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Cabo San Lucas | April 2012

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Cabo San Lucas | April 2012, a set on Flickr.

Photos from trip to Cabo San Lucas, April 2012

My Review of Advanced Elements Hula 11′ Stand Up Paddleboard – Special Buy

Originally submitted at REI

The Advanced Elements Hula 11 stand up paddleboard is easy to travel with and easy to inflate – perfect for summer adventures on the water. High-pressure, drop-stiched material and heavy-duty PVC tarpaulin allows for ultra-stiff performance; double-layer skin for superior durability. Raised board tip…


Great Product

By The Design Foundry from Phoenix, AZ on 3/30/2012



5out of 5

Pros: Stable, Quick Drying, Cleans Easily, Lightweight, Rugged

Best Uses: River, Lake

Describe Yourself: Beginner

Was this a gift?: No

I’ve taken this out twice now, both alone and with friends. I took a SUP lesson on Maui last year, and got hooked on stand up paddle boarding. One of the friends that joined me on that lesson has also tried out this paddle board and agreed – this is more comfortable to use than the boards we learned on! I don’t see this being the perfect choice for surf – but for a great workout in calm water, especially for a beginner like me – it’s perfect!


Newest Painting: “The Surfboard Fence”

Seems I never find the time to add things to the blog. So…finally – I’ll add this – I finished this painting about 2 months ago, and finally have found the time to highlight it here.

"The Surfboard Fence" | 12" x 36", Oil | Copyright 2011 by The Design Foundry

The “New” United / Continental Branding

First – after a crazy couple of months, I figured it’s about time I finally got back to posting on my blog. And, with yesterday’s introduction by United Airlines of their new advertising campaign, it made me realize something.

The new United Airlines branding….sucks!

I read a great article in Fast Company about the new United brand – and I agree. For those that don’t know the whole story, United basically acquired Continental. Since about 1974, United’s branding has included what some would call iconic – the “tulip”. OK…so it looked more like a “W” than a “U”. It was designed during the height of disco – almost 40 years ago. But the designer was the legendary Saul Bass – who, ironically, also designed the logo Continental used until the early ninety’s (known as the “meatball”).

The whole point of a logo – and of branding – is to differentiate your company from your competition – which is the easy part. The harder part is to associate a positive emotion with that image – both so that you are remembered, but also so that when a buying decision is being made, that positive emotion overrules the emotion to associate with the competition.

With the new “United” branding – first, it causes confusion. They took all of the “look & feel” of Continental, replace the word “Continental” with “United” and ran with it. But, the problem with this approach is – for those that are making a choice – the question is then asked “who am I flying?”  Now, there has been the argument out there that the branding is irrelevant – what is important is the service. Continental did rebuild their service after Frank Lorenzo nearly destroyed the airline back in the 90’s (to the point where he was banned from ever being involved with a airline again) – but United also not only survived bankruptcy – but came back stronger.

Given that it was a merger of near equals, at least in many flying customers minds – to me, it would have made more sense to merge the branding to signify the merger. For example – keep the tulip on the tail, pick up the font used in the word “Continental” (which would have also been a nice tie back to the serif font of United’s “stars & bars” branding of the early 70’s, but keep the gold / blue of Continental.

Again – there are two arguments about the branding. One is that people don’t care. The other is that people do care. To truly merge the two brands as suggested above – if no one really cares anyway, there is no damage. But, if people do care – well….it makes sense to put a bit more thought and effort into your branding before you abandon brand elements that have nearly 40 years of brand equity around them.

Marketing with Customer Service

I had a wonderful customer service experience the other night. A friend of mine and myself decided to hit up Pita Jungle in Chandler, AZ for dinner. Now – this was a Friday night. During the dinner rush. We ordered not only our drinks and meals, but also as an appetizer, a split plate of Roasted Bell Pepper Hummus & Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus.

As we enjoyed our dinner conversation, we realized….no hummus. The waiter came by, and without our prompting – noticed we didn’t have our hummus. The next thing we know – our dinner has arrived…and still no hummus.

Now – the hummus – not a big deal. But to our waiter – it was. Again, without any comment from us  – he apologized. He explained he’d told the kitchen that it was an appetizer, and to get it done – and showed them the receipt to prove it. A few minutes later, he came back, with his manager, who also apologized, gave us the hummus at no charge, and then gave us free orders of baclawa for desert as well.

Here’s the thing. We never said a word. Never registered a complaint. Not even a funny look. Yet, they bent over backwards for us. During a dinner rush.

Both of us immediately posted Yelp, Foresquare and Facebook Places reviews – mine being “Best. Service. Ever!”.  Now – in the end, this probably cost, in terms of free product, about $10.00 to them. Yet, what did they get for that? They just turned two customers into brand evangelists. Even before leaving the restaurant, we’d posted positive reviews for them. We’ve both told friends, family – hell, just about anybody that would listen – what a great restaurant they have, how great their service is – basically just did more marketing for them than they’ve done for themselves in the last month. And…we’d do it again!

What does this mean for your business? Simple. People don’t buy brands anymore. Seth Godin recently commented that we’ve “branded ourselves to death” – and we have. It’s not about the brand. It’s about one’s association to the brand. It’s about belonging. Feeling that, as Seth put it, “part of a tribe”. When you care about your customer – you show that they belong to you. It has to be sincere. You have to mean it. And, when you do – and your customers know it – they come back. And they bring others to the tribe. It all starts with how you treat your customer.

And…it doesn’t hurt if you give them free baclawa as well. 🙂

New Photography from The Design Foundry

Enjoy the following images from this past August from Maui. Exploring Lahaina, sunsets, hiking Haleakala, spending time with friends. Photos taken between August 6-20, 2010.

Photos © 2010 by The Design Foundry – All Rights Reserved

Light Rail bridge installed – FasTracks (West Denver)

I just found this video – last weekend, the Regional Transportation District in Denver, as part of their construction of the FasTracks West Corridor bridge for light rail – was installed over 6th Avenue in Lakewood. The new light rail extension will link downtown Denver with the Jefferson County Government Center in Golden.

Having lived in Denver while the original Light Rail lines were laid & opened, and now having experienced the construction of Light Rail here in Phoenix – one thing I haven’t understood about Phoenix’s light rail line – why does it seem, from a design-perspective…well, so bland? Looking at this bridge, which is 1500+ feet in length – have to say, it’s much more attractive than, say, the bridge over the Salt River here in Phoenix…or the one over the Loop 202.

From my perspective – if you’re going to build something that’s big, noticeable, and…is something that should be in place for a very long time – well, eyesore is something to be avoided. I’ve seen this with other Denver construction projects (there’s a bridge downtown that is quite beautiful, not to mention the look of Coors Field, Red Rocks, and even DIA) – yet, here in the Valley of the Sun – I’m still waiting to see architectural designs that don’t look either bland, or just slapped together. Looking at the new extension that’s being built to connect Sky Harbor to Light Rail…I’m still curious as to what it’s going to look like – and if it’s going to be something worth looking at.

(As a side note – the FasTracks bridge was constructed along the side of the road over the last couple months – it’s installation only closed 6th Ave for the weekend…why can’t other construction projects keep from fubar-ing roads like this!)

The Design Foundry’s Photography – Image chosen as a Picasa Featured Image

Picasa has recently chosen one of the images uploaded by The Design Foundry as a “Featured Image” – featured images are those that appear on Picasa’s home page that have been uploaded by their subscribers.

I had just uploaded my batch of images from my last Maui trip only a few days before – and I’m still amazed that out of the millions of images that people uploaded, somehow the following image was not only noticed, but chosen. I’m deeply honored by this selection!

From Maui 2009

New images from Maui 2009

Images from Maui 2009 vacation – enjoy!

New Painting – “Upcountry Sunset”

I just finished my newest painting, “Upcountry Sunset” – 12″ x 36″, Oil.

This is the view at sunset overlooking Upcountry Maui, while driving down from Haleakala Crater – enjoy!

© 2009 Dave Fish | The Design Foundry
All Rights Reserved