July 3, 2007

A Most Unusual Display

As I was going through all my retail display photos from Italy, this one stood out from the crowd. It definitely caught my eye as I was walking along the street. Is it a shopper-stopper? Yes. Is it innovative? Yes. Is it effective? Maybe. Does it help to sell frames? Maybe.

I think it works better with sunglasses. The dark lenses give them more mass so they stand out from the display. The other frames get lost in all the twists and turns of the metal rods.

What is your opinion?

July 1, 2007

Fed Up With Spam? This can help!

Are you as frustrated as I am with Spam? This week I got an apologetic message from a client who was thoroughly embarrased by a spammer who stole his e-mail address. This creep sent everyone in this doc's e-mail address book a solicitation for porn, complete with a smutty photo! And somehow it was sent from the doctor's e-mail server so his address was in the "From" field. How horrible!

Luckily I hadn't checked my e-mail account that morning, so when I did I recognized the spam and trashed it. In the last few weeks not just one, but TWO of my e-mail addresses have been hi-jacked by spammers. One of them was a new address I had just set up! I hadn't even used it yet and in just 3 days I received 185 spams!

I thought using a contact form on my website would be a safe way for people to send me an e-mail without exposing my e-mail address to spam-bots that crawl around websites harvesting addresses. Boy, was I wrong!

I called my webmaster because I thought there might be some security breech on his servers. He explained to me that some spammers now have automated programs that will take your domain name and try dozens of name and initial combinations derived from the domain name when your real name appears in it. Sometimes they stumble on an address that works!

So, what can you do about spam? My webmaster recommended this book to me and it delivers good value at very reasonable $9.95. We've added the recommended security measures to my contact form and I now have a strategy for setting up hard-to-guess and "disposable" e-mail addresses.

World's Narrowest Optometry Office

This little shop made me shake my head in wonder when I happened upon it in Florence, Italy. I thought I had designed a few incredibly narrow spaces in my time, but this one has me beat. It couldn't be more than 8 to 10 feet wide!

It must be an optometrist's office because you can see the equipment in the back room. The marble floor looks like it might be centuries old. But then EVERYBODY in Italy has marble floors!

The displays are nice–simple openings no more than 12" deep with beautiful wood frames, some with sliding glass doors for security. The "trade-show" style halogen lights are also a pleasing design element as they march down to the back of the office.

The two-tone wood reception counter is good-looking. The display on the back wall is brightly-lit, which helps draw your eye to it.

I can't help but wonder why they didn't switch the positions of the display and the door to the exam room. Where does your eye go when you look in this door? Straight back to the exam room! If the display was in that position, you'd be looking at frames instead of equipment.

This is a good example of designing almost everything well in a very difficult space, but missing the boat on the back wall design. I hope you never have to deal with a space this narrow for a new office, but this is proof that it can be done.