Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Thursday Top 5



Flying pengiuns



Counting to 4 with Feist and Sesame Street



I’m a PC
Microsoft’s fighting back against Apple’s “I’m a Mac” ads, and so far the ad campaign is pretty good.



I’m a Wii



The real hunt for Red October
Author David Hagberg and former USSR Naval Chief Engineer Boris Gindin tell the true story of the events that inspired Tom Clancy’s novel. Red October’s one of my favorite thriller movies, so I’m definitely interested in reading Hagberg and Gindin’s Mutiny.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Where have all the citations gone?

A few lifetimes ago I was a marketing and communications specialist for nonprofits, most notably for Bay Area Action and its later incarnation as Acterra.

For a few years I wrote and/or edited weekly email newsletters and action alerts. I started doing this for the Headwaters Forest Project at BAA, then created a weekly EcoCalendar of events all around the Bay Area, and later founded Acterra's first general email newsletter.

During that span of about eight years, I also performed a lot of other communications functions, especially surrounding the Headwaters issue. For a few years my website and email list were the best sources for news on the controversies emanating from the North Coast, and I fielded inquiries from small and big sources alike, everyone from elementary school students to the big media outlets such as Time and CNN.

I spoke at events (the Green Party's state convention comes to mind) and universities (I presented to a Stanford law class once, which was a bit unnerving, but then I reminded myself they were just students), I did radio interviews, I fielded calls and emails and faxes from reporters all over the world, and my email list contained addresses from places as far-flung as Japan and Australia and people from the press, government, and even Hollywood.

Copy this, please

This all happened in a time when the migration of such information to the Internet was much, much less frequent, and a lot harder to do. Nevertheless, lots of people copied my emails and forwarded them along to others. Which is what we wanted. Unlike commercial material, for which one might have copy-protection concerns, we wanted this information spread far and wide. Granted, we didn't want people to re-edit the information, so I simply attached a footer to my email template that stated that permission was thereby granted to forward the email in its entirety, for non-commercial purposes.

And people did it. In droves. They forwarded it on to their friends and family, co-workers, whomever. Some maintained their own large lists of concerned citizens interested in environmental issues, and they sent my emails along to them. Others posted my newsletters and action alerts on their AOL and Geocities homepages, on university listservs, and lots of other places.

Here are a few examples, still archived in various niches of the 'net:
Later, as search engines became more adept at crawling and indexing the content of the web (this had all occurred before Google existed), I'd be doing Headwaters research on AltaVista or Yahoo! or Dmoz, and come I'd across some of my old emails and articles scattered across the web.

Fading way

In more recent years I've noticed that Google's algorithm seems to be devaluing these old (nearly ancient in Internet time) posts, probably for fairly legitimate reasons (the HTML of those old web pages would not withstand semantic rigors of modern search technology), so they rarely show up in results, or if they do, they're buried many, many, many results pages deep. It's probably that a lot of those pages are simply gone now too, as people fold their old accounts or Geocities pages get closed down, or whatever.

When I first started noticing this, I must admit that it was a little sad, as it seemed almost as if my contributions were disappearing from the universe. I know this is not strictly true, but in a world where we seem to rely increasingly on Google to provide us with what we want to know (I'm certainly guilty of this reliance), it's disappointing that the content of those older articles is devalued in large part because the method used for archiving them did not use the modern HTML standards.

It's a little like devaluing the best encyclopedia in the (physical) library because its publishers have not yet made it available online. Perhaps the actual content contained in that encyclopedia is of better quality than anything published on the web, but most people would never know it because they'd never see it.

I'm conflicted about this on many levels. Partly because I believe passionately that people should have access to the best quality information (so I want people to go the library, or wherever they need to go for that single best source), but I also want that high-quality information to be much more widely accessible than that. Let's face it, the researcher in Prague seeking information on West Coast salmonids can't easily get the 700-page document off the dusty shelf of the tiny library of the Northcoast Environmental Center in California, can he? But what if it's the single best source, and it's not available online at all?

Technology will catch up

I believe (nearly) all of these documents will be available online someday. It may be a decade or more away, but it will happen.

And I will do my part. I have archived all my data from the Headwaters Forest years, and all my BAA articles and photos, and while they're not really in any usable order right now, I am confident that technology will continue to advance in ways that make the data easier to sort and publish. It's already been happening, with sites like Flickr making it easier to share photos, and tools like blogs and wikis making it easier to publish and collaborate.

Not all my contributions have faded away

Interestingly, search technology has more recently broadened to include the content of printed books too. Google Book Search began scanning the collections of several leading universities in 2004. While Google's tool is still in beta and it comprises mostly academic works, I was mildly surprised to see my name turn up with a few results. I was cited in Earth for Sale: Reclaiming Ecology in the Age of Corporate Greenwash, by Brian Tokar, and Writing for Real: A Handbook for Writers in Community Service , by Carolyn Ross, Joseph M. Williams, and Ardel Thomas. I'd forgotten that I was also thanked in Inciting Democracy: A Practical Proposal for Creating a Good Society, by my friend Randy Schutt.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Green Design: Designers, studios, and ad agencies that work with environmental groups and green companies

I have a reputation for working with environmental nonprofits, so I still frequently get requests to do graphic design for green groups or companies. Unfortunately, I’m usually too busy.

Sometimes they ask for referrals. So I finally compiled this list of other designers and firms that have worked with environmental groups. I’m including a few advertising and PR firms too, since green groups can almost always use some expertise in their publicity campaigns, plus those firms usually have designers on staff too, or work with freelancers.

I can’t vouch for all of these. Some of them I’ve only heard of through the grapevine, but some of them I’ve met and really been impressed by. I hope you find one you can have a fruitful relationship with.

UPDATE 11-01-08: I’ve collected some new green design resources over the past year, and I’m adding a few new design firm listings to this post. Interviews with seven of the companies listed below are available at GDUSA’s website, from “Going Green” in the October 2008 issue.

I also thought I should list some organizations and resources for designers (and clients) who are interested in sustainability issues as they pertain to the graphic design discipline:

AIGA Center for Sustainable Design
http://sustainability.aiga.org/

renourish
http://www.re-nourish.com/

Design21 Social Design Network
http://www.design21sdn.com/

Design Can Change
http://www.designcanchange.org/

The Designers Accord
http://www.designersaccord.org/

GreenDesigners.org
http://www.greendesigners.org/

Graphic Alliance
http://graphicalliance.org/

UPDATE 11-28-07: Innosanto from Design Action turned me on to a few more companies that specialize in design for social change, and I found a few others on a site called renourish.



a5 Group Inc.
size: boutique
location: Chicago IL, St. Louis MO, and Grand Rapids MI
clients include: Green By Design, Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Environmental Protection Agency



Agami Creative
size: boutique
location: Richmond, VA
clients include: Campaign Earth, 8Jax Communications



Alto
size: boutique
location: Aotearoa, New Zealand
clients include: The Sustainability Trust, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority



Another Limited Rebellion
size: boutique
location: Richmond, VA
clients include: Vegan Action, Richmond Green Party, Center for an Urban Future



Eric Benson
size: boutique
location: Champaign, IL
clients include: Whole Foods, MADD, Toyota



Big Think Studios
size: boutique
location: San Francisco, CA
clients include: Bluewater Network, San Francisco Food Bank, United Nations World Environment Day, Center for Biological Diversity



Celery Design Collective
size: boutique
location: Berkeley, CA
clients include: Elephant Pharmacy, The Natural Step, Alameda County Green Building



The Change
size: boutique
location: Chapel Hill, NC
clients include: Fair Trade Resource Network, Higher Grounds, Sierra Club



Conscious Creative
size: boutique
location: Berkeley, CA
clients include: In Defense of Animals, VegNews magazine, San Francisco Dept. of the Environment, Marin Environmental Film Festival



Core Industries
size: boutique
location: Brooklyn, NY
clients include: 1% for the Planet, greensear.ch, Volkswagen Carbon Neutral Project



CSDesign
size: boutique
location: Melbourne, AUS, and London, UK
clients include: Australian Conservation Foundation, Greenbuild Expo, The Fair Trade Company



Design Action Collective
size: boutique
location: Oakland, CA
clients include: United States Social Forum, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Craigslist Foundation, Rainforest Action Network



Design for Social Impact
size: boutique
location: Philadelphia, PA
clients include: Environmental Fund for Pennsylvania, The Nature Conservancy, Recycling Action, ForestEthics



Designarchy
size: boutique
location: San Francisco Bay Area
clients include: Compassionate Cooks, Terrain magazine, American Cancer Society



Digital Hive Ecological Design
size: boutique
location: San Francisco Bay Area
clients include: Institute for Environmental Entrepreneurship, WholeSoy & Co., Canal Alliance, Greener World Media



ecoLingo
size: boutique
location: Phoenix, AZ
clients include: Phoenix Department of Health and Sustainability, Earth Accents, Valley Forward EarthFest



John Emerson
size: boutique
location: New York, NY
clients include: Amnesty International, National Mobilization Against Sweatshops, Human Rights Watch



Fenton Communications
size: large
location: New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.
clients include: Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Alaska Wilderness League, Center for Marine Conservation



Fibu Design
size: boutique
location: San Francisco, CA
clients include: National Conversation on Climate Action, PG&E ClimateSmart, Media Fund, Help America Vote Act



Firebelly Design
size: boutique
location: Chicago, IL
clients include: Sustainable Chicago, Awakening Organics, Midwest Wind Energy



Free Range Studios / Free Range Graphics
size: boutique
location: Washington, D.C.
clients include: Amnesty International, Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, the Nature Conservancy



Green Team
size: boutique
location: New York, NY and Tasmania, AUS
clients include: Environmental Defense, World Resources Institute, National Geographic Society



Mark Bult Design
How could I not include myself?
size: boutique
location: San Francisco, CA
clients include: Amnesty International, Anne Frank Center, Bay Area Earth Day, Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition



Metropolitan Group
size: boutique
location: Portland, OR
clients include: Charles Darwin Foundation, National Park Foundation, The Wetlands Conservancy



Open
size: boutique
location: New York, NY
clients include: EarthAction Network, Not In Our Name, Good magazine, The Nation



Palatal Collective
size: boutique
location: Kansas City, MO
clients include: Pharos Project, Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Girl Scouts of Mid-America Council



Public Media Center
size: large
location: San Francisco, CA
clients include: Earth Island Institute, Greenpeace, Foundation for Deep Ecology, Oceanic Society

Ready366
size: boutique
location: New York, NY
clients include: Ready366 only launched in February 2008, so their client roster doesn’t really include anything indicative of their focus on sustainability. I list them here with the hope that I can update this post again in the future, with real-world examples of their stated mission of helping companies make consumer brands more earth-friendly.



Rizco Design & Communications
size: boutique
location: Manasquan, NJ
clients include: Corbis, Huntington's Disease Society of America



Roughstock Studios
size: boutique
location: San Francisco, CA
clients include: East West Herbs USA, Mission Arts Foundation, Search For Common Ground



Studio 7 Designs
size: boutique
location: Victoria, BC
clients include: PESCO Environmental Solutions, Juniper Tree, UN Golden Chapter



T-LUX Design
size: boutique
location: Los Angeles, CA
clients include: ’Licious Dishes, Pacific Edge Magazine



Tumis
size: boutique
location: Oakland, CA
clients include: Natural Heritage Institute, Strategic Action for a Just Economy, Urban Strategies Council



Underground Advertising
size: boutique
location: San Francisco, CA
clients include: Environmental Defense, Union of Concerned Scientists, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Greenbelt Alliance



Vivace Design
size: boutique
location: Montreal, Quebec
clients include: Tori Amos, Liberal Party of Canada (Quebec)



Willoughby Design Group
size: boutique
location: Kansas City, MO
clients include: Hallmark, Kansas City Zoo, Women's Political Caucus, Sheridan's

Got one to add? Contact me.

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