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IQ Spotlight: Marica Slaughter, Program Manager

IQ Spotlight Marica Program Mgr

IQ is made up of a bunch of rockstars that make incredible work for our clients everyday. We want to give you a glimpse of what it’s like to work in IQ, so every other Friday we’re going to interview an IQ-er and let you get to know them better.

For the official record what is your name and what is your title here at IQ?
I’m Marica Slaughter, and I am the Program Manager at IQ.

Tell me about the moment you knew this was the direction you wanted to pursue professionally?

Throughout high school I would take advantage of every opportunity to draw, and I loved it. So I went to Georgia State and got my Bachelor’s in Fine Arts & Studio Arts with the hopes of one day being an animator. That was the dream. So I went to get my Master’s in Animation. After three straight nights of drawing characters all night I realized I really enjoyed the process of collaborating with voice over actors, after affects animator, the sound and editing guys much more than the drawing part.

What is your role in building the client/agency relationship?

As Program Manager I manage a portfolio of projects for an account including planning, organizing, financial and resource management.  My job is to be able to identify and manage cross-project dependencies on the account.  The account management team manages the relationship with the client, but collectively we work to ensure client goals are achievable and improve brand performance.

What is something you know now about your job that you wish you knew when you were starting out?

That’s a tough one. In your career path you try to make sure you are fully prepared for what’s to come, but I think lessons are learned as you’re ready to learn them, at least that’s been my experience. Though I would have liked to learn how to distance my personal investment in a project so professional critiques felt less personal earlier on.

What does “Creative Intelligence” mean to you?

For me “Creative Intelligence” is the ability of collaborative minds to leverage each others creativity to influence and create innovative ideas.

What is your social media platform of choice?

Facebook. I just got on it a year ago, so we’re still in the honeymoon phase. I try to balance out time away from it, but it just keeps sucking me right back in.

Now it’s time for the quick-fire questions. So, waffles or pancakes?

Pancakes.

Beach or pool?

Pool.

Unicorns or narwhals?

Unicorns.

Video games or board games?

Video games.

Tea or coffee?

Coffee.

So now you know a little bit more about Marica Slaughter!

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Why Designers Love Whitespace

SoDA Report – Volume 2, 2014

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Designers Love Whitespace

The logic behind why we heart it so.

IQ Designers Love Whitespace

We do. It’s true. Designers really do LOVE whitespace. And whitespace is one of the most useful, yet most overlooked, tools in designing for advertising. But we often receive client feedback saying, “there is just too much whitespace” or, “that’s too much room between elements.”

When we’re tasked with incorporating many messages into a single digital advertising element, it’s easy for our clients to feel pressured to fill whitespace. But the idea that whitespace is empty, unused space in the design of a web page is a misconception that needs to be remedied.

When considered correctly, whitespace is a useful design element — yes, design element. Even the parts of a web page without content help the user interpret any message on the page. Whitespace encompasses the space around content, as well as, margins, padding, line and letter spacing, and gutters.

So why do designers cling to this seemingly blank space? Because Whitespace impacts the user experience in four key ways:

Draw the eye to a specific point.

Using the simplicity of the page to emphasize a message will direct where the user should look. One of the most successful companies that uses simple, clean design to guide users through content is Google. In the article, The Beauty of Simplicity from Fast Company, author Linda Tischler explains how the complex tool is made to be simple by the use of whitespace.

Prioritize messages.

In the same way that whitespace draws a user’s eye a point on the page, it will also help prioritize messaging. When a user is forced to navigate through multiple types of content competing for their attention, the message has potential to be lost in the noise. Using whitespace as a design element will help to guide users on an intentional path of content consumption, directed subtly by a company’s website.

Increase readability.

For A List Apart, Mark Boulton wrote an informative article on the ability of whitespace to increase a user’s ability to read content on a page, based on the amount of space given to each letter and line of content. A slight reconsideration of the design, giving more space can make an entire page more legible without decreasing the amount of content.

Over the years, Google has also become a great example of whitespace being used to increase readability and scannability of heavy content. What used to be a crammed page has now given way to a more open, spacious page that allows users to scan the page quickly for the information most relevant to their search.

Position your brand.

Luxury brands utilize a lot of whitespace. Using whitespace immediately creates a new visual statement of elegance, putting the focus on product paired with a simple and direct message. Many high-end cosmetic and jewelry brands, such as Chanel or Marc Jacobs, use white space to create visual luxury.

Discover even more about whitespace with these resources that give more information on using whitespace as a design and user experience tool:

The Verge, Eluption, UX Myths, A List Apart, How Google Uses Whitespace, Smashing Magazine, Hack Design, and Fast Company.

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  • 11.14.14

7 Key Insights by Maurice Levy, Chairman & CEO of Publicis Groupe

Reposted from the Berlin School of Creative Leadership blog.

Maurice came to the Berlin School of Creative Leadership to speak about how big data, e-commerce, digital transformation and two billion new consumers will affect the creative industries. In picturing the communication landscape of tomorrow and the importance of re-thinking the intersections in a blurred world, he shared what he claims to be his personal formula.

1. The “Blurred World”
2. Speed
3. Digital Transformation
4. The Formula: IQ, EQ, TQ & BQ
5. Pioneering in Today’s World of Advertising
6. The Issue of Collaboration
7. How to Align People

1. The “Blurred World”
“We used to live in a world where we would categorize companies and industries, even people, in kind of formatted ways. This person is an engineer. That company operates in the automobile industry. These days everything is blurred: People are blurred. Companies are blurred. Even time is blurred. Think of a company like Amazon. What kind of a company is it? A bookseller? A retailer? A media outlet? The great thing about that is that we can now think about the intersections in a way that we never thought of before. Today you can be very creative and successful in redefining these blurred lines.”

2. Speed
“We are living in a time of speed. If you think about something today, and if you really believe you can do something different – you’d better do it bloody quick. You just have to move fast or somebody else will probably take your idea. Think about companies like Facebook. At the same time, existing companies are struggling to keep up. Even if you have been very successful for a very long time – if you’re not taking the right decisions today, your company can get close to death by tomorrow. This is very much true if you think about tech firms and companies, but as our world continues to digitalize, it’s not only them anymore.”

3. Digital Transformation
“Remember the Internet bubble? In 2005, we were basically in dead seats, no one was investing in digital anymore and yet – you could see the change happening. I’ve heavily invested since 2006, because I did observe the people in the streets. How they were using their mobile phones, how they were shopping online. And I knew things were about to happen that would impact our industry in a game-changer kind of way. Anyone remembers Sony’s Walkman? Why haven’t they invented the i-pod? They were on the wrong technology path, basically.”

4. The Formula: IQ, EQ, TQ & BQ
“How can you be a pioneer in today’s world of advertising? In advertising we can change the way people see the world. If we manage to engage with them emotionally, we infect their brain. But what we need today is not only smart ideas that connect brain and emotional intelligence. We need these four: IQ, EQ, TQ – which refers to technology quotient – and BQ…be bloody quick.”

5. Pioneering in Today’s World of Advertising
“In advertising, we are supposed to be at the forefront of everything that is new. We are supposed to be the Avant-garde, to take risks – but we also have a high responsibility towards the client. There is some paradox in that. We cannot predict exactly how people will react to something. We have to accept that there is no secure recipe for success or total control. People are analog, not digital. But no matter what you do, if you believe in what you’re doing, stick to it, fight skepticism, and at the same time, be cautious about what you’re doing – at least make sure that your idea would cause no harm.”

6. The Issue of Collaboration
“We don’t live in a world of manufacturers anymore, in which companies used to design, develop, produce and distribute their products under the same roof. We all have to go for collaboration. Big data is a big issue and the new markets of China, India and Africa – just imagine the scale of two billion new consumers. We’ve started early to collaborate with Google, Facebook, Twitter, with different start-ups and media outlets. I believe this trend of collaboration will increasingly play a big role in the world of tomorrow, and the way in which we will manage business effectively.”

7. How to Align People
“A pioneer is not a group of people. A group of people can be pioneering in what they do, but there is always the one who is leading the way. It’s crucial to align people. Stay curious. Observe. Accept. Be flexible and alert. Make sure you give a few directions that everyone understands. No one has a better idea than everyone together. Don’t refuse to learn from somebody else, that’s just arrogance. I hate complacency; and I always like to think that the greatest success is yet to happen. If your team has the same spirit as you, you’re heading in the right direction.”

 
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IQ Typography Challenge: Brainteaser IQ

We have given the IQ Creative Team a Typography Challenge to tease their brains and push their boundaries.

The rules: find or create “IQ” in an image. Whether it’s a photo or Photoshop or Illustrator or hand drawn, we want to celebrate all the ways you can create something when you set your mind to it!

This week’s entry is from Jay Littman, Design Intern. I give you Brainteaser IQ:

Brainteaser IQ for Type Challenge

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The SoDA Report – Volume 2, 2014

SoDA Report Volume 2 2014

As the founder and board chair of SoDA, the digital society, I’m happy to say it’s time again for the SoDA Report. It is now perhaps the most read digital trends report in the world, clocking almost 300,000 views from our last issue. You can see it here on a responsive site or as a Slideshare.

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IQ Spotlight: Tricia Gillentine, Art Director

IQ-er Spotlight: Tricia Gillentine

IQ is made up of a bunch of rockstars that make incredible work for our clients everyday. We want to give you a glimpse of what it’s like to work in IQ, so every other Friday we’re going to interview an IQ-er and let you get to know them better.

Alright, let’s get this started. For the super-official record what is your name, and what is your title here at IQ?

My name is Tricia Gillentine, and I am an Art Director here at IQ.

Tell me about the moment you knew this was the direction you wanted to pursue professionally?

I knew what I wanted to be before I knew the name for it. I knew that I wanted to do creative work. But it wasn’t until I was about to graduate from college that I realized what an Art Director actually was… I found a magazine called CMYK and discovered one of the portfolio schools here in Atlanta. So I moved to Atlanta to go to Creative Circus and now, several steps later in my career adventure, here I am.

What brings you the most joy in your day-to-day work here at IQ?

My Co-workers. Is that cheesy? I love just feeding off the energy here. Although, I have to say though I enjoy, but am also completely weirded out by the wildlife here. There have been two snake encounters, a vulture that just hangs out on our porch all day, and at least one lizard rescue.

What do you enjoy most about working with a new client?

I love the new design challenges it brings. It often sparks new ideas and teaches me about industries that otherwise wouldn’t know anything about.

What is your favorite current design trend?

I’m really loving the movement back to hand-type.

What does “Creative Intelligence” mean to you?

I think it means making work that people will stop and look at because it’s beautiful, but then they’ll have that “A-ha!” moment while looking at it, like “oh, that was really smart” or “oh yeah, that totally makes sense.” Brains and beauty.

Now it’s time for the quick-fire questions. I’m going to ask you a series of either-or questions and you give me your first response. First one: Apple or Android?

Apple.

Unicorn or Narwhal?

Oh gosh, that’s a really tough one! Hmm. Narwhal, for sure. They’re like the unicorns of the sea!

Coca-Cola or Pepsi?

Neither. I don’t participate in carbonation, actually.

Pen or pencil?

Pen. Always. Especially the really inky ones, they’re the best.

Would you rather go see live theatre or a live concert?

Theatre play!

So now you know a little bit more about Tricia Gillentine!

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IQ Typography Challenge: Candy IQ

IQ brings #KNOWvember to you

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IQ Typography Challenge: Candy IQ

We have given the IQ Creative Team a Typography Challenge to tease their brains and push their boundaries.

The rules: find or create “IQ” in an image. Whether it’s a photo or Photoshop or Illustrator or hand drawn, we want to celebrate creative all the ways you can find and create something when you set your mind to it!

This week’s entry is from Carol Montoto, Associate Creative Director and Eric Beatty, Art Director. I give you Candy IQ:

IQ Typography Challenge - Candy IQ
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  • 11.04.14

Mobile First Website Design

by Jay Littman

Mobile First

When it comes to responsive design, the concept of mobile first is not a new one. It was first coined by Luke Wroblewski (LukeW) in 2009.  However, as time goes on, it only becomes more apparent how important designing with mobile in mind will continue to be.

As of February of this year, Americans use tablets, phones, and other mobile devices 55 percent of the time they go online.  At IQ, we’re no strangers to responsive projects. We want to ensure that this huge portion of our clients’ traffic is able to access their sites without anything breaking. But we do have internal debates over which should come first: desktop design or mobile?

I tend to vote for mobile first. We know designing for mobile is important, but why design for mobile first? There’s several reasons to explore:

1. Forced Focus

Designing mobile first forces you to focus. Because when designing for mobile, you want the quickest loading time possible. That means cutting out anything unnecessary to the user experience, paring down a site hierarchy to the essentials, and keeping the core purpose of a site as the only content left standing.  Designing for mobile first requires designing the simplest, quickest method to get the user to what they want from your site. Then, in desktop versions, expanding upon that design while keeping those core functions top of mind.

2. Smaller Real Estate, Bigger Design Challenge

One of the key elements of designing for mobile, and also possibly the most intimidating, is that space is limited on a phone screen. Mobile design is the tiny NYC apartment where you end up using the oven for storage if you don’t plan for your small space. But if you do plan ahead, you can end up with a space that is streamlined and incredibly elegant. I will admit that this is not an easy endeavor, but your designs will be better for it.

3. Enhancements versus Degradation

Let’s get a bit technical. When you design for desktop first, it means loading all of the content that would be seen on the largest platform and then reducing it to the mobile version. The trouble is your user already had to wait for all that content to load on their smartphone before they can get to the mobile version of the site… if they indeed waited and didn’t just close the page out to find something else. Designing for mobile first means allows a minimal amount of content to load first, streamlining the experience. This is a lot faster and means your site gets enhancements as it moves up to desktop, instead of degradations of content when moving down to mobile.

These are some of the things we consider when beginning a website design project here at IQ. This method may help you find a few ways to improve your user experience all over, not just on mobile. So on your next site design project, try starting with mobile first and see where this aspect of creative intelligence takes you.

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Publicis buys Sapient in quest to sell the dream

Publicis Sapient Merger Deal

The Publicis Sapient deal announced this morning is part of a trend that has agencies becoming consultants and consultants becoming agencies.  In Sapient, Publicis is buying a technology consultancy with deep technology capabilities across the spectrum of all business activity. This makes sense if Publicis has a vision of itself, not just as a collection of ad agencies, but as a 21st century business consultant; helping companies change the fundamental ways they do business in the digital age. I don’t think they are alone in this vision.

Back in 2002 IBM decided to shift their focus to being essentially a business change and performance consultant. So they bought Price Waterhouse consulting and then a few years later sold their PC business to the Chinese. In 2009 the huge consultant Accenture launched Accenture Interactive with P&G as it’s first client and has continued to buy advertising and design firms around the globe, and WPP is buying business and digital consultants, the latest being Cognifide earlier this year.

All these moves spring from the way that digital is forcing companies to rethink everything they do from product development to marketing and customer service. In the recent Nielson Trust in Advertising report, consumers cited brand websites, which Sapient has made many of, being second only to “recommendations from people I know” for advertising trust. Websites have not been considered advertising, but in the digital age their importance is just another indicator that the lines are blurring between advertising, marketing, service and product.

Feeding all this change is not just the digital consumer, but also the desire of companies to turn their business into a predictable machine. This is being stimulated by the promise that all this business consulting, the systems, data, and models, will reduce risk and increase certainty; every CEO’s dream. But it’s not so simple, because this new approach requires a complacent consumer and unless anyone hasn’t noticed digital consumers are anything but complacent, especially in their own defense. Consumers are not only much faster to adopt new technologies than brands, but they are also less credulous, less tolerant of manipulation, and more sensitive to privacy issues today. That could throw a wrench in the grand plans of these super consultant/agencies as they try to help companies re-take their position as the manipulators in chief.

The good news for mid-sized companies, which probably cannot afford to not hire Accenture anyway, is that they need not fear losing a competitive edge to their larger competitors. Building a brand’s digital ecosystem designed to connect, cultivate and convert consumers, is now I believe accessible to most mid-sized companies for the first time, and while data plays it’s part, success comes more from connecting the pieces intelligently rather than overlaying some massive data crunching system. In fact I think that companies with more nimble cultures, which can react faster to consumer needs and marketplace opportunities, will have an even greater opportunity for success than those that try to build machines to control the unruly digital consumer.

 

 

 

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IQ brings #KNOWvember to you.

IQ social #KNOWvember

November is here with its fall-to-winter weather and colorful foliage and here at IQ we’re kicking off #KNOWvember. We’re celebrating creative intelligence in all its forms, especially continued learning and development. We will be sharing original articles here on the blog and in our other social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and LinkedIn). We’ll also be sharing other articles and links that flex our brain muscles. So keep an eye out for the #KNOWvember hashtag as we share things that fuel our creative intelligence.

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