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May 2016 | FEER McQUEEN blog

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May 2016

Work to live, or live to work?

While some of us are looking to live life to the fullest, others are restlessly striving to succeed at work, while missing out on life. Being a workaholic is a badge of honor these days.
While ambition is a beautiful thing, and it enriches the soul, being obsessed about it can be dangerous sometimes. Ambition can suck away our time and energy to a point where exhaustion takes over our body and soul.
Does being a successful business entrepreneur or earning a high income salary make you a better person? Not necessarily. What makes you a better person is, simply, love. Love is what makes our life a happy one.
Time flies! No one wants to wake up one day blaming himself for not “living”. Do you really want your work to take over the precious moments that you could have lived with your kids?
Going into a work coma can be life threatening and destructive. It usually happens so slowly that you don’t even notice it.

Here are the red flags you should look out for in order to avoid going into a work coma:

  • Working day and night with an outcome that is not as satisfying as expected highlights the imbalance. The drastic difference between how much effort your are putting into your work and the outcome are a sign that your productivity is at stake. One should be working efficiently and effectively.
  • Insomnia: If you go to bed at 10 pm but can’t sleep before 1 am for many consecutive nights, this is a sign that you are carrying too much on your plate. It’s a dangerous, self-fulfilling cycle too; if you can’t get to sleep because your mind is too active, you’ll be even more tired the following day.
  • You missed out on your best friend’s engagement party and your niece’s 1st birthday? Have you been hearing from your family and friends that you’re never around? Well, this is a clear indication that you’re neglecting your relationships. Yup, this is a sign that work is taking over your social life.
  • Where did this additional weight come from? How did I lose so much weight? When you ask yourself one of these questions, try to remember when the last time you had a real breakfast was, or when the last time you had a proper lunch break was. Don’t forget that a happy body leads to a happy mind.
  • Headache, stomach pain, and blurry eyes! If you start experiencing one or all of these symptoms at work and they are affecting your focus, then stress and fatigue have taken over your body, your work, and hence your life.
  • Do you wake up in the morning thinking of how unlucky you are with your job? If so, you’re not working with love, which is the generator of positivity and success. You’d better change your attitude, or start searching for another, more convenient job for you!

All those quotes and sayings we hear about life are not cliché; they are a result of decades of life experience.
Two of my favorite ones:
“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln
“Live every moment as if it were your last”.

Layal Harfouche
Business Developer

Traffic Traffic Go Away!

Traffic in Lebanon is increasing on monthly basis; not only because of the bad shape of the roads but also of the rising number of cars owned. According to Urban Transport Development Project, 50% of Lebanese households own 1 car, while 25% own at least 2. And why is that? It’s due to the absence of a well-organized public transport system.

If in the 70’s Lebanon had successfully established efficient public transportation including taxies, buses and a railway, we wouldn’t have lacked ways of finding solutions to the horrible traffic jam we get stuck in, all year long, in 2016. The thing is that we rock when it comes to bragging how intelligent and successful Lebanese people are, but yet we cannot work all together to solve this problem that affects our lives directly… the waste of time on daily basis alone is a massive shock, we spend a yearly average of 720 hours out of 4380 day hours on the roads; more than 16% of our supposed to be “awake and productive time”, not to mention the high stress level effect on health, decision making, social and personal lives, etc…

Check out Lebanon’s Municipal Election 2016’s best campaigns

Studies and articles show us statistics on paper while people chatter around about ideas to re-establish the railway, build a bridge along the coast from Tabarja to Nahr Kaleb, widen the highway in Jounieh or even build a subway system. With all due respect, it has been, is and always will be “words in air”; there will never be enough space or budget to consider those solutions. Where the simplest, easiest and cheapest answer is right in front of us.

Improving our public transport! Hell yeah, and why not!

Why not have controlled public transport systems? Why not have scheduled bus routes? Why not have clean and comfortable shared vehicles? Why not have fare transport fees? Why not have dedicated lanes on the highways for public transportation? Why not have fast passage systems to provide faster travel service? Why not have larger vehicles to fit more individuals? Why not have designed maps with easy points of access and exits? Why not find a solution for us Lebanese of all religions, of all political persuasions, for us Lebanese of Lebanon?

Is it a politically impossible demand OR a humanly ingenuous right?

Michella Salameh
Project Manager

Creating Gifs on photoshop

What’s trendier than cats, vines and snapchat filters?
GIFs,
Of cats, vines and snapchat filters.

GIF stands for “Graphics Interchange Format”, and the main reason why I’m mentioning this is because its pronunciation has been an on-going debate since the 80s.
Some pronounce it Gif as “jif” like gingerbread man while others like the harder G like gimmesomeofthat.
One of the creators, Steve Wilhite insists it sounds like the first.
However the pronunciation of his family name might be equally debatable.

Reasons why you might want to start creating/using GIFs:

– They can make anything relatively lame look much cooler by a simple extra motion.

giphy1

– You can create an action that loops endlessly.

giphy2

– Dancing pizza

giphy

– They can be seriously hilarious

giphy 3

– If you’re socially awkward, just slap a GIF right on there.

giphy4

If the above reasons are convincing enough, here’s how to get your GIF pants on:

There are multiple ways to create a GIF but I chose Photoshop so this article wouldn’t take ages to be read.
Here we go:

1- Upload your images and sequentially put them one after the other in your layers panel.

1

 

2- Go to window -> Timeline.
A window will appear at the bottom of the screen.
Click on Create Video Timeline, and select Frame animation instead which will create a little icon of your first visible layer.

2

 

3- Click on the duplicate selected frame icon, icon and hide the first layer from your layers panel revealing the one under it.
Repeat till all the sequence is complete in your timeline.

3

 

4- Set the time you want each frame to pause, from the little arrow next to “0 sec.” at the bottom of the icon.
You can set it from 0 seconds to 10 or even “other” if you want to be more exact.
If you want it to play the entire sequence once and stop,
keep the once selected.

“3 times” to let it play 3 times and stop. I know, shocker.

If not, unleash the kraken and select forever to keep it going.

Press the play button (at the bottom) to play your animation.

play

 

If you’re happy with the result and did your “nailed it” dance, it’s time to export your animation:
File – Export – Save for Web
Preset: GIF 128 dithered, (you can mess around with the technicalities if you’re into that)
Set the image Size you want at the bottom in “image size”

Then you’re ready to roll. Click Save and voila.

penut-gif

 

The epic GIFs in the first part of the article can be found at www.giphy.com

Vickie Boschiero
Junior Animation Art Director

 

It just ain’t fair!

A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!
Growing up, at some point, I’ve been through:
Waxing
Threading
Peeling
Tweaking
Exfoliating
Shaving
Whitening
Brushing
Contouring
Laser
Electrocution
Exercising
Stretching
PMSing

And the wonderful tools of Photoshop

Fortunately, I will have to:
Get pregnant
Give birth
Nurse
Work
Cook
Clean
Go out
And still be dazzling

And sometime in the near future, I will go through:
Lifting
Filling
Injecting
Burning

And yet more photoshoping!
NOW meet my evil twin brother:
He wakes up, showers (not all the time), gets dressed, and goes out…

Rebecca Mourani
Associate Creative Director

 

Municipal Elections 2016’s Best Campaigns

Municipal elections is the new Lebanese trend; everybody is getting excited about it this year. Pictures are haunting us. We are seeing it everywhere, on the roads, on TV Screens, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and especially on all our friends’ timelines. There is no escape.

Every 6 years, we used to see billboards and TVCs in Municipal election’s season, but what’s new today is the engagement this event is getting. Most of it is coming from different Social Media channels that were not very developed 6 years ago.

Furthermore, involved candidates are using this flow of engagement to interact directly with the young people that can vote and influence results. However, they are changing the classical way of doing their campaigns.

2016 is the year of political creativity; they worked on designs, colors, and types of content, with big potential of interaction with people.

Zahle:

The competition in Zahle was between 3 lists:

“إنماء زحلة”where the creative team focused on the slogan, featuring power combined with a historical picture to remind people of their roots.

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As for “زحلة الأمانة” , the team focused on the emotional side bringing from one side the memory of the late Elias Skaff and talking to the new generation directly from another side; they also used attractive colors and designs.

FotorCreated

“زحلة تستحق” also focused on emotions letting the echo of “Power” dominates. They chose red for attraction and chose their words very carefully.

FotorCreated

Beirut:

Not Far from Zahle, Beirut had a very aggressive competition between two major lists “لائحة البيارتة” and “بيروت مديبنتي” who both went into this war with a new vision.

“بيروت مدينتي” ‘s Campaign brought the youthful spirit to life,  featuring portfolios of all its candidates. The same technique was used by their competitors, adding a political spirit into it with blue as a main color. The two used new styles of photography, which could be called “Teenage Friendly”. Colors and fonts were also very attractive and user friendly.

“بيروت مدينتي”

FotorCreated

“لائحة البيارتة”

FotorCreated

Jounieh

From Beirut heading to Jounieh, we can feel the temper of the competiton rising. Campaigns were very aggressive from both sides, targetting their competitors directly. Two major lists were formed; both focused on bringing the youthful spirit out and the historical side of the city back to life. They treasured “respect”, showing, in their pictures, the eldery, emotions, and hope for a better future. As for the designs, they both focused on using bright colors such as “purple” and “yellow” to attract attention.

“كرامة جونية”

FotorCreated]

“جونية التجدّد-مسيرة عطاء”

FotorCreated

Focusing on the positve aspects of each city, candidates were trying their best to impress citizens to vote for their sides by showing emotions, youth, and hope in their campaigns. Let’s hope that these positive apects are what we will see in the next 6 years in our dear country.

Mia Rouphael
Digital Marketeer

2020 Tokyo Olympics’ new official logo

Alright, alright, alright, here’s what we think about Tokyo’s 2020 Games Emblem.

The organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have unveiled the new official logo that won over some of the designers around the world, while others felt let down by its checkered pattern, which they felt did not reflect the Japanese culture.

I enjoy open sushi nights just as much as the next girl, but I certainly cannot judge whether this logo expresses true Japanese spirit and traditions. As a non-Japanese, it is a moot point, especially since every culture interprets shapes and colors differently. We need to look for the explanation of this emblem and the story behind its creation in order to condemn it.

For those of you who did not have the chance to read it, the explanation is simply put by the creator of this winning logo, Asao Tokolo, who describes the design as a pattern of several rectangular shapes interacting with each other and representing the different cultures participating in the games, all in an acclaimed Japanese color: indigo blue.

The color:

Indigo or royal blue was originally used by the Heian Imperial Court in Japan, approximately 1400 years ago, but gained popularity during the following periods when it became the dye of the common people.

The pattern:

We have been using shapes to represent ideas and concepts ever since we learned to visually communicate with each other. Visual signs have been our unified language, as it proved itself to reach an international audience easier than any other form of interaction.

Furthermore, as designers, we give meaning to any shape or form we want. In our world, triangles can represent pixels, as much as circles can represent solidarity, and spikes embody rebellion. We write the concepts; we make the stories.

While Asao Tokolo did a beautiful interpretation of the Games’ event, all under a tamed Japanese umbrella, we cannot but have a personal penchant or taste towards the design.

I think that the overall outcome looks a bit too corporate for the occasion in question. A little too much “world bank”, rather than Olympics’ logo.The dynamics and visual illusion in the logo are brilliant, but the overall feel is a bit bulky and heavy on the eye.

With that being said, I leave you with some Bob Dylan wisdom:

“Don’t criticize what you don’t understand.”

Check also Lebanon’s new car plates design

Rebecca Mourani
Associate Creative Director

The Weight of Words

Whether following Mehrabian’s study of “7%-38%-55%”, or the saying we learned, growing up, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” or even a general nonchalance concerning the language used in daily communication, we have grown accustomed to throwing around words, big and small, meaningful and otherwise. We have forgotten about the importance of language, word choice, and rhetoric.

As a copywriter, and as a highly sensitive and emotional person, I find word choice to be of utmost importance. Whether putting together copy for a website, or writing a blog post, or even having a regular, day-to-day conversation, I always weigh my words before I set them out into the universe. In his study on communication, Albert Mehrabian concluded that impact of words, tone of voice, and body language make up 7%, 38%, and 55%, respectively. That 7% that Mehrabian discussed in his study is not for naught. One misplaced word could make or break a business deal, a sale, a reader’s opinion, or a relationship.

the-mehrabian-pie-chart

 

Words carry a magical power that can sway views and charm even the most aloof person.  In marketing and advertising, we use our words to bring to life the idea of a brand, a promise to the customer, and an enticing call to the consumer. In that, lies a responsibility towards the client as well as the target audience. As far as meaning goes, “distinguished” is not the same as “unique”.  With every word uttered comes a promise and a silent understanding between the messenger and the receiver. Not realizing the impact of this is what leads to miscommunication and frayed ends.

Every time I think of the weight of words, lyrics from a song by one of my favorite bands, London Grammar, come to mind, “If letters spell out words, son, you chose to put them in order, didn’t you?” This is an unarguable truth. The issue is that not everyone is conscious of this choice and this responsibility. It is the accountability each and every person has for the way they choose to put the letters in order, and the words in place, and the sentences in turn. Moving on from marketing and focusing on simple, everyday communication between friends, family, and loved ones, it’s easy to infer that most of us are really unaware of the importance of the way we communicate.

Particularly today, with social media, email, text messaging, and other forms of text communication, where no tone or body language can be used alongside words, communicating has become a panic-worthy ordeal. With the 38% and the 55% gone, we are left with the 7%, the words that can hurt. This 7% becomes the 100%, and if we don’t know how to weigh our words and step into the other person’s shoes for a while, we are always at risk of major miscommunication.

Discover how Storytelling is the new marketing hero

Ashley El-Jor
Creative Writer