Punch & Brodie Puppet Productions created the following PowerPoint presentation for Metropolis Magazine.

 

OPENING SLIDE:

 

Strategic New Forecasting Trends

for the Design Press: Myth or Reality?

William C. Clarke, PhD

Prepared for

Metropolis Magazine

May 17, 2002

 

 

 

DR. CLARKE

Good Morning. Iím very glad to be here. And I want to thank Horace Havemeyer III for having the courage, intelligence and foresight to invite someone of my caliber and experience to share my insights with you.

 

What is the topic that Iím going to speak about today? Strategic New Forecasting Trends for the Design Press: Myth or Reality. I know that is the question that is uppermost on your minds this morning.

 

So let me begin with some very good news. Next slide please.

 

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DR.CLARK

This pie chart represents the whole design publication field for the year 2000 according to my research. And if you picture that it is composed of five areas, or five bottom lines as it were, then 45% of that whole thing, and the biggest bottom line, is actually a nice cherry color.

 

The tiniest slice of this is a cheerful yellow, and in between are some other fairly primary colors. Thatís what we had in 2000. Next slide please.

 

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DR. CLARKE:

Now in 2001 as you can see, some of the colors were more muted, reflecting the more muted tones of the times. So if you apply a heavy shade of mute to the original pies, this is what you would get.

 

Next slide, please.

 

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Now itís too early to tell exactly what this means. To the untrained eye, it might look as though design publication revenues were getting darker. But in my analysis, it rather means that they are getting more sophisticated. When 45 % of the economy is deep plum, you know youíve outgrown your Crayolas. I might actually wear this at an art opening.

 

Thatís the good news. The bad news is that apparently someone filched that slice near the top. If youíve seen anyone with cobalt blue around their mouth please let me know.

 

And although itís a bit early for projections, Iíll go out on a limb for how 2003 will turn out. Slide please.

 

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DR. CLARKE

As you can see, I predict strong growth in consumption across the board in 2003.

 

Before we go on, you probably want to know a little about me. I am a Market Analyst who specializes in monetization modeling of aesthetics-oriented meta-economics. Itís a lonely profession. Only the elite intelligentsia understands that a market analyst is not someone who thinks about grocery stores.

 

Even my mother doesnít understand. She said, ďWilliam, your father is a plumber. Iím not a plumber, but I know what plumbing is. Now you? Tell me again, what is it that you do?Ē

 

She got all excited one day when she saw a picture of a faucet in a magazine I was reading. She said, ďSo sweetie, are you getting interested in plumbing?Ē

 

So I said, "Mom, my job is not about faucets, itís about the art of faucets. And from the art, there forms a design aesthetic, from which arises a culture about aesthetics, around which forms a history, which is captured in the literature of design, which develops into an industry. And my job is to analyze that industry!"

 

And she said, "(long pause, nodding) Well good luck to you. As long as you're happy."

 

Bless her heart.

 

But getting back to your magazine. Truly I have to say this, and you may think Iím just trying to flatter you since youíre paying me to speak here, but itís the absolute truth: One of my favorite magazines in the world is Metropolitan Home. Ö Oh, Iím sorry (reads paper) Metro-POL-itus. Metro- po-LITE-us. Yeah, you know, where you guys work.

 

What did I say? I said, Metro-POLis, didnít I?

 

Actually, your magazine is seeing very high advertising revenue compared with other magazines in your field such as El Dťcor and Surface Dweller. Jamie was sharing your numbers with me earlier, and I have to tell you, these other magazines are not selling space as successfully as you guys are. I donít want to say theyíre desperate, but hereís one ad that ran recently. Slide, please.

 

SLIDE

 

But now, what youíve been waiting for. I thought I would share with you some of the most recent trends in the design and publication fields that I have discovered in my research. Because thatís what I do, you know. I research things like this.

 

According to my research, we're seeing a movement away from being in focus. The new look is out of focus. Slide, please.

 

SLIDE

 

DR. CLARKE

People today simply have too much detail in their lives. They long for blurriness and indistinguishability. Doesnít that just make you feel better already?

 

This slide of course depicts the image of Margaret Thatcher on the new Euro. Next slide.

 

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DR. CLARKE

The designer of this can opener is not only blurring the distinctions between form and function, but actually blurring the can opener.Next slide.

 

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DR. CLARKE

And donít you agree this fire hydrant appears much less ominous than your traditionally stark and in-focus one? I know I do.

 

Another significant trend is a movement towards simplicity. Simplify! Simplify! Simplify! is the cry of the day. The next slide illustrates how even an intimidating computer keyboard can be made user-friendly. Slide, please.

 

SLIDE

Imagine how delighted the user will be to have only a single key to master. No more typos, that's for sure.

 

Your magazine also covers the cross-pollination between design and sustainability. This next slide is proof positive that you can incorporate sustainable air conditioning into a bold and elegant design. Slide.

 

SLIDE

 

 

At the same time, architecture is opening up to a new era of elegance and grandiosity. Enormous, sweeping entrances that lift the heart and soul are the new way for building designers to say, ďWelcomeĒ to all who pass there. Slide.

 

SLIDE

In fact you may have already noticed the scaffolding going up. This is the architectís rendering of the entrance for the soon-to-be-remodeled headquarters of Metropolis Magazine.

 

Turning now to new trends in the publishing arts. In typography, weíre seeing a strong movement toward economy of line. They say that the fewer moving parts there are in a watch, the less likely it is to malfunction. Well the same is true with a font. The fewer strokes the better.

 

Obviously if you cut the complexity of a font in half, then people will be able to read it twice as fast.

 

For example, a bold new font to come out of New Zealand last year is called Obscura. The next slide shows an experimental street sign as rendered in Obscura. Slide, please.

 

SLIDE

 

Iím sure youíll agree, itís clean, dramatic, and leaves plenty of white space.

 

Also plenty of room for interpretation. Next slide.

 

SLIDE

And by the way, my hat is off to your art department for the witty conceit in the article on module office furniture in your June issue. Where one might expect to find the title of the article, you cleverly substituted a cartoon comparing office cubicles to ratís mazes.

 

I never did find the title of the article, though.

 

Frankly, Iím quite impressed with your approach to advertising. You have a real knack for branding. Itís a crafty strategy to focus on a narrow niche market, and itís clear that you have positioned yourselves solidly as the pre-eminent resource in which to advertise bizarre chairs. Slide.

 

[SLIDE]

 

To put it in personal terms, if I were ever in the market for a cross between a seat and a dental appliance, your magazine will spring to mind!

 

 

And - Iím pleased to report that your magazine is on the cutting edge of another trend in magazine publishing: using different textured papers throughout. Itís a delight to the senses to leaf through a magazine that feels like stack of mail.

 

On that note, I thought your production people would be particularly interested in a brand new printing technology from Sweden. SlideÖ

 

SLIDE

 

DR. CLARKE

The Potty Plotter is able to print four colors on standard 2-ply bathroom tissue. Iím sure your production department can use this technology to great effect.

 

 

In closing, I would be remiss not to comment on your logo as it appears on your cover. Itís great, except for just one thing. Slide.

 

SLIDE

 

Youíve probably heard this before, and I hate to bring it up if itís a sore point. When I first saw your magazine cover, something just wasnít quite right. So after careful analysis, Iíd like to present to you a proposal for a slight adjustment that I believe will correct the problem. Next slide, please!

 

SLIDE

 

 

DR. CLARKE

Iím glad you like it.

 

Now if can leave you with a final thought, it would be to reflect on just what it is about the design arts that draws people like you and me. I think the essence of that appeal is that design holds up a mirror into our soul. Through the designs that an individual chooses to surround themselves with, to live in, to manipulate, to sit onÖ this is how that individual chooses to express his or her unique individuality in the world.

 

Slide, please

 

SLIDE

 

DR. CLARKE

And so these subtle design choices that each of us makes day to day, the colors we choose, the shapes, the angles, the allegorical references they symbolize Ė all of these help to illuminate the dark interiors of our subconscious, and emblazon our personal traits, whether noble or foolish, for all the world to see, as if to say, ďIím human, and Iím alive! Hear me roar!Ē

 

 

 

DR. CLARKE:

So in conclusion, I would like to thank all of you, and especially my mother and father, for this great honor. I know theyíre very proud of me.

 

Which reminds me, you should be very proud how well your company saves money! I donít know how Horace did it, but instead of my usual speakerís fee, he got me to barter for ad space instead. Even though I have nothing to advertise myself.

 

So, every month for the next 16 years, we agreed to run this. Next slide.

 

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Next slide.

 

 

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This presentation was created for

Magazine

 

By

 

DR. CLARKE:

And now Iíd like to open it up for Questions and Answers.