Marketing and design

In so many ways we live in a better designed world then we did ten years ago.  Almost everything has specialist design thought put into it and a lot of that has to do with marketing and communications.  This week my bin collection day changed.  To communicate the change my council pushed a leaflet through my door, did a feature in their newspaper (which is also pushed through my door) and put a sticker on my bin.

Bin collections are the number one source of enquires (and complaints) to councils so I imagine this was a big campaign for them.  And it was nicely designed with a friendly typeface and a green land/blue sunny sky background.  Thought and money went into that design.  My bin (pictured) still has the sticker from the last change 10 years ago – there was less design then.

The world is a better place with good design.  It’s more enjoyable and I hope such efforts as that bin campaign continue.  (Sadly the bin message failed to get through as most people on my street put their recycling out this morning which was the old day.)

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As I’ve said before I’m a big fan of things that do one thing really well.  And if that one thing solves a real-life problem then I’m a very big fan.  Doodle is the latest recipient of my fandom.

Trying to get a disparate group of people together (say old friends who are scattered around the country and have complicated commitments like kids) for important business (a drink) can be painful.  Lots of emails, texts and phone calls to find the best time which often results in failure and upset.  Doodle helps make this easier.

Say what you want to do, give a list of times and then invite people to say when they can do.  They tick the best times.  You find one that works.  Job done.  Simple.  And you don’t even need to register with the site.

There’s a nice freemium model behind it.  Friends arranging drinks can use it for free.  Businesses arranging business can go pro and brand it.  Great.

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Robert Elms

As part of my degree I did a five-month placement at the BBC local radio station for London then known as GLR.  It was my first time living in the city which has since become my home and I got to work with the broadcaster who knows the city best, Robert Elms.

Robert, or Bob to his friends (which I wasn’t), is still doing pretty much the same show 15 years later and I’ve rediscovered it through its podcast.  The stature of the show means it still gets big guests – Gary Oldman and John Hurt came into the studio to talk about film making and not just plug Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. But it is Robert’s passion and knowledge about London that makes it a great listen.

Every week a noted Londoner is made a Listed Londoner by talking about their favourite place, view, shop etc, which despite running for 15+ years still introduces me to new places.  Anyone who writes a book about London is invited in and regular contributors delve into the city’s history through buildings and trades.

If you like listening to podcasts and like London add Robert Elms’ to your subscription list.

(Update 7/10/11: Sounds like Robert’s show is under threat of the BBC cuts in local radio.)