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Cartoon Network Rebrands for 2009

New year and new channel identity work already launching. My friends at LA-based Capacity rebrands category leader Cartoon Network for 2009. While the 2006 rebrand of NBC collected industry-wide attention for its distinctly interactive feel, the new brand assignment for client Cartoon Network includes some wonderfully devised characters (designed by the team at KidRobot).

Described as:

An interchangeable system of elements that gathered all of CN’s characters into one place. The blank figures, called Noods,  are canvases upon which characters of all shapes, sizes, and styles can coexist. The resulting world is a playground of rich colors and unlimited combinations, ownable only by Cartoon Network.

The rebrand/reel soundtrack was produced by Capacity as well.

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Design business to weather economic storm? Hopeful new research

When times are tough, the inclination is to cut discretionary spending to things like design and brand marketing. Not so fast says a new report out by the Design Council. The UK study reports that half of businesses:

… are looking to design their way out of downturn
Over half (54%) of the firms in our survey thought design would contribute to a large or great extent in helping maintain their competitive edge in the current economic climate.

… think design is more important now
Similarly, 53% thought that design had become more important in helping the firm to achieve its business objectives over the last three years.

… think design is integral to the economic performance of the UK
The same number agreed or strongly agreed that design is integral to the country’s future economic performance.

During challenging times, investments in creative, including advertising and brand development may in fact give a business a competitive edge over rivals who are reining in their design and innovation budgets in order to save money.

With the credit markets slowly showing signs of thaw, design firms must step up their efforts in promoting brand solutions that deliver both creatively and economically. It seems even big corporate CEOs agree.

American Express chief executive Ken Chenault told Fortune magazine:

A difficult economic environment argues for the need to innovate more, not to pull back.

Similarly, in September 2008 following a crisis in the global financial markets and in the face of an impending worldwide recession, Intel’s chairman Craig Barrett told Reuters:

We’ve always had the attitude that you have to make that investment in good times and bad.

The he(art) and business of motion graphics

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Who knew celebrity swearing could be so fun?

With Scrubs migrating from NBC to ABC this week, maybe we can finally repurpose that Channel 4 on-air promo people couldn’t stop talking about. Sadly- this could never run in the States. Here again are some of your favorites, including recently relocated Scrub stars Sarah Chalke, Judy Reyes, Ken Jenkins, and Zach Braff.

And in case you forgot, this advert contains very strong language and we wouldn’t recommend playing it with your speakers on loud.

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UK Study: Design Business up in 2009

Some good news for a change. The Design Council has published a new study (Jan 2009) revealing 54% of UK businesses are planning to use design to help them survive the economic downturn. It’s National Survey of Firms, reveals that “far from retreating to safety and resorting to cutting costs, increasing number of firms are using design as a powerful tool to help combat the toughest economic condition in decades.”

The study, which is based in the UK, showed that the number of firms who regarded design as integral to their operations doubled in the past three years from 15 to 30%. Although this study covers design within a broad spectrum of specialties, it is upbeat news for designers working in the image & branding verticals.

This confirms our recent observations of a noticeable uptick of direct-to-client business moving to broadcast design shops from traditional ad agency relationships. This is encouraging news for creative boutiques that offer image, brand strategy, vfx and production as a ‘one-roof’, direct-to-client offering.

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Nat Geo IDs first to be shot in Zero Gravity

Brothers and Sisters Creative Director Steve Shannon creates stir with first of a kind IDs for National Geographic. Admittedly, we’ll soon be running out of content if we’re now shooting spots in NASA-styled space suits.

Interestingly, Nat Geo ran a promo campaign prior titled “What would you like to see floating in Zero Gravity?”I would have suggested a hippopotamus or jellyfish, but I digress. Nice viewer interaction tie-in.

Props to the team at the London-based agency for their ingenuity. A special thanks to Fran for always responding to my emails within (what seems like) mere seconds.

Here are the idents as well as a ‘making of’ vignette.

You can read more about the production here.

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