “Things” That You Own. Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in “the cloud.” Today your computer has a hard drive
and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest
“cloud services.” That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open
something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider.

Good.  Saves space.


9. This virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That’s the good news. But, will you actually own any of this “stuff” or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big “Poof?” Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

No it doesn’t


10. Privacy. If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That’s gone. It’s been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, “They” know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. And “They” will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.

Now that’s serious!!!



In Consideration of the Senses

Posted in Free thoughts on August 17, 2011 by Primo Angeli
1100 WurlitzerAn entire book could focus on the importance of communication and the senses.  I defer to an exceptional work that already exists by Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses.  Taste, touch, sight, smell, and that elusive sense, intuition, are the tools on which designers depend.  Because they are for human consumption, food and beverages top the list of products that require full expression of the senses and must “taste” and “feel real” visually.  They also inform you of their effects, to slim you down, to fatten you up, to keep you healthy.

Even hardware products should have sex appeal, a voluptuousness that makes them ergonomically palatable or that suggests deliciousness.  These beautiful forms in machinery and tools demand appreciation.  Cosmetics can become almost
edible. Yet, whether selling Nestle chocolate, Adobe software, or Apple computers, visual communication is always “beeping” on a sensory level.

Making People Respond: Gems by Hal Riney

Posted in Free thoughts on August 4, 2011 by Primo Angeli

In the forward of my book, Making People Respond, I found these forgotten gems that I would like to share with the students of graphic design. It was written by the late brilliant advertising maverick of San Francisco, Hal Riney.

Traditional artists essentially, serve themselves. Commercial artists – package, industrial, and graphic designers, creative staff at agencies, architects, filmmakers, illustrators, and photographers – are servants of others.  Few of our employers share our passion for perfection, or even understand it.  In the abstract, they may agree with our lofty arguments that we have an obligation not only to our clients, but also to the consumers and to society as a whole. Yet those same ideals are usually the first to fall prey to time, expediency, and the bottom line.


We insist, of course, that our art be original.  Yet, to the great majority of our clients, originality implies risk.  And business abhors risk.  So the commercial artist’s success or even survival demands perseverance, persuasion, and, especially, patience.  I wonder what shape Rodin’s sculptures might have taken had he submitted them to a focus group.  Or what Monet might otherwise have painted if he had been served with a research study about people’s indifference to water lilies.”

In my book, he will never be forgotten.

Photo Credits: Chronicle photo, 2004, by Scott Sommerdorf

The One Page Proposal

Posted in Brands & Packages on June 30, 2011 by Primo Angeli

Patrick G. Riley started the whole thing. A few years ago he called on me to design a memorable brand identity system for a new idea, an outgrowth of his fabulous book “The One-Page Proposal”. It’s been a fascinating ride that took us into a three-year research and design program and its trial applications to finally represent the new “One-Page Company” and its’ spin off applications.

It was Patrick, a number of years ago, who raised this cry in a single phrase, “The Resume is Dead!”

And then, hammered it home in his current offerings as a call to arms for the absolute seriousness of the remark. Since that time, I have noted a number of others singing out this now popular theme, backing it up with many justifiable reasons.
And it delivers increasing attention to Riley’s “One-Page Proposal” with his other headlined offerings to serious job hunters in regard to the death of the resume. Patrick G. Riley, Chairman, and his CEO, Joanna Weidenmiller have carried this message to the public on many levels for all the blue and white collar men and women. It is worth checking it out now on the Internet.

For my American design student seminars in Rome, in the closing moments after heartfelt congratulations for their fine portfolio work, I leave them with a wake-up call that jolts them into a high level of confrontation:

“And now, how are you going to find a job?”