Archives for posts with tag: design

In 2010 I had the pleasure to speak at a few iStrategy conferences across the world. This was a fruitful and great learning experience as I have met a lot of people from the digital marketing industry with a lot of interesting views on the digital world.

I now have the privilege to write for the new iStrategy blog, where I will contribute a blog post every week.

So keep an eye out for my ‘Digital Thoughts‘ and ramblings about socialmedia, digital strategy and design at my own little corner on the iStrategy site.

Read my latest post

Privacy & Social Media | Is Nothing Sacred Anymore?

I am very curious about your views on Privacy… so feel free to comment!


Today I had little inspiration and wanted to create something to post on my blog… so fired off a question to my dear creative friend @NiniBaseema. I asked her for 1 word to inspire me. She replied “Blasphemy”.

So this is what I came up with… putting a nude pic I took long ago to good use

I love tracking tweets, and seeing how many times a links I have tweeted was clicked. However till today it was merely out of interest. I thought of compiling a weekly Top 10 list as a weekly round up, with the most popular links I have tweeted.

Hope you will enjoy it!


Unbelievable 3D Drawings #photos #drawing

Italian Popular Gestures #italy #fun #illustration

Unbelievable Collection of #Sexism #Vintage #Ads

3 Super Glamour Portraits #photography #photos #glamour

Wonderful Retro Style Portraits by Ali Mitto #photography #photos

50 Examples of Pixel Perfect Button Design #design #webdesign #graphicdesign

Dutch Blog #geenstijl posted my Tweet today! explains the huge traffic! <- Thank you #Geenstijl :)

Beautiful Secret Street Stories #photography #photos

Amazing #Architecture in Dubai | Blooming In The Wind #green #sustainability #photos

Is That An #iPhone In Your Pocket Or… #gadget #fun #fashion

Since early this year I have picked up Tweeting quite a bit, and in a relative short space of time I have gotten to know quite a few inspiring people. People who have an eye for whats hot and whats not. Being it with sharing links to beautiful photography, art, poetry and design. Or teaching me great insights on social media, marketing and business online in general. What they have in common? They are on twitter for all of us! To inspire us, and to share with us their view on the world.

This blog post is an ode to 15 tweeps that inspire my tweeting days, and teach me new things everyday. They are good people, with great minds and big hearts. Follow them now and get to know them!

Follow them one by one below, or group follow them by folliwing this list @ThomasMarzano/inspiring-tweeps

Misty Belardo (@mistygirlph)

Misty is an amazingly sweet person, she blogs like crazy on BitRebels and her own blog. She connects to everyone who has something to say. Passionate about anything inspiring and creative, a wonderful person to be connected to. A good friend and my Twitter Tutor

Bio: graphics/avatar design, blogger, events, loves music, food, art, self expression. writer for /, social media


Aaron Lee (@AskAaronLee)

Aaron is the GO TO guys for anything on social media. His instinct to connect and grow engagement is astounding, and will trigger any experienced marketeer to think differently about marketing.

Bio: An average Joe but with an extra-large social media addiction, Competitive by Nature, Positive Minded, Full Time Marketing Student, Part time Internet Marketer


Paul Steele (@paul_steele)

Who doesn’t know the Bald Hiker? Paul shares loads of great links on Photography, but what makes him real special is his passion for good causes. He rally’s up people to get on amazing journeys with him to help who is in need.

Bio: Often found on a mountain or hill enjoying the outdoors. Interested in and will share photography, art, design, geeky and humorous stuff. Will follow back.


Cindy Vriend (@cindyvriend)

A creative, passionate and crazy silly dance bombshell. Sharing loads of great design, art and photography links on twitter and on her blog. And proud to say the first tweep I had the pleasure to meet IRL.

Bio:  I love design, illustration, art, photography, smiles, music, driving a race car, my sweet dog & silly dances


Boris Rasonja (@brasonja)

Boris sniffs out the best of everything and shares it for all of us to enjoy. Always there for a chat on a lazy Sunday and happy to retweet quality links.

Bio:  Sincere, enthusiast, friendly, curious, ambitious. Review writer,info provider,like social media, web design, typography, photography,…to be continued…


Terri Nakamura (@terrinakamura)

Terri finds and shares great design must see content. Every link she posts is a joy to watch and read. Very friendly and chatty, unfortunately for me, the timezone makes it rare to have real time talks, but the few we had where a lot of fun!

Bio:  Graphic designer & fun person; likes humor, Apple/Mac, cool, interesting, design, art, funny, business, technology, weird, pop culture stuff; breaking news


Sheila Rose (@ShebaJo)

If you love Photography, follow Sheila now! She shares great links to beautiful resources.

Bio:  I love photography, technology, music. I’m a cancer survivor, with a lot of living to do. myBlips @ShebaJo_blipdj


Nini Baseema (@NiniBaseema)

Nina is out there in a league of her own. This Bellydancing chick shows us the world through her lens and points us to great things to look at.

Bio:  Corporate & Social Media Whore Travel Guru Music Obsessive Bellydance Chick Photoshop Queen Philosopher FashionVictim Avid Avatar Changer Design Lover Essence Seeker


Ellen Alvarez (@ellenalvarez)

Ellen writes beautiful and sensual stories on her blog! A must read!

Bio:  Mama 1st! TwitterMission:2B PROActive takepart in Good that is Twitter! REAL & HONEST Tweets laced w/Luv4 PPL!


Ken (@KenS_thought)

Ken is my Sunday Wake-Up buddy, always there to help me wake up and have a great designer start of the day. He shares great industrial and product design links.

Bio: twittering suits talking things off your mind, esp when pple whom might be reading r all strangers..


Jessica Kristie (@jesskristie)

What can I say… Jessica touched me when she wrote lyrics to my song STill. She writes beautiful poetry which she shares with us through her blog. If you like poetry, she is great at it!!

Bio: Poetry is my heart, anchors my soul and documents my journey.


Richard Darrel (@minervity)

Rarely you see such a blogging powerhouse as Richard. He is the man behind the great blog, and he is so on top of anything design.

Bio:  Founder of / – Web/Graphic Designer/Developer.


A.R.Karthick (@arkarthick)

Every link he shares is bang on! Awesome links to what must be seen.

Bio:  Entrepreneur, Blogger, Photography/Designing/Social Media – Enthusiast. Humorous, Creative & Positive Thinker. Love to be Friend & Gain/Share Anything Awesome!


Diana Adams (@adamsconsulting)

One of the greats of the BitRebels gang, Diana blogs about the curious, the new, the odd, the great. A lovely person with a great passion for doing good.

Bio:  Graduate of USC, Entrepreneur for over 10 yrs, Writer for and, Voice for the Homeless in Atlanta. I’m really into just being happy.


Amy D. Howell (@HowellMarketing)

Amy is a powerful social media TWomen. Shares insights about doing business with social media and is always happy to connect.

Bio:  TN Social Media, Howell Marketing Strategies CEO: PR, Marketing, Social Media. Co-Founder, Memphis Social Media Club; Wife, Mom; TN River Rat, Grateful


Last week I headed down to London to visit the iStrategy event in the Millennium Hotel in Kensington. Over the 2 days many interesting speakers brought their experiences and insights to a group of 250 online professionals.

I will not go into the details of each keynote, as Phil Jenkins already posted a great summary on his blog. Instead I want to reflect on the things that where memorable to me and I have started reflecting on after the event, and give you an impression of the event itself through some pictures I took.

The good

“People talk to people, not to brands”. This was a theme I heard a few speakers talk about. Brands like Dell are empowering and enabling experts in their organizations to become brand advocates on twitter, and have them engage with people in social media. “You cannot outsource social media” as you need the expert knowledge that is within the people of the organization in order to have a meaningful engagement. Enabler for this is a mind shift within an organization, social media becomes part of employees job profiles and objectives. Brands need to pay utmost attention to employer branding and nurture engaged people to become spokesmen for the brand.

Convergence convergence convergence! Everything is coming together and connecting. Products, people, data, touch points and content. The mobile platform is the main driver for this shift and is enabling a greater value for people by bringing everything they care about and need in one interface which they carry with them all the time. We are just at the early beginnings of this new world, and are learning everyday how we can bring true value to people through this new technology. Behavioral transformation seems imminent. Trial and error is the way for brands to experiment and learn with this new phenomenon.

What people want & what people need.  Both David Henry of Monster and Mark Stuart of CIM touched upon the imperative of understanding people and taking User Centric Design (UCD) as the strategic driver for successful experience design. As this is my mantra I really enjoyed their talks and was glad to hear the success story of Monster.

The bad

A better “Sales pitch” balance!! Some keynotes just did not land at all, as the majority of the slides where a self promotion and sales pitch. Not delivering any value to the audience. On the twitter feed #istrategy2010 the comments were very critical about this, and a learning to those speakers. Sure speaking at a conference is an opportunity to get leads, but there is no need to be a speaking advert. Bringing meaningful and helpful content and insights will be your best advert!

“Sex sells” Jonathan Oliver of Microsoft had a strange presentation. He started of very strong talking about creativity and how creativity is about ideas that can drive innovation on all fronts. A very charismatic and enthusiastic speaker with great passion for the Microsoft brand. He even managed to have the audience stand up!! Respect! He got all my attention … until…. He showed a case study of a campaign targeted at 15 year old boys, and the main visual to the campaign was a bikini babe!!! He talked about how successful the campaign was… Now this I found very disappointing, how can creativity lead to bikini babe? This is not creative, this is the easy sell! He did however manage to deliver the most retweeted quote

“Social Media is like high school sex. Lots of guys talking about it, few doing it, and even less doing it right.”

The Social

I met loads of great people at the event and the #istrategy2010 tag helped me find them. I highly recommend them so here is the list!

@yushkalia @PhillipJenkins @RIBenjamin @lars_hilse @_insightz @tamhm @taylorzoe @KerryatDell @hoorayhenry @FZammit @nclangereis @nickwallen

If you get a chance to go to one of the upcoming iStrategy events in Syndey, Singapore, San Jose or Amsterdam I highly recommend going! Visit the iStrategy website for more info.

More detailed notes on the keynotes by Phil Jenkins

iStrategy 2010 Conference – London

iStrategy Conference Day Two

The new Twitter design offers many new features which will enhance and simplify the browsing experience of yr timeline. However the new design also limits us slightly in the way we are able to customize it and create our own branding on our page.

I was searching for the new design specifications online, but found it hard to find any detailed measurements. So I decided to screenshot my newly migrated page and provide you with the basic specifications needed to customize your background and you avatar. Hoping you will find this helpful!


The new center column is twice the width (1020px) of the old design, leaving little room for a rich designed background. Find a template with guides created on a 1440 x 900 px screen resolution, using Firefox. Approximately with this screen resolution there is 190px of width on both sides of the page to be creative.

Download this .jpg in Photshop and turn on the guides (ctrl+;)


The new avatar image is much bigger (128 x 128 px), which is good news! However keep in mind that the smallest version of yr avatar is 24x24px so therefor I do not recommend to design it at the largest size. The timeline version is 48 x 48px and I would highly recommend using this as your reference size to design for. As aggregators such as Tweetdeck and mobile apps also use around this size to display you avatar.

I hope that this is helpful to you with creating your new branded page! :)

see mine at

related links:

New Twitter Obeys the Golden Ratio

New Twitter design guidelines and free PSD layouts

Make your Twitter profile sidebar transparent


As a designer I’ve been always a firm believer that there is no good design which is not based on a deep understanding of the people who will be using the thing I am designing. Understanding them and their context enables me as a designer to create something which is meaningful and relevant to my audience.

The confusion | Now there seems to always be confusion between what people want and what people need. Asking a person or a group of people (e.g. with a questionnaire) what they want, or what they think about something you have confronted them with will sure give you some valuable insights you should always take on board in your design project. But this will not tell you anything about their actual needs.

Ice cream at 8:30 am | Last summer I was on holiday with my son in Italy. When on holiday I tend to be, as most parents are, a bit more relaxed about what he eats (candy, ice cream etc) as that’s what holidays are for, right? So one morning after getting out of bed and making breakfast I ask my son what he would like to eat. His response was ice-cream! Mind you this was 8:30 am!!! Now as a responsible parent I did not give him ice cream, but prepared him some cereals with milk. He complained, of course, but I know I did the right thing.

Now back to the topic…

My son is not yet aware of what he NEEDS to grow up in a healthy way. What nutrients he needs that will give him enough fuel for the day. I have to have a deeper understanding about what is good for him in order to look beyond what he says he wants and actually provide him with what he needs to grow up a healthy child.

This is no different when designing anything for people. People often do not know exactly what it is they need.

So how do we surface these needs?

Now that we have cleared up this confusion, what remains is looking into where to start to uncover the needs that people have. Researching cultural, people, societal, economic and technological trends is where to start. Making future projections of what the drivers and motivations will be of people in the future will enable us to see things that people themselves do not yet see.

Use these drivers to inspire your ideas and design and let the creativity flow. Once the ideas materialize, this is when you want to confront people from your audience with your design to understand if what you’ve created resonates with them and to be able to gather the right insights to further tweak and finalize your design.

In 2008 Mark Churchman and I explored the notion of Brand Behavior in the article How to Make Sure a Brand Behaves Itself published in the Design Management Review of August 2008.

We made a case for the orchestration of all brands’ manifestations according to a set of core values a brand lives by next to the more traditional visual corporate identity.

Marty Neumeier, author the Brand Gap defines “A brand is the consumers feeling about your product, your services or your organization.” This basically means that it is the emotional reaction of a consumer when interacting or thinking about a brand. This is the exact same way we as humans relate to each other.

Relationships between people are based only for a very small part on appearance. Sure we are attracted at first maybe by how somebody looks, dresses etc, but very rapidly as the relationship deepens it is about WHAT someone does, and HOW he or she does it that determines whether the relationship is a good one, or a bad one. As people we never only see our identity as our name, and appearance. It is indeed an element that makes us recognizable, and through fashion we can somewhat express what we are about. But our identity is really formed by our core values that drive our actions and reactions.

Brand are like people. Building a meaningful and ongoing relationship with consumers has never been more essential for a brand than now. With the rise of the influential consumer with the WEB 2.0 revolution and the mobile revolution we are in, understanding the building blocks of a relationship is essential for successfully designing a brand identity that goes beyond a logo, a typeface and a color scheme.

In my opinion a Brand Identity 2.0 should be looked at from these 3 aspects: Why we do what we do, what we do and how we do it

Why we do what we do | First of all a brand obviously needs to be clear about its values, establish clearly what drives the brand. This has to be in line with the expectations of their audiences/consumers.

What we do | To keep a brand’s integrity and authenticity in social media space, what it does has to be driven by the why. The choice of which conversations to engage with and clearly defining what the things are a brand wants to say is key.

How we do it | Now here it becomes interesting from a design point of view, as this really is the actual manifestation of the brand. How the brand engages in social media needs to be carefully designed, written, and styled in such a way that the true character/identity of the brand is truly experienced by the audience.

So if the how is the manifestation of the brand, and therefore what consumers actually experience, this is the brand’s instrument to influence the emotional reaction consumers will have to a brand.

Designing a brand identity in social media has to go beyond the traditional guidelines describing visual elements. A brand needs to define why it engages, what will it say, and how will it say it. By delivering the right brand experience through the dialogue, building an authentic relationship with its consumers.

Am I making sense?

There are many definitions of the word “design”. It is both a verb and a noun, and as such we refer to many things as design.

I’ve noticed that most people refer to “design” when they speak about objects with certain aesthetical qualities. But as a designer of interactive media I have always felt very strong about design being the process we use to get to an end result, and not the result itself. Aesthetics are part of the process but not the only ingredient and certainly not the most important one.

In essence I like to look at the journey we go through as designers in 3 basic steps: Learning, exploring and creating.

Learning | On one side we observe the people we will be creating something for and the context in which they will use it. This to truly understand what it is that will be meaningful and of value to them. On the other we distill and frame the objectives from a business point of view.

Exploring | Based on our newly acquired understanding we explore new ideas. We create sketches where the essence of the ideas are visualized and the true meaning of the ideas is captured. The ideas that best fit the business objectives are selected and refined until a specific idea can be selected.

Creating | The selected idea gets detailed out in all it’s elements: Function, aesthetics and technical specifications. Always keeping the people in mind who will be using whatever it is we are designing. We design for them, not for us.

Of course I have over simplified these steps, but to me this is really what it boils down to if I think of design.

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