A Logo Drenched In Class
This week on Overtime, get the inside scoop on an extra fancy new Rolls-Royce rebrand designed by the folks at Pentagram. Plus, what is Auto-Tune Typography? Learn all about the typographic trend you’ve been seeing all over the internet. Then, what the heck is going on with Instagram? We dig into the different ways to engage your audience amidst the many changes in social media trends…
This episode was sponsored by:
- Framer — Sign up for Framer for free or get 20% off any paid plan by visiting Framer.com/Overtime.
- Bannersnack — With the help of Bannersnack’s intuitive features, your team can focus on ideation rather than redundant tasks. Find out more at Bannersnack.com/Overtime.html.
Links mentioned in this episode
Meg: (Singing Get Ready by 2 Unlimited) Dah dah dah dah dah dah dah – y’all ready for this? I actually did not plan on doing that, so I’m not really sure how to transition from that into my normal intro. But hey, you’re here, I’m here, two beautiful people becoming one. You and I, your ear hole, my mouth hole. They’re just touching. This transition is not working well. Hi, I’m your host Meg “A Pile of Flaming Tires” Lewis, and welcome back to Overtime. Let’s get on into it.
This week on Overtime, another automotive redesign review from a person, me, who doesn’t enjoy reviewing redesigns. Plus, is this popular trend the auto-tune of typography? Ooh and I’m noticing some major changes in what’s happening on Instagram lately, so let’s break that down. Let’s go!
Coming in hot with yet another automotive redesign review from your buddy Meg, a person who has very warm opinions on logo and brand redesigns. Yay! Our dear beloved Pentagram has redesigned yet another brand. This isn’t their first time, they’ve done this before, they redesigned Rolls-Royce. So, if you’re looking for sort of a high-class, luxury, celebrity lifestyle, turn your volume up because this is going to be great. Put on your robe, or your smoking jacket perhaps, grab your cigar, pop your little monogrammed slippers on, pet your poodle or your bichon, I don’t know, what are high class dog breeds? Probably just breeds, like purebred dogs. Grab your closest purebred dog and elevate your legs above your heart and sit back and relax, turn on your fire. I’m going to stop this now.
Okay, so Pentagram redesigned the Rolls Royce brand, and it’s definitely something. I’ll tell you exactly what’s happening here. So, Rolls-Royce has something called the “Spirit of Ecstasy” which is… wow, what a name. It is a statuesque woman-like figure that is always on the hood of the car, you know, something you can really just grab and break off if you wanted to. Just me? Anyway, it’s called the Spirit of Ecstasy, and Pentagram has decided that the Spirit of Ecstasy is now their primary logo. And they’ve done a little redesign of the Spirit of Ecstasy, basically, she’s the same structurally. They did, however, flip her around, like not upside down. They didn’t do that. They mirrored her so now she was facing the left. If you’re looking at her, she was facing the left, your left, and now she’s facing your right, which now I think they’ve justified by saying now she’s looking forward. Oh, she’s looking ahead, very optimistic of Rolls-Royce.
And in reading a bit about this redesign, I also noticed that they were very concerned about the shape of her body and her not appearing too thin. So, they were really emphasizing the waist and what the waist looked like. She does also have two, I guess it’s from the side, it’s a silhouette view, so she also has a sort of a protrusion coming out of her chest area, which I would assume is a breast. So, there’s that, they probably had to worry about the size of that, as well as how thin the waist is. They didn’t want her to appear too thin. Generally, she looks like a thin presenting woman. I don’t know. How do I do a review of the Spirit of Ecstasy? Oh dear. I’m going to move on.
So, beyond our beloved Spirit of Ecstasy, we also have a few other things that Pentagram has done. They’ve done a new logotype treatment in this very classy looking sans serif. They also created a new monogram for Rolls-Royce that’s sort of a serif, again, just drenched in class. I don’t know what class is. I’m not a part of that sort of lifestyle. But it’s what I imagined classy looks like, which is the word “classy” a classist term? I would assume yes, right? My brain just had a real hard time with that one. Okay, so I want you to take a look at it yourself. Just do a light Google. The rebrand is going into effect September first for Rolls-Royce, so we’re a little ahead of that, so if you just go to rollsroyce.com, I don’t know is that the URL? You might not see it. I actually have not looked so I’m not sure, but I do know that it’s not going in effect until September first. So just do a little Pentagram Google, and you’ll find the redesign that way. And I think we’ll probably link to it in the show notes a little bit too. Take a look and let me know if you think it’s good or bad. What is good or bad? It’s very subjective. I think it’s, it just, it is. This is exactly why I should not review redesigns. Because I won’t say if something’s good or bad, I just say, “It is.” I’m getting fired.
Moving on, there is a fascinating Medium article that has been circulating around my Twitter lately, and its title is “This is Autotune Typography.” What a headline? I clicked on that and read through the whole thing so you don’t have to, or you should, you should probably, because I’m just going graze right over a lot of things. But this piece was written by Italian designer Silvia Sfligiotti, I think I got that name right, but I probably didn’t, and Silvia is annoyed by a trend. There’s a trend that’s happening in design and Silvia’s annoyed by it. Like, all of us should be maybe a little bit annoyed by all trends because it is annoying. A lot of times it’s lazy because we’re just capitalizing on something that’s popular, we’re not thinking about what it means, I get it. It’s rightful to be critical of trends always. We’re all guilty of being a part of trends, and that’s okay. But it’s good to question it, it’s good to question that and critique it. That’s not an unhealthy thing to do.
So, Silvia is annoyed by this trend. Silvia says, in case you’re wondering what this type style is, I’m going to explain it to you in Silvia’s words, so Silvia says quote, it’s “A few uppercase words, centered or ranged at the top-left corner of a page, set in the regular weight of any grotesque font. More often than not, it’s black type on white, or the reverse, but colors may appear.” So, if you don’t know what this looks like, you can imagine it in your head, go to the Medium article, Google “This is Autotune Typography” or look in the show notes on dribbble.com/overtime on this episode, and it’ll link to the medium article, and then you’ll be able to see all of the examples. But as soon as you see them, you’ll be like, “Ah, yes, I know exactly what this is.” I don’t know if I would know by the description, but as soon as I saw it, I was like, “Ah, yeah, yeah, I see. I see. I know that.”
I don’t know if I’ve really done too much of this design style, it’s not really my style, but I mean, I’m sure I’ve been influenced by it a little bit. I’ve definitely probably tried some of these things before. And especially when I was in school, I remember a lot of these kinds of things were popular, and so I think I may have tinkered around with it a little bit. But we know the definition, we know what auto-tune is in music, right? It was invented to control the range of somebody’s pitch so that it would be perfectly in pitch, so that the melodies of songs would always be the same and whatever. So, it just kind of helped the artist’s and the musician’s voices along a little bit. And we love auto-tune, the world loves auto-tune now. We’re used to it, it’s easy, and it is good on the ears. And like most trends, I’m sure, it’s great to be critical of it as well.
But Silvia says that auto-tune is the audio equivalent of this typographic sameness. The all-caps type treatment can be applied to almost anything and makes it instantly look okay and fit for our times, and that’s exactly what auto-tune is. So, by definition, the fact that we’re just using this all-caps type treatment and applying it to basically anything, and it’s easy and fast, and it makes it look okay and fit for the time, that makes total sense to me. I like that, that is good. That is okay. My brain is processing that information. It feels good about that.
But I think most of the Criticism with this style is that it’s limiting the effect of the communication because what does this style exactly stand for? What does this mean? If you’re going to design something in this style, what is that thing standing for? Like, what does it actually mean? What is it communicating? Like, I could see, maybe if you were designing a flyer for your garage sale, this would make sense. But if you’re designing a brand asset for a company that needs to have its own personality, I don’t know, does this make any sense? Because it doesn’t really convey any sort of emotional qualities, and I think that’s the critique that I’m going to take at this point. Hey, at least you’re not getting an “it just is” from me on this one. I think it’s okay to critique this and I also think it’s okay to design in this style too. I think just asking yourself what it means, what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it is so important.
And I think a lot of people that I saw on the internet discussing this article on this Medium post, they were saying that it’s totally fine to have this as one of your explorations for something, but make it one option of many options. Make sure that you’re weighing why you’re making this decision and make sure that you’re weighing other decisions as well before choosing this one. Like, it can be one consideration, but not always the default.
We can all agree that a good creative workflow solves the common pain points in the fragmented design process. And that’s where Bannersnack comes in. As I said on their podcast, I’m a big believer in creating a supportive team environment. And you know, while we’re working from home, it’s more important than ever for teams to collaborate productively. With the help of Bannersnack’s intuitive features, your team can focus on ideation rather than redundant tasks. So, find out more at bannersnack.com/overtime.html.
Meg: Okay, so I’m not sure how I want to structure this conversation, I just want to offer up some observations that I’ve had on what’s happening lately on Instagram. So, if you’re not on Instagram or you are on Instagram, I don’t think this matters, I think this is something that you’ll either agree or disagree with if you are on Instagram, and if you’re not on Instagram, I think this is just a fascinating thing that’s happening culturally and trend-wise with how people are using social media.
So, I’ve noticed a lot of changes lately in what exactly is happening with Instagram, what people are posting, what people are enjoying that I post, and that other people are posting. So, something that I’ve noticed, and I’m just going to kind of go through some observations and what I’ve noticed other people doing, what works for me, what people have been behaving with when it comes to the stuff that I’m posting, and all of that. So, something that has happened to me lately, even within the past year with Instagram specifically, is that authenticity is important. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’m always quote unquote, “authentic,” I’m not really afraid of being myself in any regard. I spent a lot of time of my life and career being a curated version of myself, and that is not for me anymore. It just did not make me feel great about who I was, it made me hide a lot about who I was, and I’m done with that. In the last few years, I’ve been very much an advocate of showing every single side of myself and being extremely honest about who I am and being confident about that. And it’s just done wonders for my self-confidence and it’s been great.
So, on Instagram specifically, authenticity is a huge trend. People can see right through fake people and, you know, we hate-follow people that are fake on purpose. That’s just what people do. I actually do not do that, but I know other people do. It’s like watching reality TV. But for most of us, authenticity really helps with engagement and all of that. But what I’ve noticed is that it’s getting so much so, to the fact where no matter how authentic I make my stuff or whatever the post is, if I add anything as far as a sales pitch goes, so if I write, I’m just pouring my heart out, talking about my anxiety and things I’ve been struggling about lately, and then at the bottom of that, I say, “By the way, I’m talking about this as well on this week’s episode of Overtime, go listen,” then that post immediately does not perform very well. But if I remove the call to action of “go listen to Overtime,” then it performs like, 400% better. It’s wild. And it makes sense because as soon as people think of you wanting something out of them in return, it feels less genuine. Ah, but it’s just really hard because my career, and most of your careers might very well, especially if you’re a freelancer like me, my career depends on promoting myself on social media, which is hard. It’s so hard and confusing.
So, I’m constantly having to tiptoe around, find really interesting and original ways of promoting things that I do while remaining authentic at the same time. It’s so hard. And all throughout the week, because I do so many different live streams and podcasts and things throughout each week that I have to promote, most of my posts lately are promotional, like even though even though I have valuable information in each of the posts that’s fun, inspiring, providing value, they’re still promoting something. So, it’s really been hard for me lately to get any kind of engagement for that reason. And I know a lot of people blame it on the algorithm of like, “Oh, if you put the words ‘link in bio’ in your description, Instagram won’t surface it.” And I’ve talked to a lot of people that know more about this than I do, and that’s actually, allegedly, not the case. The case is truly what the people that follow you end up liking, so if you post a lot of videos and people love the videos, they comment a lot, and they’re liking the videos a lot, they watch the whole thing, then naturally, anytime you post a video, it’s going to perform better, it’s going to show up on people’s feeds more, the people that like the videos more, they’ll see more videos from you.
And I have the opposite problem where I don’t post as many videos, so anytime I do post a video, Instagram’s like, “Well, nobody really ever watches her videos, so we won’t really surface this one as much,” so it just doesn’t get surface. So, I’ve definitely noticed that if you want to be known now for videos all of a sudden, you just got to be patient and post more videos and just kind of double down on that and do it more and more and more, and then the algorithm will bend and mold into your favor.
But another thing that I’ve noticed is that the audience is always subconsciously asking, “What’s in it for me?” So, that is why the sales pitch aspect really doesn’t do well, because an audience, they want a genuine interaction where you don’t want anything from them, you’re just giving to them, which is a sad truth. So, the audience wants stuff from you that’s benefiting them in some way, whether that’s a valuable lesson, or a piece of advice, or educational content, or whether it’s just sheer inspiration. So, for me, the two types of things that perform the best are things where I’m providing advice or valuable information for people. Education, or it’s just a photo of the inside of my house with no caption. And it’s unfortunate that that’s true because I spend a lot of time on a lot of other things that nobody sees and likes. I posted like, “This took me forever, yay,” and then it’s just, it doesn’t even get served. Like people don’t see it, nobody likes it. It’s just not helping. It’s not providing any lessons, or maybe people aren’t getting inspired by it enough, so it’s just lost in the void. And that’s okay. Because I think once you learn what’s happening with Instagram, you kind of just have to learn how to play the game. It’s a game. When there is an algorithm, there is a component to it where you just kind of have to play into it, you know? I know.
And there are other platforms where you’re more in charge, and that’s great too, but we’re talking about Instagram here. So, that’s helpful. I think it’s helpful to know that people are like, “What’s in it for me? Don’t sell me anything. Just give me a helpful advice, give me inspiration. That’s all I want from you.” And that’s helpful. And it’s also really helpful to know what your audience specifically is looking for, because your audience and my audience are very different, I’m sure. So, they might want something different from you than they do from old Meg Lewis. But if you want to be known as somebody who posts dancing videos every Friday or once a week or twice a week, or you just want to be known as the dancing person, then you got to really commit to it and do it more often, because that’s going to retrain the algorithm to show those videos to people more and more and more. Okay, so consistency is just so important for many reasons. It helps people to think of you as that kind of person, but it also helps the algorithm to learn.
So, another interesting thing that happened to me the last couple of weeks is that I had [a semi-viral experience]. I don’t have that many followers on Instagram, I don’t know what you’re you know, sort of spectrum of followers to popularity of person is in your head to like celebrity status, but to me, I am considered a micro influencer ooohhhhh, so I have over 30,000 followers, but I’m not like, over 100,000 or anything, so it’s not a lot. So, whenever I post something, I don’t get like, you know, thousands of shares or anything, like people aren’t totally loving me to the point where they’re like sharing, you get it. So, a couple weeks ago, I posted something in support of the US Postal Service, and I made either the mistake, or not mistake, of putting “share this” on the graphic itself, saying, “Share this if you support them and rely on them to.” And so, it got shared because I told people to share it in the graphic.
And so, people started sharing it, and now it’s been shared about 16,000 times, which is a lot for me. So, the most shares I had ever got before this was a few hundred, like, I’d never gotten more than 1,000 I don’t think. And this has 16,000. So now all of a sudden, I have information for what happens when you’re in the inside of something like this. And it’s been very interesting because I always thought in order to grow my following, I need to make more shareable content. We know this is true. The more shareable content you make, the faster your following grows, and I don’t even know if I want my following to grow, so I’m not sure what I’m doing here. But I posted this thing, my goal with the post was for more people to stop and realize how many people in their lives actually rely on the US Postal Service. And that’s why I created the post. I wasn’t trying to make something intentionally that would be shareable to get myself followers. But I always assumed that was how that worked. You make things that are really shareable, and then in return, you get a bunch of followers. And that did not happen. That did not happen with this post.
I have a business account on Instagram, so I can see analytics of how many followers I receive from each post and how the post is performing and all of that, how many times people share it and all of that information. And the people were liking it. It has the same amount of likes, basically, as it does shares and people are liking it and sharing it, but it was not resulting in new followers. And in hindsight, I now know this is because it wasn’t a post about me or my ideals or my values or my brain at all, it was just a post about something topical. So, it wasn’t necessarily going to be like, people that saw it weren’t going to say, “Wow, who’s this poet person that posted this? I must see their profile so I can see more like this.” I don’t have anything more. It’s not like I run a USPS account, so I don’t think people looked at the post saying, “Who made this? I want to know more about them, I want to follow them.”
So, this is the outcome, this is what I’ve realized from this process, is that if you want to make something shareable that gets you more followers, then you need to make something that leads people to ask those questions. Who is this person? How can I get more of this? I must go follow them so I can get more. And if you want to dedicate yourself, I don’t, to only posting USPS specific content from now on, maybe that would work, but that’s not what we’re going for here.
So, I learned a very valuable lesson from Andy J. Pizza on his podcast Creative Pep Talk a few months ago, I can’t remember now, this pandemic time is – hoo, were his time? We don’t know – Andy had a podcast episode about growing your social media following and there were a lot of nuggets of advice in there that I found very valuable, and one of them, the most valuable one I found was something called “playing the hits,” which just means repurposing old advice. So, as I said earlier, the audience wants to know what’s in it for them, they want valuable lessons or pieces of advice, so if you have a piece of advice post that you’ve done before and it got a lot of engagement, whether that’s comments, likes, shares, follows, whatever, if you have a post that had a piece of advice in it in some way and that did well, find a different way a few months later to post the same piece of advice, but in a new way. So, whether that’s through an illustration, through a graphical type treatment, whether it’s through a video that you’re making of yourself talking about that, repurpose it, people like it, play the hits, keep going with that.
I do that a lot, especially on those weeks when I’m like, “Oh god, I haven’t posted anything in like a week and a half or two weeks, and I don’t know what to do,” then I’ll go through the hits and I’ll say, “How can I repeat and repackage this piece of advice in a new way?” And also, what other information have I learned since then that can inform my opinion and help me communicate it in a new and reinvigorated way too?
And all of this strategy stuff might be exhausting for you if you don’t care about this, maybe you have a full time job-y job, or maybe you have a job that’s in an industry where this is not applicable at all, you don’t think of your Instagram at all as a business, that’s okay, too. You don’t need to do any of this crap if you’re not thinking of your Instagram as a business. Unfortunately, I have to. This is how I receive all of my work, through my social media presence and the way that I market and communicate myself, so I have to play this game. But I think it’s important to know that I love it. My Instagram is my safe space to be myself, to explore who I am, to try new things, to just get excited about things and explore within them and have people kind of go along for the ride, and I love that so much.
So, when we talk about stories, specifically Instagram stories, authenticity again is key here. The more authentic you can make yourself appear, please actually make it real though, there’s this fake authenticity that keeps going around, I think it’s a trend, we don’t need that, we need the real stuff. Don’t curate yourself to appear authentic, just try to weed through who you actually are and just be that person. I know that’s hard.
What I’ve noticed goes really far with stories is allowing people to go along for the ride with things. This is true with feed stuff as well, but if there’s a process you’re going through, let people join in with the process. Let them see what stories you can do [in a] multiple step process that people can watch you through, something through accomplishing something, and they can feel like they’re along for the ride. Something that I would recommend though is say you’re doing a bathroom renovation one day, you’re renovating your whole bathroom in one day, it’s very important that you don’t do that thing where at 9 AM, you’re like, “Here I go with the demo,” and then you post that, and then three hours later, you’re like, “Demo complete”, and then three hours later, you say, “Here I am painting,” and then 12 hours later, you’re like, “Ran into a bunch of snags, still in progress.” So, that’s hard, because people don’t view your Instagram story like that throughout the day, they might miss parts of it, they may never come back, and they might miss the whole thing. So, what I recommend doing is filming it and not posting it all throughout the day, and then at the end of the day, say, “Here’s what I did today, and then post them all at once in succession really quickly, so that way everybody can enjoy them back to back-to-back-to-back. It’s like they’re bingeing a season of a TV show, that kind of thing. Very exciting.
So, again, I talked about this a few weeks ago, but the key here with social media that I like to follow is that strategic play element of have fun, be playful, experiment. It’s a fun medium, it’s fun, but be strategic at the same time. Make intentional decisions that are trying to get you to where you want to be going in your life and your career. So, be intentional about what you’re doing, be strategic with what you’re doing, because Instagram specifically can really help you set a foundation so that other people can pay you to do what you’re doing on Instagram later on, and that’s exactly what I use it for. But it’s really part diary for me, part playground, part best friend zone where all my friends are hanging out watching me hang out and I’m watching them hang out, oh yeah, hang out pad. It’s fun. I think it’s scary, and I think everyone’s afraid of Instagram because they don’t know how to use it correctly, and these are some little morsels of advice that may or may not help you.
Well, okay, partner. That’s it. We did another one, you did it, your ear hole touched my mouth hole for many minutes, and it was very arousing. Emotionally. Emotionally arousing, for sure. But that is it for this episode of Overtime. That was fun. If you have a moment to hop on to Apple podcasts and review this podcast, that would be so helpful for me, for the team at Dribbble, for the editor Jordan, who edits this podcast, everybody will benefit. It just takes a few minutes of your time. It’s very helpful. It really makes a very big difference and your review actually matters. And whenever I read them, it makes me happy, and I read every single one of them and it just changes my day. It makes me feel really good. So, why don’t you make me feel good? I’d like that. You don’t have to. But if you want to continue the conversation on the internet, use #DribbbleOvertime, or you know, tweet me, tag me, my handle is @yourbuddymeg. Okay, buddy. Love you, bye, hear me next week!