ready for takeoff

Virgin America Updates its UX With 100% More Cartoon Butts

Posted by Caitlin Barrett on June 20, 2014 10:15 AM

Virgin America took flight in 2007 with strong ties to the sexy, challenger branding associated with most of Sir Richard Branson’s brainchildren. From its first flight, it stood out from other U.S. airlines for its better-than-average treatment of guests and its innovative flight experience (mood music, moodier lighting, AND the least misplaced bags last year create happy customers, it seems). 

So why does a brand on top need to rethink its UX when, really, things are going well for the business? Virgin America saw room for improvement from its (now-old) dot com experience—and saw a chance to set the big goal of increasing online bookings. So the brand chucked the idea of using as a marketing tool; instead, it’s now optimized to make the booking process a breeze (thereby increasing online bookings). It may be ahead of its time, but Virgin America was willing to move early so that when customers are ready to book on their phones, they’ll be ready at the gate. 

But enough about the strategy—the new look and feel pushes the brand’s tone into a liveliness and creativity that strays from the brand’s sultrier side.Continue reading...

kiddie brands

Transformers Toys Go Back to Their Roots Ahead of Fourth Film

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 22, 2014 08:14 PM

In the three decades that Transformer toys have been on the market, they've inspired three big-budget Hollywood blockbusters and inspired hundreds of merchandising endeavors.

But the toys as they were orginally imagined—the ones that actually transformed from a vehicle to a robot with a few simple moves—aren’t around anymore. The transformation process, it seems, is now extremely complicated. Some may disagree, but the instruction booklets for today’s Transformers are much more involved than when it was first released. 

So Hasbro CEO Brian D. Goldner has decided to restore the toy back to its simpler days in honor of its 30th anniversary.Continue reading...

brand makeovers

Microsoft Plans to Adopt Windows Design Across Brands

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 29, 2013 12:43 PM

When there are more than a billion people already using your products, it doesn’t seem like a natural time for a rebrand. But Microsoft is apparently sick of being portrayed as an old fuddy duddy to Apple’s hip, young counterpart. 

After all, “the consensus among analysts seems to be that Microsoft is a company in transition, experiencing growing pains and pockets of great promise as it moves from dominance in a world centered on Windows and PCs to becoming a company that delivers services and devices,” the Seattle Times reports.

That transition means some big changes for the way the company presents itself. According to Windows Phone design studio general manager Albert Shum and Wolff Olins creative director Todd Simmons, Microsoft is planning to rebrand Bing, Skype, Yammer and Xbox, Gizbot reports.

After all, Microsoft refreshed the visual identity for Windows and Office last year, and the company in the midst of a big plan to align all of its products across design and marketing.Continue reading...

web watch

Meet the New, New Twitter - Now With Brand Pages!

Posted by Shirley Brady on December 8, 2011 06:32 PM

Remember "New Twitter"? Get ready for the "New New Twitter," as the 140-character driven social platform prepares to unveil a redesign. While the video touting the redesigned Twitter makes it sound like it's a great way to hook up with friends, the redesign is featured in a microsite that touts a consistent mobile experience, new user icons (Home, Connect, Discover, Me and Tweet) and a rearranging of the furniture.Continue reading...

web watch

StumbleUpon Stumbles Forward, Brands in Hand

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 6, 2011 03:33 PM

The eponymous discovery engine, StumbleUpon, just unveiled a major redesign including improvements in recommendations, a streamlined user interface with a new logo and the launch of brand channels.

“Really this is the biggest refresh in terms of look and feel that we’ve ever had on the web,” StumbleUpon CEO Garrett Camp told Mashable.

Key to the site's redesign, its channels feature  is a dedicated, non-invasive feature for brands (about 250 at launch, Fast Company notes), celebrities and publications to promote themselves in an environment that previously eschewed such accounts.

“Users had the expectation that they would see an individual acting on good will to share a piece of content rather than a for-profit company promoting a piece of content for selfish reasons,” Camp says. “Now we have a place where it’s OK for users to publish their own things.”Continue reading...

viral buzz

Going Viral: Google's Gmail Redesign Leak

Posted by Michael Waltzer on October 21, 2011 05:32 PM

You've got mail. New Gmail, to be exact. The above video, which features Gmail's user experience designer Jason Cornwell giving an overview of the new Gmail, leaked yesterday and has been going viral ever since.

Some of the major changes? A complete redesign of the look and feel of Gmail, and an attempt to make it look as clean, simple and intuitive as possible. Also, the new Gmail adapts to the size of your browser window, so as to not be overwhelmed by the amount of messages in your window.

If you have a high-def monitor, Gmail's new high resolution themed picture backgrounds may interest you. Gmail conversations are getting a facelift to look more like a conversation, and will include profile pictures. A new customized search box reveals a way more advanced search for emails, including fields for subject, from, to, has, doesn't have, attachments included, etc.

Google is in the midst of sprucing up its apps, with new looks for Google Docs and Google Calendar. "Oops, you weren't supposed to see that," Google representative Andrea Freund told CNET. "Stay tuned, we'll be sharing more info on Gmail's new look soon."Continue reading...

design watch

Nokia Rewrites Brand With New Font

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 29, 2011 03:30 PM

Nokia has chosen a typeface redesign in an effort to rebrand the company.

Out with Nokia Sans and in with Nokia Pure, a new font created by London-based typographic designer Bruno Maag specifically for digital devices. 

“It’s a new brand image that’s simpler, fresher and stronger than before," comments Nokia on its blog. "This is the new typeface that’s been created for Nokia by the branding people… the letters flow into each other somewhat, creating the impression of forward movement."

Check it out, along with more of Nokia's thinking, below.Continue reading...

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branded media

Gawker Sheds Blog Status, Community - But Not Woes

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 11, 2011 04:00 PM

A Day in the Life of Gawker Media - FINAL from source/record on Vimeo.

The much ballyhooed redesign rolled out on Monday, with Gawker Media czar Nick Denton saving his flagship website for last as he rolled out the redesign across his other sites first.

More than just a a simple change in the look of the blog, Gawker's new format has been billed as an outright battle over the future of media strategy. It has already claimed several top Gawker personnel, including his head of ad sales, not to mention some of the site's regular readers and commenters.

The redesigned sites, which started going live across the Gawker Media family in early February, have become embattled islands of complaints, with Denton fighting back and defending his new format. When relaunched the day after the Super Bowl, there were tech hiccups — to be expected in the wake of its recent hacking, perhaps — such as the new design losing its Google News status.

In further defense of his choices, Denton posted the above video. It was the final straw for many of the site's loyal readers — whose wit and commentary drove more pageviews and return visits than Denton may realize.Continue reading...

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