Friday, November 19, 2004

Technology, sex, and feng shui

We had a preliminary presentation today at the offices of a new broadband service provider. It’s phase one and logos in a variety of shapes and hues are spread out on the table. As we were going through one particular design, a woman (designation unknown) remarked that it looked too male-oriented. I chuckled that we must be doing something right then, as statistically, males make up a higher percentage of early adopters of technology. “That’s so sexist,” she replied.

Well, maybe so. But creativity is more market driven than we want to admit. So that comment really came across to me as odd. Anyway, it was interesting to hear our client’s reaction and response to our own arty-farty design rationale. I mean, you work on a design and then you rationalise its look, colour, references, etc, with a nod to scalability and application. Then comes the feedback. And your client reads into the designs stuff you did not realize, interpretations you did not anticipate.

Logos or wordmarks are strange things. Corporate IDs and brands that last – like McDonald’s golden arches and Nike’s swoosh - are so well known by their sheer simplicity - not to mention ubiquity - you know they could not have been decided by committee (for those uninformed of their now mythic origins). Now most clients say they want something striking and original (obviously); on the other hand, they tend to take their cues from other players in the industry, not wanting to stray too far from what is perceived as acceptable.

We were also told that it had to transcend borders as it had to be as meaningful in KL as well as in other cities in Asia (where their business would be conducted). Oh yes, this time round we were reminded that the colour red had to be featured somewhere. It’s a feng shui thing, you see. We had to make sure to avoid geomantic taboos like sharp edges that may cut yourself, holes that suggest money leaking away, typo with a downward slant, etc.

Ah well. Just another day at the office.

Note: Internet Use by Gender
"The Internet has been dominated by males since its inception. Although use of the Internet by females has increased dramatically in the last few years, women and girls worldwide still use the Internet less and in different ways than males......Historically, females have been less likely to embrace new technology than males." More

"While women represent nearly 50% of the labor force in Asia, and own more than one-third of small and medium businesses in the region, in 2000 they accounted for only 22% of Internet users on average....[The] male-female ratio ranges from 94:6 in Middle East to 78:22 in Asia, 75:25 in Western Europe, 62:38 in Latin America, and finally 50:50 in USA" More

"The gender gap in Internet use was as high as 20.2 percentage points in Italy (men, 41.7 percent; women, 21.5 percent) to as low as 1.6 percentage points in Taiwan (where 25.1 percent of men are Internet users, compared to 23.5 percent of women), according to survey data. In the United States, 73.1 percent of men use the Internet compared to 69 percent of women -- about half the average gap of countries in the UCLA study." More

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