All Posts in Non-Profits

May 28, 2014 - Comments Off on DANCING TO YOUR BRAND – How the Pet Shop Boys got me thinking about responsive design.

DANCING TO YOUR BRAND – How the Pet Shop Boys got me thinking about responsive design.

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A few weeks ago, I took a trip back to the 90's by heading down to Terminal 5 for the Pet Shop Boys concert. The British electro-pop duo actually hit it big in the mid-1980's and have never stopped working, but I remember dancing all-out to their club sounds in the early 1990's.

This show was the last stop of their world tour and I had asked several friends to go with me… months in advance. Mood- pretty darn excited by my choice.

As the concert date drew closer, I wondered - will the Pet Shop Boys still feel relevant? Sure I think their music is great, but then I worried, will this be a memorable "experience" for all? or will it feel dated, quirky, and somewhat nostalgic.

Either way I thought this will reflect on me. I know we all worry when we are throwing down big bucks for a concert and coercing friends to go. YOU become the host and you are somehow responsible for everyone enjoying the event. Your mouth is saying "come on... it will be great!", while your brain is whispering - "it had better be since you bought 8-pricey tickets to this shin-dig"!.

Well I have to say the show was amazing. Neil Tennant, and Chris Lowe are still a perfect blend of electro-pop craftsmanship and really interesting performance art. A funky spacious club in New York City was the perfect venue to share the experience. And we really did "share" the experience. All around me people were holding up their Smartphones - taking pics, recording video (see photo above - I took that one at the show) - and thank goodness, since half the time I couldn't see the stage - I could however see it on the phone of the tall person in front of me - revelers were Tweeting, Tumbling, Pinning and sharing the experience in real time.

Which got me to thinking ...

Not that long ago people went to concerts and went nutty. We danced, sang, and sweated and told our friends about it the next day. "You should have seen Blink-182 last night man, it was insane!" (I went mid-2000's here to illustrate my point...remember the first release of the iPhone was June 2007 - and all of the realtime sharing came in the following years).

So my thought. Technology moves faster than a one-hit-wonder drops in the charts.

Right now, We are a culture in motion.

Everyone participates in the moment equally in realtime. Snaps and videos of your experience are up online before you leave the parking lot.

My question to friends, clients, and potential clients is this.... are people dancing to your brand? Or is your website a Wallflower? (Yes I know another great band from the past).

Internet browsing from smartphones and tablets grew 35% from Q4 2012 to Q4 2013. Simply put - Almost a third of global Internet traffic to North American web sites—31.3%—in the fourth quarter of 2013, came from smartphones and tablets, according to marketing and public relations firm Walker Sands Communications’.

According to Mill and Brown Research, per day Americans spend -147 minutes on mobile phones, 113 minutes viewing television, and only 108 minutes on their PC. easy to see who is winning the race here.

Now ask yourself - How does your company's website hold up when you hold your phone up? How are people accessing your website? Is it a satisfying user experience?

In the same way I thought about my friends judging me based on a concert experience… I wonder, how are your clients judging your brand based on the mobile experience your website provides? Does your site feel relevant? Is it satisfying and engaging? Is your mobile web experience worth sharing and talking about? Or does it feel dated, quirky, and somewhat nostalgic?

The Mechanism has been a pioneer of Responsive Design from its earliest days.

Check out our own site right now on your smartphone or tablet.

Functional design and a pleasing user interface, these are the things that excite me as a designer, creator and a user.

Note how our site reconfigures gracefully to maintain large action buttons, and behold - text that remains readable. Fluid grids and flexible images are the cornerstone to a satisfying user experience. Other benefits include interactive calls to action such as one-tap to dial a phone number within your site, one-tap to email or interact with your site.

Just imagine... all you Non-Profit organizations out there, this could mean the difference between an immediate digital donation or a delayed action that is never acted upon.

The opportunity for your clients to take immediate action is in the palm of their hands.

I could go on however, I would rather invite you to join in a conversation.

The Mechanism's first of this seasons in-house conversations on best practices for your digital brand experience will kick off on Friday, June 13th, at 8:30 am at our place.

We will be featuring an intimate chat with our Founder and Executive Director Dave Fletcher about True Responsive Design and your brand experience.

We have limited seating and coffee. If you would like to join us please register by clicking here!

Can't attend? Just contact me directly to chat - 212-221-3444 x-102

Best,

Michael

 

April 29, 2014 - Comments Off on Meeting Milton

Meeting Milton

Meeting Milton art R2sAt the end 2013..... before this final season of Mad Men was in the can, I had the unexpected and most extraordinary opportunity to MEET Milton Glaser. Not only to meet the demiurge of 20th-century eclecticism in communications design, but to actually hang out in his studio space and chat with the man. This is that same comfortable and time-worn space in which Mr. Glaser has, for over 40 years, created some of the most memorable and thoughtful artwork, poster design, identity programs, campaigns and so much more.

His clients, those seeking meaning in their marketing efforts, comprise a diverse range of enterprise from film, music, theater and publishing, to cultural, civic and institutional entities. They came to Mister Glaser for something remarkable, some insight that would flick on a light switch for almost everyone who encountered his work.

Do I sound like a giddy schoolboy? That's fine. I came for the same thing. Something remarkable. Some insight that would reaffirm why we designers love to create.

I graduated from my design program during the mid-1980's when Milton already had attained mythological status. This was the era when post-modernism and deconstructionist sensibilities were part of a standard discourse. The notion of articulating expressions of the hand-drawn could instill value and meaning by adding a layer of subtext to anything from an annual report to a poster about AIDS awareness.

I have to wonder, as I work in a predominantly digital realm, are we still as invested in the subtext of meaning in crafting a deeper message? A deeper experience? Can we be digital and deep?

And so I had an audience with someone who in my book, may as well be the 5th Beatle. Or perhaps a better analogy would be....the Gautama Buddha of creative thinking and brand design.

As I walked across 32nd Street, my hands were clammy and my heart raced. I rehearsed one or two of what I thought where intelligent observations or questions about Mr. Glaser's place in design history.  But how did I even get here? Who am I to have this opportunity? The afternoon was orchestrated by a former teaching colleague of mine. I had taught at the SUNY College at Buffalo NY for some ten years before I came to NYC To be a Mad Man once again. I sort of strong-armed my way into the event when I heard Milton Glaser had agreed to chat with a small group of students. And so here I was a crass commercial digital Mad Man, posing as an intellectual once again. Hoping no one will notice that I was torn, as most of us are, between both meaning and money.

Walking up to the building, I was delighted by the thoughtful phrase etched in the glass transom above the outside front door. "Art is work". A simple true statement.  This was going to be good.

We waited for Milton in an area that felt like the small kitchen in an old grade school. The afternoon's autumnal sunlight warming the yellow wood trim on the window sills. Artifacts of Milton's tremendously productive career on the shelving all around the room.

There was a large wooden dinner table from the 1960's with not enough seats around it for the nine of us, and so I chose to stand. While we waited some twenty minutes for Milton to join us, the other professors and the small group of college students chatted excitedly and rehearsed their questions with each other. I, the self-invited interloper, remained on the quiet side, rehearsing my little question in my head. Partly because I wanted to get it right, partly because I didn't want to share my thoughts ahead of time. I preferred to sound cool and casual.

And so Milton joined us. He beams kindness and understanding as he sits at the head of this well-worn table. "What can I possibly do for you all today"?  The question was directed at me. I realized I was mistaken as the leader since I was the only one standing in the group. I had to explain that Professor Pete Bella had put this together and these were his students. I was simply too far away from the closest chair when the music stopped, and so here I stood.

The first thing one notices as he speaks, is that Milton is extremely articulate and thereby quite economic in his use of words. There is not one syllable wasted on trifle and I imagine each of us around the table was thinking "I wish I were more like that - thoughtful and direct". I realized that he says so much with imagery and artistry in his daily life, that his understanding of those things around us and those things we are talking about, comes from a deeper reflection on life that is constant like a Zen Master. That his internal perspective is well considered, calm, and calming.

We were poised and ready.  Professor Bella asked Mr. Glaser to share with us what he thought the future held for young designers. I asked my well rehearsed "off the cuff" question, about his push against the cool aesthetics of Mid-Century Modernism by introducing a New Eclecticism that infused humor and ornamentation into the culture of corporate design.

What we got instead was a lovely story. 
Milton shared something that he saw on PBS the night before. (Suck-up that I am, I happened to have seen much of this show as well, and so I locked eyes with my buddy Milton and added my small comments of agreement- desperate to be liked by the man).

The story was about a blind horse and a goat. They had a most unlikely and loving relationship wherein the goat would take the Horse's rope-tether in his mouth every morning and lead the horse to both food and water. They sat in the sun together. They communicated.  When the horse eventually died, he was buried under a tree on the hillside where the goat and horse spent much of their time. After the horses passing, that goat would walk alone everyday, all the way to the spot where the horse was buried and just sit there.... all day.

It is a beautiful story I have shortened here. Milton shared that with us....and as he finished he held his right hand over his heart. He paused, filled with the love and meaning of that relationship. He was overwhelmed. He smiled a slow smile and gave us time to share that feeling.

We all took in that moment. Whether you had seen the PBS show or not, everyone in that room was moved.  In that short opening Milton conveyed so much meaning and clarity without being didactic or obvious. That is his gift. Milton Glaser has an ability to design, create, and communicate, while maintaining the human in humanity.

We did eventually speak more directly about design process and its place in our culture. Milton was also very clear about his distaste for advertising and marketing as a pure form of propaganda. He was adamantly against using our powers to persuade the unsuspecting individual to purchase things they don't need. To manufacture desire where there was none. He spoke of the political ramifications of the power of good design.  Advertising, whose job was to sell dreams and create desire can be used for good...or for profit....or possibly both.

I know it sounds obvious, but as we basked in that radiant intellect, we realized that we each have the power to speak to the human condition.

As I left that day, saying good-bye to my good friends, Professors Stan Friesen and Pete Bella, and my new friend Milton Glaser, I was still giddy. I carry that with me everyday. (that and a selfie of me n Milton) - And I thank Milton for the conscious appreciation and new energy.

I can say with confidence that everything is OK in the design world. 
Horses and Goats not only get along, but live and love in harmony.

And YES it is OK to feel deeply and design digitally.

Published by: michaelanthony in Non-Profits, The Design Mechanism
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March 31, 2014 - Comments Off on James Beard Foundation Launches JBF Kitchen Cam

James Beard Foundation Launches JBF Kitchen Cam

Our friends at the James Beard Foundation are doing something very exciting. Starting tonight they are launching #JBFKitchenCam:

Anyone who has ever dined at the Beard House knows that the experience includes an opportunity to pass through the townhouse's historic kitchen and see our visiting chefs at work. Starting next Monday, anyone with a computer or a mobile device will get to peep the action, too.

On March 31, we're launching the JBF Kitchen Cam, a live, three-angle camera feed that captures the excitement and atmosphere of the 200+ dining eventsthat take place at the Beard House over the course of a year. The official launch coincides with a special dinner by JBF Award–winning chef Daniel Boulud, featuring a menu inspired by his latest cookbook and memoir, Daniel: My French Cuisine.

 

Looking forward to checking it out tonight.

 

April 29, 2013 - Comments Off on Menu Metropolitain

Menu Metropolitain

I hope you are enjoying the fairer weather that has suddenly arrived...finally and thankfully. I was glad to simply have a home weekend and spent most of it asleep. It was well needed. One of our wonderful clients, the James Beard Foundation, has their big award season coming up. It means lots of work for them and for us, but it's all well and good thanks to this jolly old guy below.

A fantastic foundation for an outstanding man

I've been living in NYC for quite awhile now and though I still hesitate to call myself a New Yorker (Brooklyn for life!), I've definitely grown familiar with the ins and outs of the city. The James Beard Foundation is just one of the many wonders the city possesses amongst its many restaurants, theaters, museums, and more. And it's all underpinned by the city's constantly expanding subway. Check out these marvelous photos of what's going on beneath our feet care of the MTA!

East Side Access East Side Access

And like any great metropolitan center, we have our amazing selection of splendid museums. The famous Metropolitan Museum of Art on the East Side has a sparkly new website with great modern look and adaptive layout. Be sure to look through the upcoming exhibits and visit if you can. The site aims to add a fresh layer of visual stimulation to their more traditional homepage.

For all its beauty, one spends so much time head tucked down or in the previously mentioned tunnels it's easy to forget the beauty all around this metropolis. This groovy mirrored video montage of the city by Sebastien Desmedt is a fantastic reminder of the city's many marvels. I especially love the way the easy-to-abuse reflection effect plays off the repetition and pattern naturally found in a city, giving the entire thing a sense of normalcy despite the persistent manipulation.

The Sketching Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Mondays, containing the artistic musings of Mobile Designer/Developer Ben Chirlin during our Monday morning meeting at the NY Creative Bunker as well as his inspiring artistic finds of the week.

Published by: benchirlin in Non-Profits, The Internal Mechanism
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April 10, 2012 - Comments Off on The Mechanism and The James Beard Foundation Launch New Website With James Beard Awards’ Nominees Announcement

The Mechanism and The James Beard Foundation Launch New Website With James Beard Awards’ Nominees Announcement

NEW YORK, NY, April 10, 2012 — On Monday, March 19, 2012 the James Beard Foundation launched their new website at JamesBeard.org in conjunction with the announcement of their nominees for the 2012 James Beard Awards.

Developed by The Mechanism to coincide with the Foundation’s 25th Anniversary taking place this year, the new website focuses on the Foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture and preserve America's diverse culinary heritage and future, in a one-stop online location.

Using innovative filtering mechanisms, the site provides food lovers easy access to a vast library of award-winning recipes and up-to-date listings of events at the historic James Beard House. James Beard Foundation members also receive additional benefits including the ability to curate their favorite recipes, Chefs and events.

“We are delighted with the exciting new website we were able to create with the technical support, creative input, and overall enthusiasm of the great team at The Mechanism.”

- Mitchell Davis, James Beard Foundation Executive Vice President

From information on their leadership awards and annual food conference, to their beloved blog and active social media presence, to supporting culinary scholarships, to showcasing great epicurean experiences with renowned chefs, to the highly-anticipated James Beard Awards, JamesBeard.org is now a robust gateway to the many initiatives the James Beard Foundation produces each year.

“It was exciting to work with the enthusiastic and highly creative team at The James Beard Foundation,” said Dave Fletcher, Founder & Director, The Mechanism, New York City. “We believe that the myriad functional and visual enhancements to the website will surprise and delight their diversified audience, and the new “member-only” features will keep them returning to the site and sharing their experiences with friends and family into the future.”

“We are delighted with the exciting new website we were able to create with the technical support, creative input, and overall enthusiasm of the great team at The Mechanism,” said James Beard Foundation Executive Vice President Mitchell Davis. “They took the time to understand the goals of our organization and our role in the ever-dynamic food world and weave them through our new site in unexpected, fun, and effective ways.”

Formed in New York City in 2001, The Mechanism is a collaborative technical and creative digital agency. They provide web, mobile, print, brand development, copy writing and search engine optimization services to clients ranging from SMEs and small-cap public companies to Fortune 500s.

Contact
The Mechanism, North America
Sharon Terry
+1 212 221 3444
Sharon.Terry@themechanism.com

Published by: sharonterry in Non-Profits, The Working Mechanism

March 2, 2012 - Comments Off on Peter Diamandis “Abundance is our future”: The Thinking Mechanism

Peter Diamandis “Abundance is our future”: The Thinking Mechanism

This week we've been under deadline and taking little breaks here and there to follow TED2012. We would like to finish the week with a TED Talk fresh from the TED2012 stage from our friend Peter Diamandis.  He makes a case for optimism -- that we'll invent, innovate and create ways to solve the challenges that loom over us. "I’m not saying we don’t have our set of problems; we surely do. But ultimately, we knock them down.”

 

 

The Thinking Mechanism is a series of weekly posts written by Antonio Ortiz and published on Fridays, covering the ideas The Mechanism is thinking and talking about with our peers and clients. 

Published by: antonioortiz in Non-Profits, The Thinking Mechanism, The Working Mechanism

September 14, 2011 - Comments Off on The Mechanism and The James Beard Foundation Prepare to Cook Up a Delicious Online Presence

The Mechanism and The James Beard Foundation Prepare to Cook Up a Delicious Online Presence

Contact:
The Mechanism, North America
Sharon Terry
+1 212 221 3444
Sharon.Terry@themechanism.com

NEW YORK, NY September 14, 2011 — Nonprofit culinary arts organization The James Beard Foundation has hired The Mechanism to help them establish a modern and effective web experience through powerful back and front-end development and online marketing. This fresh approach will allow The James Beard Foundation to utilize robust social media tools to better reach and expand their audiences. It will also encourage site visitors to not only connect with the Foundation, but to connect with fellow food and wine lovers around the world, enhancing their culinary and social experiences. Additionally, the site will offer improved online benefits to members.

The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to celebrate, nurture, and preserve America's diverse culinary heritage and future. Their programs run the gamut from elegant guest-chef dinners, to scholarships for aspiring culinary students, to educational conferences, to industry awards.

“We are delighted to partner with The James Beard Foundation to take their online presence to the next level,” said Dave Fletcher, Founding Partner, The Mechanism, New York City. “The Mechanism and The James Beard Foundation teams are working hand-in-hand to create the ultimate foodie experience for their members as well as future members.”

“The James Beard Foundation is excited to be working with The Mechanism to take our online presence to the next level,” said JBF vice president Mitchell Davis. “Food is such an important part of why people engage with digital media. We are looking forward to enriching the breadth and depth of the experience the Beard Foundation brings to the table.”

The Mechanism is a full-service digital agency founded in 2001 with offices in New York, London and Durban, South Africa. They provide a distinct brand-focused approach, demystifying and guiding the use of technology in a highly strategic manner.

December 30, 2008 - Comments Off on Support OneWebDay on Change.org

Support OneWebDay on Change.org

Change.org is a citizen-driven effort to identify the best ideas to effect the change the Obama Administration has promised. Anyone can go to http://change.org/ideas and submit a policy idea, discuss with others and vote on the best ideas from around the country.

OneWebDay, the Earth Day of the internet, has submitted a proposal to make OneWebDay a national day. Please review their full proposal below, and, if you support it, vote for it at Change.org.

The idea behind OneWebDay is to focus attention on a key Internet value (universal access and digital literacy in 2009), focus attention on local Internet concerns (connectivity, censorship, individual skills) and create a global constituency that cares about protecting and defending the Internet. OneWebDay is like an Earth Day for the Internet, celebrated every September 22 since 2006! We are building an organization that works like the Web: an open platform that supports collaboration on annual projects that educate and activate a broad range of communities about issues that are important for the Internet's future.

In recognition of President-elect Obama's deep understanding of the power of the Internet and his stated pledge to bring "true broadband to every community in America," we hope that the new Administration will recognize OneWebDay and partner with us in 2009 to organize a week of national (and global) service to bring more access and skills to communities that are still left behind in the new digital world.

Tomorrow is the deadline! Please take action and vote at Change.org now!

Published by: jeffreybarke in Non-Profits, The Programming Mechanism

August 13, 2008 - Comments Off on ISOC-NY monthly meeting

ISOC-NY monthly meeting

ISOC-NY's August monthly meeting will take place tomorrow, 14 August 2008, at NYU.

Date: Thursday, 14 Aug 2008
Time: 7:00 pm–9:00 pm
Location: Room 317, 251 Mercer Street NYC (SW corner of West 4th)
Note: Use the entrance on the west side since construction blocks the Mercer Street entrance. Must bring photo ID.

Agenda

  • Meet new members. We expect and welcome new faces!
  • By-laws reform. Progress report from Joseph Shraibman.
  • Planning future meetings and events. Good news is we have just received a sizable grant from ISOC-NY for our Fall program.
  • ISXubuntu Linux project progress report. News from our trusty coders.
  • OneWebDay planning progress report. Washington Square Sep 22 event taking shape.
  • NYC Broadband. Discussion of new report from from the Mayor's office.
  • ICANN. We have been accepted as an at-large structure.
  • Status of Connecting .NYC. An update from Tom Lowenhaupt.
  • Web standards. How can we make our own site more W3C compliant?

Jeffrey Barke is senior developer and information architect at theMechanism, a multimedia firm with offices in New York, London and Durban, South Africa.

Published by: jeffreybarke in Non-Profits, The Programming Mechanism
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June 21, 2008 - Comments Off on OneWebDay

OneWebDay

OneWebDay, a global celebration of the Web, is looking for 100 ambassadors for the 100 days leading up to this year's event (22 September 2008). OneWebDay ambassadors take a day to talk to their community (it can be as simple as a blog post!) about their values and how those values tie to OneWebDay's 2008 theme of participatory democracy.

To view the schedule, visit http://www.onewebday.org/base/index.php/OWD_Ambassadors_2008. To become an ambassador, contact volunteer@onewebday.org.

For more information, visit the formal invitation to be an ambassador and the OneWebDay slideshow.

Jeffrey Barke is senior developer and information architect at theMechanism, a multimedia firm with offices in New York, London and Durban, South Africa.

Published by: jeffreybarke in Non-Profits, The Programming Mechanism
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