Saving good women from bad design

Navigating the minefield.

The Femme Den champions the idea that women don’t just buy products — they buy into them.

Women are sensitive to the entire brand experience and the companies behind them. A woman’s purchase decisions reflect her good judgement–and it’s not easy to gain her trust because it’s personal and emotional. 


Designing for women is tricky. For clients and designers alike, it’s easy to fall into well-intentioned traps such as “shrinking and pinking.” Looking for better ways to understand and connect with women’s subtle needs and desires, avoiding traps and uncovering distinct strategies to win with women.

womenInspired by women. Solutions for both. 

Superficial approaches and guesswork just don’t work. Like any consumer, women have a unique set of priorities and values. They’re the gatekeepers of the home and are discriminating about what they bring into it. Simply put, women want more.if you meet women’s demanding needs, you usually attract men as well. Why? Women are the pickier, more demanding consumer because she often shops for herself, her children, and her partner. We consider women as a filter for good experiences – for everyone. Here are some great examples from Femmeden:

How do we get women to drink beer?

A better gas station experience for women who pump their own gas


The solution addressed the primary concerns of women drivers: that gas stations can be dirty and unfriendly. Designing a new concept that’s simply nicer: a familiar stop for the family to take a break during a road trip, and a reassuring go-to place for car problems. By bringing service back to the service station, they imagined a better gas station experience for everyone, both men and women.


Listening to Nature

Innovation Inspired By Nature. A Powerful Stage.

nature8Though technology and nature could be perceived as two opposing forces, you might be surprised to find out how much scientists learn from the animal kingdom. It’s nothing new for designers and inventors to look to nature for creative solutions and ideas. What’s changed is that this science and design practice is now recognized as a field in its own right – Biomimicry – and it’s gaining momentum. A discipline that studies nature’s best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems. It revolves around one basic principle: to emulate, rather than reinvent, systems that nature has spent around four billion years perfecting. “Biomimicry is basically taking a design challenge and then finding an ecosystem that’s already solved that challenge, and literally trying to emulate what you learn,” said Janine Benyus, the American scientist who coined the phrase biomimicry around a decade ago.

nature2If you’ve ever tried to pick a mussel off a rock you’ve likely noticed that they sure know how to stick. Columbia Forest Products looked at the natural adhesive abilities of the blue mussel and came up with a way to use soy-based formaldehyde-free technology in the construction of hardwood plywood products.

While this relatively new field may seem very scientific, it is of great use and importance to today’s designers. Both in solving problems as well as providing an endless wealth of creative visual inspiration. Biomimicry operates on the principle that in its 3.8 billion year history, nature has already found solutions to many of the problems we are trying to solve.

Form fits Function

Nature optimizes rather than maximizes. One of nature’s fundamental design principles is optimizing shape or form to best suit or fit the function. The reason is efficiency; shape is less expensive than material.


English mobile operator Orange, known for introducing new eco-friendly devices every year during the Glastonbury Festival, has recently presented their vision for the tent of the future. The tent could be purchased for style alone, but it has many benefits. Made from photovoltaic fabric capable of storing solar energy, charges mobile devices and is equipped with LCD-screen. You can also activate it via sms or RFID-technology, and it will light up with a soft yellow light.

Asking the Planet- Evolution meets Creation.

Biomimetics brings in a whole different set of tools and ideas you wouldn’t otherwise have, looking at nature in new ways, as model, measure and mentor to fully appreciate and understand how it can be used to help solve problems. The Biomimicry Institute developed a process created especially for designers. Their ‘Design Spiral’ is a guide which helps ‘biologize a challenge, query the natural world for inspiration, then evaluate to ensure that the final design mimics nature at all levels—form, process, and ecosystem.’

Speedos FastSkin Racer pushes buttons.


The shark, a creature that is fast in water but not naturally hydrodynamic, was used as a model for LZR Racer. A shark’s speed is attributed to V-shaped ridges on its skin-dermal denticles.  Dentricles decrease drag and turbulence around the shark’s body allowing the surrounding water to pass over the shark more effectively. Due to the drag effect that occurs when an object travels through water, Fastskin fabric was constructed with built in ridges emulating sharkskin.

Nissan Eporo car aids in avoiding collision by mimicking schools of fish.


What do a bumblebee and a school of fish have in common? Both demonstrate extraordinary anti-collision abilities, navigating instinctively and intelligently through challenging terrain by detecting and avoiding obstacles.

Coloration by Light


Many colors in nature result from light reflecting off structures, not the use of pigments.The metallic sheen and dazzling colors of tropical birds and beetles derive from optical features: neatly spaced microstructures that reflect specific wavelengths of light. Such structural color, fade-proof and more brilliant than pigment, is of great interest to people who manufacture paint, cosmetics, and those little holograms on credit cards.

Fluorescent proteins discovered in Glow fish

nature3Inspiring Electroluminescent Packaging:Ballantine’s new electroluminescent label for blended scotch whisky; TyKu’s sake bottle with LED light source; J&B’s “Mix Light” bottle.

Design is intuitive, working on the non-verbal levels of our experience, sometimes triggering our most subversive emotional states; this makes it difficult to evaluate empirically. Lacking an analytical vernacular, design is labeled subjective, when it is actually the agent of universal truth through form.

Form has meaning; it can touch us at such a primal level that our mind is left scrambling to rationalize our emotional reactions. Bio-inspired designs/forms are elegant, functional, and not surprisingly, sustainable as well. Benyus says in her book: “The core idea is that nature, imaginative by necessity, has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with. Animals, plants, and microbes are the consummate engineers. They have found what works, what is appropriate, and most important, what lasts here on Earth.”

It seems that the more we learn from nature’s mentors, the more we’ll want to protect them.

Some great links to leave you with: Treehugger National Geographic

More will be the New Less.

Strong visibility and passion are the dictating themes in logo trends.
2009 trends usher in something new, something experimental, something outrageous.

‘09 is proving to be a very interesting year, design-wise with effective and strong concept based logos. We’re witnessing a fading out of minimalism, and this is paving the way for spectacular remixes to take over.

We’re also going to see a few designers becoming far more aware and sensitive to design history movements and styles than they were in previous years. They are discovering ways to make logos reflect their roots. To stand out, and be refreshingly different and bold– that’s the message we’re getting from today’s logos.

Here are some direction examples to serve as traction in moving you forward in identity design:


Type and text is clearly more critical. Words carry a more concise message. They convey specific rather than generic information. People are busy; money is tight. Logos must be interpreted, and interpretation takes time. Words deliver their message immediately.

Increased Chroma:

Logos have a vibrancy of color and energy that in past years might have not been considered proper corporate behavior. They are setting a very optimistic course. Everywhere, there is a bold use of hue, even in the most unexpected places, such as in the identities of very large and conservative clients.


There’s a very small item on the horizon that may has gigantic effect on logo design. When Google introduced its new favicon at the start of 2009, it was a very visible reminder of how powerful that tiny piece of real estate really is. The favicon may turn out to be a measuring stick against which the success of any new logo design might be measured – as in, can this logo be made to fit in a 15 x 15-pixel square?

Speedy reflection and the blending of elements:

Economies, governments, and individuals continue to call for “greater transparency” in society. Though this is not a literal request for visual transparency, for several years, designers have taken liberties with the concept to deliver metaphoric solutions that consumers understand.

Depicting motion in sequential steps combined with transparency is the latest iteration to branch out from this trend family .The introduction of sequential color steps help to further define the concept by demonstrating movement: time passage through seasons, temperature shifts, or just a rainbow-colored transition that demonstrates order and harmony, not chaos.


These logos look like a roomful of diverse pixels pushed together to make a visual shape.


The symbolic texture of these logos does not let consumer’s vision wander. Often illustrated with a unique visual message that gives context and dimension to the shape.


A logo seems to be incomplete without a good type face, the “Nike” logo is exceptional. An excellent logo emerges when text and icon are packed up in a strong way.

A particular style can’t emerge and expect to stay at the top indefinitely. Developments in logo design indicate that these trends have a short lifespan, going through a “now-you-see-it now-you-don’t” kind of roller coaster. Consumers react to the messages they hear via the media and then make “educated” decisions on how they should react which obviously effects how designers work and operate. As designers we must allow for these new considerations and this is where the so called trend comes in.
Inspiration Link


Drivers and Vision for a New Era of Luxury.

From Excess to Stealth.


In the contemporary marketplace, what is the new Glamor? Is there a new luxury ideal? The debate surrounding luxury is far from new. The traditional definition of luxury as ‘anything unneeded’ is neither helpful nor relevant in today’s markets. New luxury is being part of things, having experiences that deepen ones understanding, connection and appreciation of life. Events, brands, products, places, services and moments all will find emotional resonance with consumers with participatory communications.

BEING PART of a participation flow gives a feeling of connection, of ‘oneness’ with the world. It’s not what you got; it’s what you know.


In terms of mood and lifestyle, there has been a shift from rank and badge, to discovery and knowledge.

According to French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu there are three types of capital: economic, social and cultural. Cultural capital refers to knowledge, skills and taste, and is increasingly important as a form of self-expression and definer of identity.


Consumers now have a greater emotional involvement in premium products and want a compelling brand story. Customers must be welcomed and nourished. Luxury brands need to offer products and experiences which are more profound, more unique, more valuable. Glitz and glamour isn’t enough. We need to replace hollow with deep.


This era of luxury is bringing back the Artistes. The juxtaposition of objects and styles creates a PERSONAL SIGNATURE. An artisanal approach is a compelling aspect of authenticity. Drivers are commentary and remix. In terms of design, imagery, and packaging–I see experimental, playful, and irreverent being the new luxury acoustics.


ReLuxe is a hybrid of personal acquisitions and accomplishments.

A reflection of our own unique tastes, our own worldview on display for others to see, appreciate and enjoy.

Spotlight Cuba

Inspiring Fashion and Style. Fascinating culture, beautiful people, exotic scenery, inspirational music everywhere.

This summer Cuba is pushed in to the spotlight as  one of the first countries to radically combat the  global economic situat
ion. The Caribbean island will introduce an austerity program to try and offset the financial crisis and reduce energy use. With the majestic tropical island set to become more accessible to the masses, an even bigger surge in inspiration arrives.

After an astounding presence on the spring/summer 09 runways, styling with a touch of 1950’s la dolce vita (seen at Louis Vuitton menswear) and spicy, tropical collections (Gucci women’s ready to wear) take center stage for high summer. On the global city streets many are adopting the look; from New York to London, everyone wants a touch of old time Havana.

50’s Havana represents a counterculture spirit that can be seen across the region, inspired by the vibrant local music and dance.

In an age where capitalism is king and the bedrock of consumerism looks set to take a tumble—radical ideologies suddenly have a renewed appeal.


Differentiate from competition on an intuitive level.
New packages are perhaps most successful when they use unique shapes or structures to differentiate on an intuitive and visual level. Even from several feet away, they  simply look more compelling than the competition, which helps them break through  shelf clutter and connect with shoppers on an emotional level.

First impressions count. So do second, third and beyond.
Packaging enhances the brand, makes a statement and plays a crucial role in the purchase decision process. More than that, packaging can help create a product’s unique personality or can refresh and reinvigorate longstanding brands. At the point of purchase, packaging is the first thing your audience sees. And that the law of attraction is absolute.


Organic Symbiosis

Luminous Flourish

Color and Texture Inspiration for Package Design
This organic and luminous color trend takes an upscale turn with a glowing spectrum inspired by the forest, the sky, liquid and the light from the obscure and the in-betweens. This is about blurring lines of perception and reality, and using technology to highlight color in dual functions, sheen and shade.

Deep Dark Luxury
The purples, chocolate browns, deep blues and khaki greens of 2009 are colors that you do not have to be afraid to commit. Darker hues feel luxurious. In fact, most of the luxury market favors the darker tones right now.