Kuler Colors

Nowadays we can do just about anything thanks to technology.   The new answer to all of life’s intriguing questions is: “There’s an App for that”.   For all of us in the creative fields, this is good news and bad news.   This means that we will be forever learning throughout our careers.   A new Adobe Creative Suite, a new Smartphone that needs user interfaces designed, a new app, you name it.   However, this is great for us, because these updates, upgrades and apps can also make our job easier.

One of these cool tools we can benefit from is the Adobe Kuler color tool.   It is a FREE, yes, FREE online application that lets you create, share and explore different color themes.   This is great for us designers that sometimes have “color block”, and we can’t decide on a color scheme for a project.

Adobe Kuler

Adobe Kuler

The website is very simple to use.   You first go to http://kuler.adobe.com/, and simply begin exploring color options.   You can search a color theme by keyword, you can look at the newest, most popular, highest rated, or randomly.   You can create an account and upload your color themes.   You can make changes to a theme, select one color from the theme, select a rule like analogous, monochromatic, triad, complementary, compound, shades or even custom to find other colors for the one you have selected.   You can look at the RGB, CMYK, LAB or even HEX values for a particular color.   You can even create your own new theme using your own photos as a reference.

Adobe Kuler

Adobe Kuler

You can benefit from this great tool if you are a graphic designer, illustrator, photographer, fashion designer, interior designer, makeup artist, stylist, scrapbooker, cake decorator, painter, or any other person who at some point in their life has to pick a color combination for whatever reason.

Adobe Kuler

Adobe Kuler

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Marketing & Stereotypes: The Abercrombie & Fitch Story

Nowadays it is human nature to attempt to classify people, products and brands into different stereotypes.  A stereotype is a standard classification that individuals commonly classify other people, products and brands.  People are stereotyped because of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, and even the types of products they buy and clothes they wear.  Stereotyping is not something that should be practiced, because it is wrong to assume an individual’s personality or beliefs based on their looks, clothes or products they purchase.  Even though stereotyping is not something highly recommended by society, people still stereotype other people based on such shallow observations.  One example of stereotyping based on clothes is the stereotype or label of “Preppy”, “Preppie” or “Prep” given to individuals who wear clothes sold by stores like Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister and American Eagle.

The word “preppy” actually came about in the 1950’s, and it derived from “preparatory schools”.  The White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, or WASP term was highly associated with the term “preppy”.  The WASP community was mostly high-class individuals who attended such prestigious schools and dressed in a laid-back, yet luxurious clothing of brands such as Lacoste and Lilly Pulitzer.   This style was then re-launched by stores like Abercrombie & Fitch in a more affordable price for teenagers of modern days that belong to the middle and higher social classes.  The preppy kids back in the 1950’s where actually members of high-class societies, went to Ivy League colleges and universities and private preparatory schools, they owed yachts and boats, and could afford expensive taste such as Ralph Lauren.  The preppy kids nowadays do not form part of such high-class and do not own expensive boats or attend prestigious colleges and schools, but they can afford to look like they belong to the same high-class as the 1950’s preppy kids because of stores like Abercrombie & Fitch.

Abercrombie and fitch Paris summer 2011 advert...

Image by cattias.photos via Flickr

Abercrombie & Fitch Users and Stereotypes

I do believe that users and consumers of Abercrombie & Fitch clothing identify with the “preppy” stereotype.  The Abercrombie & Fitch crowds are labeled by others as “preppy”, and they do not consider this an insult, but instead a compliment.  “Preppy” kids are usually the popular kids in high schools who are concerned with looks, popularity and material possessions.  Even though some of them do not belong to high social class, they like thinking that they look that way.  The reality is that Abercrombie & Fitch is not actually a real “preppy” store, because they are not as expensive as the real “preppy” clothes like Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger, etc.  However, the style does look like the more expensive stores.

Abercrombie and fitch Paris summer 2011 advert...

Image by cattias.photos via Flickr

Stereotypes and Sales

The “preppy” stereotype helps Abercrombie & Fitch sales.  Mainly because most middle-class teenagers who wish to belong in the popular group may not be able to afford the real expensive “preppy” brands like Lacoste.  Therefore, they will choose to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch because the clothing looks like the more expensive clothing and has the same “preppy” style, but it is much more affordable for teenage kids with a middle-class allowance.  The more they wish to fit in to the popular crowd the more clothing they will buy from stores like Abercrombie & Fitch.  The “preppy wannabe” crowd purchase clothing from Abercrombie & Fitch basically because of the way it makes them feel.  The clothing makes them feel like they belong in the “preppy” crowd.

The image of Abercrombie & Fitch today.

Image via Wikipedia

Stereotypes in the Advertising Campaigns

The Abercrombie & Fitch advertising campaigns most definitely intentionally designed to target the “preppy” and “preppy wannabe” crowds.  If we look at their advertisement and images placed throughout their stores we can appreciate the intent of the ads through their design, and specifically the scale of the photographs being displayed at each store.  Most of their advertisement feature clean-shaved, clean-cut, muscular, slim body, Caucasian, good-looking people.  These are the typical characteristics that fit the “preppy” individuals.  Another major effort from this company to keep the advertisement targeted at “preppy” teenagers is the fact that they hire people who fit into this stereotype to work in their stores.  There have even been lawsuits against the company because they would not hire a Muslim individual, according to her, because of her headscarf.  There was another case of another teenager who claimed they would not let her work outside of the back storage of an Abercrombie and Fitch store because of her prosthetic arm.

1,000 Visits

Thank you! Today, October 19th, 2011, I have reached 1,000 Visits on this blog.   I am honored!   I wished I could thank visitors personally, but I have no way of knowing who they are.   Either way, as a special thank you for visiting my blog I have decided to write this post and leave an open thread for any special Design, Photo, Apple or even Geeky Request or Questions.   So go ahead, ask and you shall receive!

Thanks again!

Remembering Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

Today is a sad day, as the world learns that Steve Jobs has passed away.   Immediately I remember learning about Steve and admiring him, his vision and leadership.   A couple of years ago I wrote an assignment about Steve for my Business Management and Leadership Class, and I would like to remember him by publishing it.

Steve Jobs at the WWDC 07

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs: Inside The Apple

One of the most advanced computer companies in the world today is the Apple Company. With a 19 percent of market share Apple iTunes is the number one music retailer in the United States, and rising (Ebert and Griffin, 2009). It is no wonder that the company has achieved such large success thanks to the recognized leadership of founder and CEO, Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs co-founded Apple back in 1976, and lead the company through numerous innovative paths, until 1985 when he left the company. But Jobs was not going to hinder his innovative mind, so he embarked in other venues as a bright entrepreneur like Pixar Animation Studios & NeXT Computer. In 1997, more than a decade without the co-founder in the corporation, the Apple Computer Company bought off NeXT Computer, and also Steve Jobs (Lashinsky, 2009). Steve returned to Apple and is now the company’s CEO, and innovative leader.

Characteristics of Steve Jobs as an Effective Leader

Managing change is one of the hardest situations a manager can face, as we have discussed in last week’s discussion board. When Steve Jobs returned to apple after more than a decade, the company was facing a possible bankruptcy, and Steve Jobs not only managed to turn things around, but also made Apple the number one innovative computer company in the US. Jobs achieved this by successfully selecting and motivating a new management team, he motivated employees to create innovative products and launch a new product line, which ultimately helped the company turn around (Lashinsky, 2009).

Another characteristic of this great leader is open communication. Steve Jobs has established an informal and laid-back culture in the Apple Company. His open-door policy helps him maintain this culture, and ultimately helps Apple attract and retain talented people (Ebert and Griffin, 2009). Creating an effective flow of information, and keeping information channels open, is what makes this CEO a successful leader. Being a company immersed in technology, Jobs can provide networked systems and wireless capabilities for communication to be effective within and outside the company (Robbins and Coulter, 2009).

Great motivation is another great characteristic of this CEO. Apple offers numerous benefits for their employees, including rewards programs. Not only does Apple offer employees with the standard benefits like health and life insurance, flexible spending accounts, short and long term disability coverage, long-term care insurance, 401 (k) plans, paid vacations and holidays, and product discounts, but Apple goes one step further to motivate employees (“Jobs at Apple”, 2010). Apple also offers employees an employee stock purchase plan, financial education seminars, tuition assistance, personal and family counseling, an onsite fitness center, café featuring local organic ingredients, commuter programs and even the opportunity to work from home, working as an “Apple At-Home Expert”.

Why People Like… or Dislike Steve Jobs?

For the most part, people in general think that Steve Jobs is not a good leader or a good CEO for the Apple Company. People have recently criticized Jobs for his management skills, and concealing his troubled health to the public, especially to Apple Shareholders. However, even the people criticizing Jobs admit that the company is doing great, and that as long as Jobs continues to be the company’s CEO, the company will continue to flourish and be the most innovative company in the US.

Perhaps Jobs’ tactics are viewed as out of the norm, but he has managed to maintain the company at the top of the industry. One of Apple’s employees, Ratzlaff, who worked with Jobs very closely in the creation of the Mac Operating Software X, stated that Jobs “Has the ability to pull the best out of people”, and also stated that he learned a lot from Jobs (as cited in Kahney, 2008). Whether Jobs’ tactics may be criticized as tyrannical, he is still motivating people and even teaching them a thing or two.

Even modern physiologists, like Roderic Kramer, are trying to come up with new management theories that explain and appreciate Jobs’ way of managing Apple. kramer, a physiologist at Stanford, suggests that “a certain type of forcefulness and perseverance is sometimes helpful when tackling large, intractable problems” (as cited in Kahney, 2008). This CEO has not only revolutionized technology, but also managing. You could say that Jobs is actually motivating people, maybe not using positive reinforcement, but fear. Either way, employees are motivated.

Robert Sutton wrote that Steve Jobs “inspires astounding effort and creativity from his people”, which is a great example as to why Jobs is a good leader (as cited in Kahney, 2008). Jobs may be viewed as a Charismatic-Visionary Leader with a twist. The twist is that Jobs is undoubtedly the boss, and he runs a tight ship, keeping employees on short leashes. However, his way of managing may be a new way to make businesses successful, by intimidating, yet inspiring and motivating your employees.

This CEO’s Legacy

I believe that Steve Jobs’ legacy will be that of a tyrant innovator with a charismatic and laid-back personality. Wearing jeans, sports shoes, and a simple black shirt, Jobs has successfully introduced countless of new products and software including the iMac, iPod and iPhone, into the market. Micromanaging and intimidating people, he has inspired millions. I believe that Job’s legacy is that things are not always what they seem. Jobs is a multimillionaire, but yet he casually introduces his new products and goes to work wearing jeans. He might seem like a tyrant, and his employees might be a little intimidated and even afraid of being fired, but the job gets done, and it gets done well.

References

Ebert, R. J., & Griffin, R. W. (2009). Business Essentials (7th ed.). [Online version]. Retrieved from AIU Online Virtual Campus. Business and Society: BUS105-0904A-66 website.

Jobs at Apple. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.apple.com/jobs/us/benefits.html

Kahney, L. (2008, March). How Apple got everything right by doing everything wrong. Wired Magazine, 4 (16). Retrieved January 26, 2010 from http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/magazine/16-04/bz_apple?currentPage=all

Lashinsky, A. (2009, November). Steve Jobs: CEO of the decade. Fortune Magazine. Retrieved January, 26, 2010 from http://money.cnn.com/2009/11/04/technology/steve_jobs_ceo_decade.fortune/index.htm

Robbins, S. P., & Coulter, M. (2009). Management (10th ed.) [Online Version]. Retrieved from AIU Online Virtual Campus. Business Management and Leadership: MGT240-1001A:14 website.

http://www.apple.com/stevejobs/

¡Bienvenidos!

I guess I should start this blog by introducing myself. In a few words I am 26 years old, I was born in Venezuela and I am a Graphic Designer. And just to let you know, I had written an awesome introductory post on a blogger account, but they deleted my entire blog, which reminds me to advise to you to always back up everything in two separate locations.

Anyhow, I initially decided to create a blog to put myself out there as a professional Graphic Designer and share my designs and design process with other aspiring designers out there. I also wanted to share my passion for photography and my amateur photographs. However, I later thought that no one, except the people I know, would care to read such a blog and all these kinds of things are already on my Facebook page. Therefore, I want to share more than just my artwork, but insights to opinions and ideas about things I have some knowledge of… this includes Graphic Design, Photography and all things Apple/Mac… and of course the usual geek stuff.

I claim to have some knowledge in these subjects, so I think I should give you a bit of a background, so you know where this knowledge comes from. I have an Associates of Arts Degree in Business Administration. I just received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communications with a concentration in Graphic Design. I have been doing Graphic Design since 2004, I have been practicing photography since 2008 and I love Apple since their Macintosh Classic II (1991).

Welcome to my blog… I hope you stick around.

MW

Melissa Wolowicz

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