Kirin Beer Ad for Jugoya Autumn Harvest Moon

Thoughtful, carefully considered, and beautifully executed. That’s Japanese craftsmanship for you.

It’s well-known that Japanese culture values, and places much emphasis on, the four seasons. And it’s not uncommon for companies to incorporate seasonal themes into advertising. Japanese beer companies, in particular, are known for their proactive development of limited-time seasonal beers. But this super-creative ad by Kirin definitely caught our eye.

The Grand Kirin is a craft beer brewed in the style of a Calypso IPA. (Calypso happens to be the name of one of Saturn’s moons) And this Fall, Kirin is releasing a special Izayoi no tsukibeer, which celebrates the Jugoya autumn harvest moon. Specifically, Izayoi no tsuki refers to the moon on the 16th night of the month – the day after the harvest full moon, which was yesterday – and is meant to inspire a longingness for the moon, which has begun to wane and rise later in the evening.

The ad itself is beautiful in its own right – an illustrated half-moon with similarly illustrated bottles that appear to be watching it rise. But when placed in train cars as they are intended, the glossy ceiling creates a reflection that renders the half-moon as full. As it so happens, today is the 16th day of the month so, this evening, look up into the sky, crack open a beer if that’s your thing, and wait for the moon to rise. As the ad points out, “there’s beauty in a waning moon.”

(via Spoon & Tamago)

Building More Brand Knowledge

Ok, back to work…

But what am I working on?

Right now, I’m working on building up my knowledge on branding. I’ve always been a keen learner of branding, and I remain intrigued at how we are attracted to certain brands more than the others.

Despite having a marketing background and undertaken a branding project, I still raw in the field of branding. My dream is to be able to run my own studio, work with right people – clients and staffs – people who I’d like to have beer with afterwork. Those are the type of things that would energise me in the morning.

Ikigai – the reason for waking up every morning. My reason would be the best feeling in the world is to be surrounded by the people I’m happy to be with, and together we will create brands to bring them to the next level.

Behind every brand is a story. We will work to bring this story to the audience and craft a compelling space in the market.

Overwhelmed

The time was 8.15am, I think.

I had just taken my breakfast and drank the coffee. It’s still early and I’ve a full day ahead. I’d planned the tasks last night, the checklist to be done today.

It should be a wonderful day, I reassured myself. Alone at home, away from the horrible commute to work, away from the distractions in the office. Me, alone, at home. It would be the perfect day in a long, long while.

The time now reads 12.25pm.

In between those four hours, I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to do. Instead, I did some of the things I always do when I put things off. Washing the dishes, vacuuming the floor, surfing mindlessly on the net. Anything but doing the tasks I’m supposed to be doing.

A quick peep at the notebook reveal I’ve written 8 tasks, of which 4 of them are strike off. Not too bad, but I should have accomplished them by now. Given the long hours of focus time, there’s really no excuses for the shabby productivity.

In truth, it’s not that we don’t have enough time. It’s because most of us don’t know how to manage it. I recall vaguely Shawn Blanc said knowing what to do is one thing, setting aside time to do them is another, but actually getting down to work is the hardest.

Why are we not starting? Having set aside the time to do them, and just sitting there letting our minds wander about? That’s quite a waste, isn’t it?

We need to build better defaults, as Shawn Blanc always advocates. When we are low on energy, we tend to do things that doesn’t require much mental reflexes. Things that we are used to. Like switching on the TV and stare at the screen watching the time go by. Before you know it, it’s time for bed and another day has passed. That’s another day without moving the needle towards your goal.

Every day, do something that moves the needle towards your goal.

Having good routines is the key to building good habits. Our days are made up of habits. I’ve been brushing regularly at night for the past 3 years. Initially, it was tough. There were days that I didn’t want to brush when I came home late, or was tired from the day’s exhaustion, or when I just didn’t feel like it. But I see the bigger goal – my teeth are not in the best condition and if I continue to not protect them, I won’t be having enough teeth to last me through the years. It’s a reality check. Each time I don’t feel like brushing up at night, I reminded myself of this fact. Now, no matter how tired I am, there’s no question if I’d even brush. It has become a habit that if I don’t do it, I’d feel strange.

When I went to the dentist last year, she said my teeth and gum are improving. That’s great news, a validation that my hard work has paid off, and farther reinforced that consistent work lead to progress.

If shows that if we put in hard work in anything, results will follow. Some will take longer than the others, but the wheels are in motion, moving the pieces towards your target.

Recently, Shawn Blanc (again), shares his take on buying books and what he gets out of them.

I’ve a problem with book hogging. I’ve more books (and magazines) than I can finish, but the urge to buy them is still as strong. I’m guilty each time I walk pass the bookshelves and see them pristine, some still in their wrapper, waiting to be read. But Shawn’s words assures me that if I can just pick up one thing – just one thing – from the book – then it’s worth it. You don’t even have to finish it. I’ve held on to the notion if you buy a book, the only way you can get full value out of it is by reading it from start to finish.

I’ve seen people giving advices that if a book doesn’t interest you, discard them. Move on. I haven’t been able to put it into practice until now. I no longer feel guilty if I don’t finish a book. I no longer feel bad if I can’t remember anything from it. I no longer feel a need to keep a book clean – I even jot down notes on books now!

It feels good writing this down.

Writing 300 words is one of the tasks for today and I’m happy to strike it off the notebook now.

Great Britain, United Kingdom and British Isles Explained

As always, Sketchplanation is able to illustrate a complex or confusing topic into an easily-understood drawing.

I’ve always thought that United Kingdom and Great Britain is an interchangeable term. Turns out I was wrong all along – Great Britain consists of just England, Scotland and Wales. UK is three of these countries plus Northern Island. Add Ireland to the mix and it’s called British Isles.

How enlightening!

Hello Vesper

Today I downloaded Vesper.

Today, I know of the news that Vesper will be shutting down.

I’m writing this piece on it now. Such a fine note app. So many little delights sparkle all over – sliding left to archive exits into the main menu and the piece you’re working on pops up, as if you are filing away the document in real world. It gives a positional sense of where you are and where the archive document went to. Also, if you attach a photo to the note, the picture fades out ever so slightly as if to indicate the drawing of curtain in the cinema. Denoting an end, like a closure to whatever you are working on.

Tap and reorder the note on the main section. The card slides up or down the existing notes, not unlike you climbing up or down the stairs. This feedback, though not my favourite, gives another sense of position. Perhaps the heavy-handiness can be reduced and be more subtle. 

But the intention is there, just like most things they do. 

Except establishing a viable business model. 

I wouldn’t have downloaded Vesper if I didn’t come across the news by John Gruber on his site Daring Fireball. 

I love daring fireball and it’s one of the first sites I added to my RSS feed years back. 

And Vesper has been on my iOS wish list since it was launched. 

But I never got it. Till now. 

I’m already using simplenote for my notes for the longest time. I’m heavily invested into it and never thought of switching to other software. What’s more, sync is so speedy and reliable these days that I sometimes take things for granted, until other less-able solutions make me appreciate how solid simplenote’s sync is across devices and platforms. 

For short snippets which I don’t intend to revisit, Scratch gets the job done. It’s bare, and doesn’t do anything much, opens up a blank page each time I fire up the app. But it’s exactly what I want. Type something in a hurry, and send it to whatever place I want later.

I really want to like Vesper. It’s one of those softwares that’s obviously well-considered and developed, but just came out short. My all time favourite service Everpix was the same (I still weep for it). 

John Gruber already knows what’s wrong. He makes many valid points on what possibly went wrong and what he could’ve done better. One of the points is to make the app free, with in-app purchase. A syncing service across platform. That would work. People who invest in the Mac app(which he said his team should’ve roll out first), would download the (free) copy of the iOS app, and pay an annual fee to sync their notes. I foresee people who buy the Mac app is already the ideal target audience for them. Those who want to give the app a spin can do so with iOS. This way, it should reach a wider audience and possibly generate greater revenue. 

I’m almost done writing this piece. 

Hello, Vesper 

Farewell, Vesper

Using Design To Build Trust: TED Talk By Joe Gebbia

Pass the phone to the person next to you. You feel vulnerable, insecure, right?

Would you feel comfortable if I were to ask you to stay in a complete stranger’s place?

You would feel awkward, hesitant and will probably dismiss the idea. That was how the majority thought when they heard first of Airbnb.

How do we use design to assure people the homes listed on the site are genuine and will be able to provide travellers with a good stay?

By using design to build trust, says Joe Gebbia, the co-founder of Airbnb.

When people share a part of themselves, it changes everything.

Trust, that’s when you start to build trust.

Offscreen Issue 12: Interview with Alexander Aghassipour of Zendesk

I love Offscreen magazine. It’s the only publication I’ve gotten every copy of since issue 7. Even if you’re not in the tech sector, you could still pick up nuggets of wisdom from the people behind the bits and pixels.

Issue 15 is just hot off the press and it will be the last issue using the current format. Comes the next issue, it will be a complete redesign. I’m looking forward to what Kai Branch will bring to this magazine.

Meanwhile, please support him for all the awesome work he has done for Offscreen, as well as sharing behind-the-scene work. One man operation for a sustainable publication is tough, props to him for consistently delivering such quality stuffs.

Also, I want to revisit Issue 12 where Alexander Aghassipour, founder of Zendesk, shares his thoughts on several things.

Be focused and obsessed
I learned that I needed to pick one thing and stick with it. It should be the first thing I think about when waking up in the morning and the last thing I think about when going to bed at night.

Getting word-of-mouth to spread through opinion leaders
We identified alpha consumers who would blog about us, be passionate about zendesk on social networks, and eventually make us mainstream.

Design first
You cannot brand or build your product without aesthetics and design being treated as first-class citizens.

On being bored
To me the ultimate luxury is – as weird as it sounds – to be able to be bored. Being bored means that you have no immediate schedule and no commitments. Time belongs to you. It opens up space for you to ponder, reload, and get new ideas. Like most other luxury items, I realize boredom is only valuable when it is scarce. But I’m deprived of it and in bad need of a refill.

On Remote Work

For the past few days, work has been torturing. The very act of going to work – a 1.5 hours commute each way – in a crowded bus and train – is enough to leave me jaded upon reaching the office.

That’s 3 hours of precious time spent travelling each day. 15 hours a week. It’s massive. The more I think of it, the more I realise it doesn’t make sense to mandatorily report to the office daily. My work could be done remotely, without any hiccup. The reasons why the higher-up are not keen in taking up the idea is probably due to trust, unbalancing the company structure, and habit.

I picked up Remote, written by the founders of a company I admire deeply in 37signals/ Basecamp. Sped through the book in a couple of days and mostly agree with what they said. However, some company’s culture is so conservative and deeply-rooted with resistance to change, it’s like facing all odds to even get them to consider this shift.

Even experimental change like working a few days a week from home (gauge the result, tweak it, and measure it again) is being rejected. Productivity should be measured against the progress and output of individuals, not against the number of hours our butts are in the office. Creatures deprived of meaning will eventually turn into undead.

I don’t want to turn into such soulless being with nothing to look forward to.