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Interdisciplinary Studies in Marketing: Abelardo Morrell

Posted on April 11, 2008 by Kathryn Regina.

A while back I had the pleasure of interviewing Frans Johansson for a client publication. Johansson’s book The Medici Effect states that breakthrough insights occur at the intersection of fields, disciplines and cultures. With that in mind, I have been on the lookout for lessons from other disciplines that could lend a fresh perspective to the marketing/custom publishing world.


One of my discoveries is the photography of Abelardo Morrell. A book review in Scientific American succinctly describes his process:

“As the world of photography grows ever more digitized, Morell offers a glorious and surprising reminder of its classical roots. The well-known Cuban-born photographer essentially turns a room into the interior of a camera. He blacks out the windows, leaving a pinhole opening in one of them. Because of the nature of refracted light, the scene outside the window is projected upside down into the dim room. Morell then captures the room on film with a large format view camera; exposures can take eight hours or more.”


I saw Morrell speak at The Art Institute of Chicago, and he said that when he discovered this process he felt like he had discovered photography. Can you imagine that feeling?

Lesson: New discoveries don’t have to be technological discoveries. Or better stated: Going back to the roots of a process can be just as innovative as building on the latest technology. How did people market in the 1800s?

I’m totally blowing your mind right now.




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April 11, 2008 in Blogs, Business Marketing, Custom publication, Custom publications, Custom publisher, Custom publishing, E-Marketing, Marketing Communication, online marketing, online publishing | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Top 5 Design Principles I’ve Learned from Apartment Therapy

Posted on April 04, 2008 by Kathryn Regina.

1. White is in.

More than any other design trend, I think the prevalence of white will be what marks our era. Should we attribute this to Apple’s iMac or is it some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy from the white-clad “space age” imagery of thirty years ago (think Buck Rogers)? I do not know. Here’s what I do know: White totally makes everything look better. In fact, one woman brought her entire 80’s-lookin’ home up to date simply by painting her floors and fixtures white, and then adding splashes of vibrant color.




2. Parameters invite creativity.

Apartment Therapy’s showcase of small apartments illustrates that limitations support creativity. Self-imposed restriction in art has become a postmodern doctrine. One popular example is Gadsby, Ernest Vincent Wright’s lipogrammatic novel written without the use of the letter “e.” Restrictions like size or budget (see number 3) may not be by choice, but if you find yourself in this situation, seize the opportunity to create something you may have never discovered otherwise.Scrappy_is_cool

3. Scrappy is cool.

AT’s numerous DIY (do it yourself) projects prove just how stylish thriftiness can be. Anyone with money can hire a stylist, but the beauty you create with your ingenuity will be uniquely yours. Scrappy companies are lean, strong and full of rare perspectives.

 4. The unexpected is usually the most satisfying.

Whether it’s a chalkboard in the kitchen or a table lamp in the bathroom, AT reminds me that the surprising juxtaposition of colors, words and objects can produce inspired results. And while symmetry is our natural tendency, some argue that asymmetry holds the eye longer.



5. De-cluttering is essential.

No matter how brilliant your company’s design, if it’s yucked up with a lot of text or an overload of images, it’s not going to get the attention it deserves. Today’s viewer favors minimalist text, plenty of white space and clean design.

Note: BeTuitive is in the midst of a Web site overhaul. Stay tuned to see how these design principles inform our new look!

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April 4, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack