This NYTimes article was fairly light on substance, basically highlighting Luxury's slow but necessary acceptance of the online channel.
The article could've pointed to three other important factors that necessitate Luxury Brands to embrace online much more aggressively:
1. The significant time-shifting behaviors towards online (away from TV, Magazine, etc) applies to the high income demographic as much as any other demo.
2. Selling *from your own online store* is a key branding imperative for Luxury -- why allow Yoox or Net-a-Porter to own your (extremely valuable) customer?
3. The cross-channel customer is, according to some metrics, 4.5x more valuable over their lifetime than the single channel customer.
The second point above, the defensive strategy, is also a key reason for Luxury Brands to participate in Social Media. If your brand does not acknowledge (or participate or engage or at least encourage) the conversation you are missing out on developing and owning the relationship with your customer -- and someone else will be there to capitalize in your absence.
Speaking of typography - boardwalk food stands, ice cream vendors, and the frozen food section are always a good opportunity to just stop and soak in the visual noise. Obviously selling cheap fast food requires a good amount of shouting. A blog filled with these kinds of images would be something I could spend hours culling through.
Like many web designers who came up in the early 90s I've always felt the allure of making fonts tiny and more-or-less illegible (remember all those pixel-fonts, like FFF Harmony?). It may have been because we wanted to celebrate all the OTHER stuff on the page -- the gorgeous image, the slick navigation. We wanted our sites to be a bright-and-shiny object and have what a Creative Director of mine would call "The Wow Effect." It may have been because we came up in the Age of Flash where making things jiggle was the name of the game.
I've often argued (though not here, but in bars, often to people who don't care) that the current age of interface aesthetics belongs to the UI designer who focuses on end-user-needs rather than creative-presentation. One could argue (though you may need a couple beers) that the entire bruhaha over social media is largely thanks to nifty little presentation-layer gizmos
So, part of hero-ing the functional over the balls-out flash-intensive micro-sites of yore requires re-addressing font size -- perhaps one of the hardest things for me, personally, to let go of.
I recently came across Wilson Miner's Blog, interface designer behind Apple and Django, and read his argument for the 16 point font. In the above image he illustrates a point made to him by Oliver Reichenstein of Information Architects Japan:
Physically 16pt is as big as 11pt in print. Huh? Yes, the screen is
usually further away, which at such small distances, has a huge impact.
So Wilson took the above photo, and added:
On the left, a post on this site with 16px body text. On the right, an
article from a recent issue of Dwell, with what looks like 11pt
That image represents the sort of simple truth that makes me stop and reassess some of the design standards that I love to hold onto (read Oliver's full post on typographic rules in interface design, The 100% Easy-2-Read Standard). And the 16pt argument immediately reminded of another site that we were celebrating not too long ago for allowing itself to have big, easy-to-read type ...
Making form fields easy to use -- especially for those demographics whose eyesight may be not as keen as that of the online generation -- seemed to mirror the "inclusiveness" of the campaign itself. Big buttons and 16pt font made filling out this contribution form a breeze -- and that's the whole point.
I'm glad we've entered this functional-phase of interface design, it fits in perfectly with the mantra behind social media: that as designers, and as brands, we need to put the customer first.