Contemporary Encyclopedia for Creative Activists

Screen shot 2013-04-20 at 4.38.24 PM

I love when activists use creativity to sell their message, rather than relying on outdated notions of enlightenment ideology to affect chance.  We’ve known for decades that the truth will not set us free—and that people make decisions based on both the rational and irrational.  And yet, we still get campaigns that focus on the negative, are boring and easily ignored in a sea of countless messages.

Folks like the artist Khaled Jarrar, who created an exhibit space at the Berlin Biennale’s where he stamped visitor’s passports with a specially-designed ‘visa’ for the State of Palestine. The stamp he created featured a Palestine Sunbird surrounded by flowers and encircled with the words State of Palestine in English and Arabic. And it essentially meant nothing—except that it beautifully and symbolically told the story of Israel Occupation of the Palestinian Homeland.

I especially love it when it involves my husband, the activist and media studies professor Stephen Duncombe.  Along with The Yes Men labs, his organization The Center for Artistic Activism has launched, a hub for people who use interesting, playful and artist strategies to help build a more just society. People like Jarrar and others can share ideas and document what they are doing, in an age where few mainstream media outlets cover this type of work.

I produced a piece on actipedia for Word of Mouth.  Listen.

Understanding Copy in the Digital Era

Last month a gave a talk at the Copy Lab, which is a creative collective for copywriters. (I am thrilled that Kim and Kelley started it—NYC writers need an association in order to learn new skills and advocate for our profession.)  For my event, I focussed on tools and tips for creating content for web sites, social media and digital devices.  Read a summary of the talk on The Copy Lab Blog.

Also, be sure to check out the Copy Lab.  They have lots of great events coming up.



Where have all the banner ads gone?

In my copywriting for the web course, I cover banner ads. is the source that I use to show interesting work.  However, when I tried to find live examples of old-school rotating banners, I came up empty-handed.  Now, I am sure they still exist—but they are certainly not as ubiquitous as they once were.

But really.  Who ever like banner ads anyways?  It was a print/TV approach to interactive marketing that never quite worked.

What this means:  the industry is finally getting smarter about engaging people in meaningful conversations via social media.  I can already imagine a time when we will say: remember when we had to create all those endless banner ads?



How to Approach a Fundraising Campaign: Make it fun.

I recently worked on a fundraising campaign for my children’s school, PS3 in NYC’s West Village.  The creative team had one week to come up with a series of posters for The 3Fund, our annual fundraising effort which significantly supplements the school’s budget and allows for a rich arts-based education.   Due to time constraints, photography was not an option.

The result?  Text-based posters that playfully called out the very items the 3Fund pays for—and touched upon the community aspect of the PS3’s educational philosophy. The posters, placed throughout the school, helped raise money, and had the added bonus of increased parent involvement—from volunteering at lunch to school leadership positions.

Funny how much I love the pro-bono work that I take on.

(Click on images for larger versions.)

Screen shot 2013-01-09 at 2.02.58 PM

Screen shot 2013-01-09 at 2.03.30 PM
Screen shot 2013-02-03 at 4.53.31 PMScreen shot 2013-02-03 at 4.54.33 PM

Lego Hotel: a great example of experience design and clever brand extension


lego hotel

Facebook vs. Twitter

Despite the noise and hype about competing social platforms, Facebook is still a strong leader, as evidenced by this infographic from Mashable. See the whole blog post.

This does not mean things won’t change.  The most important thing to remember about social media is that it is constantly changing.

Screen shot 2013-01-21 at 11.02.59 AM

How People Really Spend Time on Mobile Devices

I love this infographic from the Harvard Business Review.

Screen shot 2013-01-13 at 9.50.52 AM

Smitten with Smitten Kitchen

Screen shot 2013-01-12 at 7.43.07 AMI have fallen for the food blog Smitten Kitchen.

Sure, I am late in the game. By the time I took a good look at Smitten Kitchen, it’s creator Deb Perelman already had a book deal. Regardless, I find myself returning to the site over and over when I am looking for a little inspiration. Like Deb, I like hearty, somewhat healthy food. Plus, I trust her because she has the same size Manhattan kitchen that I do. You have to be a good cook to work in small places.

Anyways, the point being, I am taken with this food blog and it now belongs in my food blog cannon, along with 101 Cookbooks and Chocolate & Zucchini.

My favorite recipe so far?  Pancetta, white bean and chard pot pies.

Good Tweets: Man Repeller

I like Man Repeller’s Tweets.  The voice is consistent, strong and a little snarky.  Perfect for a post-lunch slump.

Screen shot 2013-01-10 at 12.59.14 PM

Want a little inspiration with your morning coffee?

Do you know about the free, monthly breakfast series for us artistic types called Creative Mornings?  And did you know there are 40+ chapters of this fabulous lecture series going on in cities as diverse as Budapest, Cape Town and Seattle?  In 2013, each city will take on a similar theme for the month.  In January the theme will be Happiness. tumblr_mfd9fljTjv1qhkcy5o1_1280

I will be at the next NYC meeting on Jan. 11.   You should go too.  Here is why:

1.  It’s free.

2.  Meet other creatives.

3.  Get out of your own head.