Monthly Archives: November, 2013

Infographic: What is the Deal with Hanukkah, Anyway?

Hanukkah 101

Infographic: Talking Turkey (Happy Thanksgiving!)

Talking Turkey Infographic

Infographic: United States Flag Laws

For any nation, the flag is a source of great pride, whether it’s being flown on a national holiday or being waved in the air at a sporting event. This is certainly no exception in the United States. The American flag has become just as much a part of the American identity as baseball, apple pie and fruited plains.

In fact, so important is the flag to the people of America that there are several laws in place to make sure that it is flown, stored, and cared for properly. They range from the simple rules of respect (don’t put any marks or drawings on the flag) to the slightly more specific (how a flag should be raised to half-mast).

This infographic breaks down all of these laws, and also takes a look at how the American flag has evolved throughout history, from 15 stars at the beginning to the 50 we know today.

U.S. Flag Laws

Infographic: What Time Some Famous Bosses Wake Up Each Day

Waking up is hard. Most of us would love to sleep in. Getting that extra hour or so of sleep can make all the difference to some of our temperament for the day. But there are other things, possibly important things that could be accomplished while you are getting that extra sleep.. The benefits of waking up earlier are significant. You can get that work out in, read the newspaper, etc. You can get to the bagel shop before breakfast rush comes in. You would have more time to prepare yourself for the day to come.

Taking time to be more proactive in the morning is what everyone should do at least do once or twice a week. Getting up before most people are awake would give you that special quiet time to get organized and a time to plan things out thoroughly. If you get to the gym early, you’ll practically have the whole place to yourself. Exercise and going to sleep early will grant you more motivation and energy throughout your day.

This infographic displays a few high-profile business leaders that get their day started early. Chances are the majority of us may not ever become the CEO of a company. One thing for sure is that many of us can definitely utilize time more wisely in order to be better and more successful. Success comes to those who have the will to seek it. Take charge of the morning and get your worms, Early Bird! [Source]


Today’s Most Popular Logos: Their Evolution, Triumphs and Failures


I came across an interesting article about logo evolution in Business Insider written by Jason Nazar (photo, right). Mr. Nazar is the co-founder and CEO of, one of the premier online website for small businesses that provides the best quality and largest selection of documents and resources to help start, grow and manage  your small business and professional life.

Mr. Nazar states that a logo is the visual  representation of your company’s identity. Consumers are exposed to a lot of  logos throughout the day, and they tend to treat logos the same way they would  human faces. They will pass many logos they are unfamiliar with on the street or down the grocery aisle, but if they recognize the face of a dear old friend in the crowd, they are more likely to approach that person and engage with them.

Jason points out this is the reaction every brand hopes to elicit from its logo: fondness and comfort with a touch of excitement. Every logo must walk the fine line between  nostalgia and modernity; you want to remain your lovable self, while staying current.

Many of the largest brands iterate on their logos regularly, and some of  their changes are more drastic than others. Some of history’s biggest logo  evolutions were a step forward for their companies, but others prompted a  negative response from customers. Let’s take a look at the best (and the worst)  logo progressions of all time, and see what we can learn from them.

Radical but Effective Changes

Most corporate logos go through rather natural evolutions that adapt with  changes in consumer tastes. Companies design new logos in order to embrace new  cultural design aesthetics, but still make a point to maintain recognizable  elements of their brand. Starbucks provides a good example of a logo progression  that eases customers into a new style while preserving the essence of their old  logo:

Some changes, however, are not quite as gradual. These are some of the more  extreme logo shifts throughout history that took a leap and succeeded. These  monumental brand shifts were the result of company name changes, rebranding  efforts, tackling new markets, or significant business pivots.


Canon was originally called Seikikōgaku kenkyūsho (translated to Precision  Optical Industry Co.), and they were responsible for producing Japan’s first  35mm camera, which was called the “Kwanon.” This early 1934 logo depicts Kwanon  (an enlightened female being who is revered in East Asian Buddhism) sitting on a  lotus flower with thousands of arms. Soon Canon dropped the visual depiction of  Kwanon, and in 1947 decided to change its name to Canon instead. This name and  logo change opened Canon up to a more international market and has served them  well for decades.


We’re all familiar with the famous bitten apple, but few are aware of the  quaint, vintage-style logo originally used by the now multi-billion-dollar  company. Apple’s first logo, designed by then co-founder Ron Wayne in 1976,  featured a pastoral scene of Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree.  Later that year Steve Jobs hired graphic designer Rob Janoff, who simplified the  logo to just an apple and included a bite so that it wouldn’t be confused with a  cherry. Steve Jobs insisted that Janoff also make it colorful, to humanize the  company and make it seem more welcoming (this “colorful” approach was also  successful with their first generation of iMac desktops, which were meant to  appeal to the average, non-tech-savvy user). Today, Apple has adopted a much  sleeker look to match its smooth and glossy gadgetry, but their logo maintains  the original apple silhouette that brought them so much fame.


The pixelated, 90s-style red logo you see above was used very briefly during  the early days of the internet. Yahoo! quickly went on to design the logo style  that most of us are familiar with, the playful (but much cleaner) font that  lasted all the way through this year. In August of 2013 Yahoo! announced that a  new version of their logo would be released in a month, and Marissa Mayer used  the 30-day countdown to promote the logo creation process as well as their newly  revamped “My Yahoo” homepage product. Click here to learn more about how the public has reacted  to their logo change.


When Jim Casey merged his American Messenger Company with a competitor and  created the United Parcel Service in 1917, he designed his first logo with an  eagle carrying a parcel and the words “Safe, Swift, Sure” written on the side.  They used their black-and-white parcel logo from 1961 to 2003, and interestingly  returned to their old brown-and-gold color scheme in their 2003 redesign after  over 40 years of a colorless logo.


NBC has gone through some sweeping changes since their first design. NBC  began as a radio station broadcast network as early as the 1920s, and used a  microphone logo from the 20s until 1942. Their timeless rainbow peacock design  emerged in 1956 to celebrate and encourage the ubiquity of color televisions.  This peacock logo experienced many permutations throughout the decades, and  today some people don’t even realize that the NBC logo is supposed to be  evocative of a bird.


This aquatic Nokia logo from 1865 may seem fishy, but that’s because Nokia  has gone through some serious pivots since its launch. It started as a Finnish  paper mill, and opened a second mill near the town of Nokia on the Nokianvirta  river (hence the logo’s water theme). Since then, Nokia has changed focus a lot,  creating everything from rubber goods to electronics.

Bold yet Ineffective Redesigns

Almost all logos need to evolve, but when companies move forward they  occasionally take a step in the wrong direction. In an attempt to keep up with  the more simple and modern design trends, a brand sometimes misses the mark and  ends up alienating and confusing their loyal customers.

Here are a few logo modifications that have been generally regarded as “mistakes,” and which their companies ended up retracting. Let’s see what we can  learn from their blunders. (Tip: Before letting your logo hit the market, learn  how to do logo research and get feedback on your  designs).


The logo change seen above was generally considered a PR disaster for the  Gap, who decided in 2010 to stray from their famous blue and white box and try  something more “contemporary.” The new logo received a lot of extremely negative  reactions, and it was dropped after less than a week. Their president, Marka  Hansen, resigned not long after the debacle. The reality was that the Gap’s  original logo was well-liked by customers and it already had a rather modern  edge to it; many fans felt the new logo looked a little too much like basic  clipart—moving towards a clean-looking logo is popular, but remember that  there’s a fine line between minimalism and too simple.


Kraft has been around for a long time, and many of its brands have been in  production for well over 100 years. Kraft’s logo has always had a familiar blue  font surrounded by a red oval, but in a 2009 press release Kraft announced that they were  giving their “logo a facelift to more clearly deliver ‘delicious’” through a  colorful burst and a blue line reminiscent of a smile. It would be a little  presumptuous to dismiss this redesign as a “failure,” since some fans ended up  being receptive to it, but many customers felt the logo was a little too different and not reminiscent of Kraft at all. No red oval,  lowercase instead of capitalized letters and a whole new color scheme. This is  perhaps why Kraft has held off using this new logo on their actual packaging;  when customers are walking down the aisle, you want them to immediately  recognize your products.


In 2009, Tropicana eliminated their old straw-in-orange look for more  modern-looking cartons. On the surface, Tropicana did everything right; they’d  been using the same imagery for decades, and wanted a cleaner look while  maintaining the same colors and theme. However, President Neil Campbell admitted  that they “underestimated the deep emotional bond” that loyal customers had with  that red-and-white straw protruding from a juicy orange. Many customers also  complained that the new design looked too similar to other brands, and they  confused Tropicana with other generic options when shopping. Tropicana quickly  returned to using their original logo, and probably will do so for years to  come. The lesson? Sometimes what you believe is holding your company back is  actually what sets you apart from your competitors.

Tip: Need help creating a logo? Learn more about logo creation and other  business design skills with this free online course.

I also encourage you to visit Jason’s Web site for here.

Infographic: Rubik’s Cube Solved in 20 Moves (or Less)

Rubik's Cube

WIRED: Mapping America’s Restless Interstate Migration Without a Map

California Migration [Click image to go to WIRED article]

Source: BETSY MASON, 11/20/2013, WIRED

There is a temptation with any kind of data that has a geographical aspect to display it on a map. While maps are by far the best way to convey many of these data, sometimes they are not. This is one of those times.

Even though data on migration between states would seem to cry out to be mapped, this circular visualization by independent data journalist Chris Walker (@cpwalker07) can convey a lot of information far more neatly than a map. Patterns leap out that might have been obscured on a single map, or required many maps to convey the same information (see images below).

“It’s useful to think beyond maps especially for cases where you want to show interconnectedness between regions, which is what I was trying to do,” Walker wrote in an email to WIRED.

[NOTE: The interactive map discussed below can be found on WIRED’s site by clicking the link here. I should note that it worked best for me using Google Chrome]

When I first saw Walker’s migration circle (which he built using D3.js), it looked like a jumble that was impossible to untangle, but that’s before I realized it was interactive. If you haven’t already, mouse over the graphic to display information from single states to see where people from that state moved to last year, and where the people who moved into that state came from. More than 7 million Americans moved within the country, so if you’re looking for a time sink, you’ll find it in this circle.

“I think we can learn a lot from migration patterns,” Walker wrote in an email. “In a way, migration flows are one of the oldest forms of crowdsourcing. They tell you which geographies the crowd deems to be low-opportunity, and which the crowd deems to be high-opportunity.”

I live in California, so I started there. I love this state, and it seems to me people are moving here all the time. But it turns out, more people are leaving (73,345 more). As you can see in the snapshot to the right, Californians don’t usually stray too far though, tending to migrate to other western states. Or Texas. A likely explanation for the outflux is that you could buy a mansion in some parts of the country for the same amount as a 2 bed, 1 bath house in the Bay Area.

Despite the initial jumble, a couple of things jump out before you even begin interacting with the graphic. A lot of people are moving out of New York (135,793 net loss) and ending up all over the place, including the other side of the country. The same is true for the Midwest, with people mostly landing in the Southeast, Southwest and California. These trends are clearer when you look at individual states, but the broader trends would be easier to grasp if you could mouse over the region names to see where, say, everyone in the Northeast moved.

One thing to note as you look at what’s happening with New York, for example, is that only exchanges of at least 10,000 people are depicted. This, Walker says in his blog post, is to keep the graphic from becoming to messy. So, while many people are moving into New York, most of them aren’t shown because they are coming from many different places in smaller numbers.

Some of the other things Walker noticed include that fact that a lot of people are moving to Florida, many of them likely retirees. “Interestingly the state contributing the most migrants to Florida is neighboring Georgia,” Walker wrote in his blog. “Texas, New York and North Carolina are the next largest contributors.”

The second largest draw for migrants was Texas. “Over 500,000 people moved to Texas in 2012,” Walker wrote. “People tend to come from the Southeast, Southwest and the West, with the biggest contributor being California. 62,702 Californians packed up and moved to the Lone Star state in 2012.”

People who leave D.C. don’t really leave, generally moving next door to Virginia or Maryland. In contrast, people moving from Maine and Alaska are chasing the sun all the way to California and Florida. Check out his blog post for more insight.

In contrast to Walker’s circular visualization, old census atlases used maps to show the migration data. In August, we visited the Prelinger Library here in San Francisco and took a look at some of these atlases in their collection. In the images below, you can see how the data was displayed. On the right is a map showing where New York natives lived in 1890. New York has the most natives, unsurprisingly, and is the darkest. But the migration pattern is similar to 2012 with New Yorkers heading all over the place. These maps highlight some of the limitations of maps for displaying this kind of data.

Maps from the 1890 Census Atlas at the Prelinger Library in San Francisco. (Ariel Zambelich/WIRED)

Diane Disney Miller (1933 – 2013)

Diane Disney Miller

Today, with deep sadness, The Walt Disney Family Museum shared that Diane Disney Miller has passed away. Diane died of complications from a fall.

Diane was the eldest daughter of Walt and Lillian Disney, wife to Ron Miller, mother of seven children, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend, and an inspiration to all. She was an extraordinary philanthropist and enthusiastic supporter of the arts. Diane carried on her father’s legacy with dignity, grace, and devotion.

While the family appreciates your thoughts and prayers, they kindly request that their privacy is respected at this time.

In lieu of flowers and gifts, donations may be made to the memorial fund that The Walt Disney Family Museum has created in honor of Diane Disney Miller. Donations will support the museum’s ongoing education efforts, exhibitions, and programs.

Donations and cards can also be sent to the family through The Walt Disney Family Museum, attn: Director’s Office; 104 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94129

Services will be private and the museum has not yet planned a public commemoration of Diane, but a possible program or event may be scheduled in the future.

DataViz Cartoon: The Analytics of Failure

From Timo Elliott of SAP.

The Analytics of Failure


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