Chennai’s Weather

Chennai is a hot metropolis. In terms of the weather, that is. Otherwise, it is a straightjacketed, insular city that welcomes barely anyone. No offence, we are like that only. The weather moves to barely pleasant in November to Feb. The rest of the year, you deal with humongous humidity almost perennially at 90%. It’s enough to make an apple sweat. Or an egg, though I’ve never quite seen either of them (sweat, that is) There are sweat patterns on everyone’s clothes, from the maps of wetness underarms to the sticky maps that stretch across the entire chest. If you like looking cool, stay in your car or make a dash for the nearest air-conditioned space. Or come out only at night, when the weather is just as muggy, but no one scrutinises your clothes with disdain. If you want to get to smell the ultimate melting pot of body odour, just get on to a bus and you’ll get everything from day smells, to the cooking to many indecipherable ones. Chennai is good to anyone with a blocked nose. To everyone else, it’s an olfactory nightmare


Behind the New York Times 10th year in Ideas

The traditional album format for presenting an annual list has evolved. This year’s list ideas have given way to a format where an entire window of text headlines drops down to reveal the article below when a headline is clicked on. There are videos that depict practically each section, driving the notion that most people view rather than read.

It also tackles a tricky problem for designers. How do you get people to see the whole picture, especially when it has several elements? In most cases when it comes to showing log lists of ‘Best of’s’… the design has been linear, except that one could click anywhere on the line. Here, there is a concerted effort to engage, present the information as an overview and be able to quickly drill down to see what one is primarily interested in.

I have a feeling that a lot of designers are going to be using this for the presentation of information in a format that keeps people on the page longer rather than click to go to the next level. Helps your search engine scores and the amount of time spent on a page, especially when one doesn’t have to navigate away from it.


The Last Minute Syndrome

Why do agencies always get ideas at the last minute? Apparently, it is the only way that everything in the world gets done. The best ideas come when there is pressure to deliver. Othwerwise, agencies are in ‘thought’ rather than ‘action’ mode. We have tried to anticipate what our client needs and prime them for it. But each time, we found that clients have their own pressures and priorities. An advertisement campaign is only one item on their list of things to be done. It’s worse for service providers down the line from an agency. They have even less time to deliver. Take printers for example. The brochures are designed and approved with only days to spare. The printers usually have to burn midnight oil to catch the deadline. The printed brochures or any other material is delivered to the location required just on the day of the launch when the ad appears and customers start calling.

One day before is absolute chaos. Whether it is a stage show, a launch event or the inauguration of a sales outlet or an office. I have seen bare supermarkets open within hours of the shelves being stacked with the goods. Hotels where the furniture just comes in a day before the launch. Even Chennai’s legislative asembly inaugurated by the Prime Minister was more of a superstructure than an actual building. If you had driven by a few days earlier, it would have looked impossible. The Commonwealth Games is another shining example of the Last Minute Syndrome. The press went to town with the filth, the state of unpreparedness and the reputation of the nation was at stake. But then, everything miraculously fell into place and then, no one seems to remember. Until the next Last Minute Syndrome presents itself