A Guide to Typography

When I first worked in publishing, typography fascinated me. I loved the thinking behind the crafting of typefaces. I loved the thought that someone had spent hours and hours agonising over the shape of each letter – crafting the balance between the x-height and the decenders/ascenders.

But more importantly, I realised that every typeface told a story. And that story had a subtle impact on every message, every word – and every mark on the page. It’s why good designers study and understand typography. And why all communicators should have a base level of knowledge. Now thanks to this infographic you can.


#londonriots and the Shadow of Shame

Like many of you I am saddened, angered, disappointed and exasperated by the riots spreading across London. And while it’s easy to point the finger at the rioters, I’d like to pause for a moment, take a breath and reflect on these events (given that in Australia we have the luxury and space to do so).

Now I in no way condone the violence that is taking place. But it is important to point out that these type of events occur when populations are disenfranchised, when disadvantage is baked into the institutions that make up our society, and when access to opportunity, to a future worth living, is limited by where you were born and where you went to school.

Earlier this year, we saw protests across the Middle East occur almost spontaneously. Obama’s Arab Spring was seen as a cause for celebration – with protesters organising, communicating and rallying support through social media – bringing to the West, a deeper understanding of social and civil issues facing the people of countries from Tunisia and Egypt to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

But in the #londonriots some of these techniques are being used not to build momentum and to create a movement for change. It’s not a civil problem nor an issue of democracy. It’s a social problem and its emotional resonance strikes us deeply, because at its heart is a great yawning emptiness that we also helped to create.


The woman in this video says, “we’re not fighting for a cause” – and she is right. Decades of social, political and cultural neglect reinforced and amplified by the divisiveness of dog whistle politics has led to this point. As Laurie Penny explains:

The people running Britain had absolutely no clue how desperate things had become. They thought that they could take away the last little things that gave people hope, the benefits, the jobs, the possibility of higher education, the support structures, and nothing would happen. They were wrong. And now my city is burning …

It’s a terrible situation.

But we’re also seeing the same thing here in Australia. We’re following the same path. Rather than leadership on big, moral and social issues such as racism, asylum seekers, access to opportunity and education, and yes, even climate change, we see minute focus on what our politicians believe they can get away with. It’s the bare minimum in terms of social policy.

And when you reach for the bare minimum rather than trying to constantly raise the bar, as a society you are on a slippery slope. You end up with outcomes that you deserve rather than outcomes that you would hope for. As Laurie also says:

Now is the time when we make our choices. Now is the time when we decide whether to descend into hate, or to put prejudice aside and work together. Now is the time when we decide what sort of country it is that we want to live in.

The same applies here. The same applies in the US. It’s time for us all to step out of the shadow of shame.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

217 | Today I have unpacked ...“May you live in interesting times” is known as the Chinese curse. And while the origins of this phrase are unclear – there is no doubt that our current times certainly are “interesting”. Our social connectivity has exposed the realities of globalisation in its triumphant and tragic dimensions and sometimes it is difficult to comprehend the human impact of this. These five must-read posts from last week are great articles that are trying to grapple with the challenges that we are all facing – as individuals, as well as global citizens.

  1. Shel Israel steps away from his usual commentary and analysis and gets a little personal, describing what it means to be lost in the middle.
  2. As a marketer, I know people are inconsistent. That they will do one thing and say another. But I am always surprised when when we act recklessly or without care for others. Chris Guillebeau reminds us how to do the right thing.
  3. At a time when London is burning, Mark Earls reminds us that we need to look at the social world – the places and spaces in which we live and help to create – to understand the behaviour of individuals. Don’t look to the trees. Pay attention to the forest.
  4. Mike Arauz talks about the Millennium Villages Project which is an ambitious program that aims to show the way that people can lift themselves and their communities out of poverty. Brilliant and inspiring.
  5. An ecosystem also needs its institutions. And Umair Haque suggests that its time we built institutions which embrace our individuality and our humanity.

Changes to LinkedIn Social Advertising

Remember when we found out that Facebook had claimed ownership over all the images, content, links etc that you uploaded? Remember the outcry?

Well it appears that LinkedIn have made a similar change to their terms of service. This change – which defaults to an approval – allows LinkedIn to use your image and/or your name in social-based advertising. This means that your name or image would create the context for either LinkedIn’s own advertising efforts – or for other brand’s advertising within the LinkedIn network.

By default, each LinkedIn member agrees to the following:


BUT if you do NOT agree to this, update your LinkedIn profile to remove the check mark. It is found in the Privacy Controls in your Account tab. Just click the link Manage Social Advertising and make the change.

With thanks to Ingeborg vanBeusekom.

LinkedIn Statistics July 2011

The social network for professionals, LinkedIn, has gone from strength to strength during the course of 2011. There was a successful IPO and a sustained growth in membership which saw it overtake MySpace as the the #2 social network in the US.

This presentation captures some of the key demographic data for LinkedIn as at July 2011. Take a look.

Is LinkedIn part of your community engagement strategy? Take a look at slide 14 which details the LinkedIn membership by job function. You might be surprised to see that many of your key decision makers (especially in B2B) are represented. And if LinkedIn is part of your strategy – how are you using it? What tips can you share?

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

As usual there was plenty of good reading last week. I hope that as you read each of these posts that you take the time to bookmark the blogs and subscribe to their feeds. Most of the people who are featured in this weekly wrap up consistently deliver quality thinking and content – and I would encourage you to connect, comment and subscribe to their blogs. It’s the social thing to do!

  1. Rachel Happe seeks to provide some clarity in amongst the chaos of our news and information rich world, sharing some tips for making decisions in a networked world.
  2. If every blog, every Facebook page and every tagged or location based check-in on FourSquare or Instagram can count as a branded impression – how do we value (and cost out) our marketing programs? Shiv Singh wonders the same thing – when a trillion impressions aren’t enough.
  3. Many of us are “professionally creative” – that is we use our creativity as part of everyday work. And while we can often fall victim to “writer’s block” or other creative deadzones, most of the time, we need to be creative on purpose. Drew McLellan explains some of the things that keep him at the top of his game.
  4. I love this post and the image from Mark Hancock. He claims this post is For Planners Only, but it is – in truth – for all of us.
  5. In case you missed it, birthday boy David Armano shares six thoughts on where Google+ is going. Some clarity in a sea of speculation.