January 2007 Archives

January 26, 2007

Identity - Best of the Best 2007

Awarding excellence in corporate identity


After last year's LogLounge jury, this year I have the honor to participate in Identity's Best of the Best international jury along with design legends I've been looking up to for many years. Here's the jury:

The international jury assembled for Identity

  • Ken Cato — Co-founder and chairman of Cato Purnell Partners (Australia)
  • David Carson — Founder and principle of David Carson Design (USA)
  • Emma Booty — Creative director of London office (Landor Associates, UK)
  • Prof. Erik Spiekermann — Founder of MetaDesign and Fontshop, member of German Design Council, president of the ISTD, International Society of Typographic Designers (Germany)
  • Minato Ishikawa — Founder of Minato Ishikawa Associates Inc. (Japan)
  • Tony Speath — Independent brand-consultantm founder of identityworks.com (USA)
  • Alexander Faldin — Founder and art director of fallindesign (Russia)
  • Ruth Klotzel — Vice-president of ICOGRADA, founder of Estudio Infinito (Brazil)
  • Cristian "Kit" Paul — Co-founder and creative director of Brandient (Romania)
  • Ivan Chermayeff — Co-founder of Chermayeff & Geismar (USA)


From Identity's press release:

The international award scheme, now in its second year, is designed to recognise excellence in logos, trademarks and corporate identity.

In 2006, 970 submissions from 26 countries resulted in 10 prizes. View the results.

This year two new categories have been added and the award scheme has been endorsed by Icograda. Entries will compete within 12 categories (6 categories for logos and trademarks, and 6 categories for corporate identity and packaging).


I invite all Romanian designers to submit their work to Best of the Best 2007. We all have things to prove and misconceptions to turn around. We all need to get rid of the provincial status quo that plagues our industry and open up to the world.

In 2006 Brandient demonstrated the potential of Romanian design by winning the most awards and nominations in this international contest — now it's your turn.

January 22, 2007


Catalin asks a bunch of bloggers, myself included, three questions: which was the biggest story of the Romanian Internet in 2006; what will be 2007 known as — if 2006 was the year of the blog; and what personal plans or projects I have related to Internet.

Because I am certainly not an Internet industry insider — nor an acknowledged outsider — I don’t think I can give a competent answer. However, I'll tackle the first question from a subjective angle that may be of interest.


For me, 2007 was the year the first entrepreneur envisioned and developed an Internet product not as a web site/Internet service, but as a brand. I am talking about Metropotam1, an innovative city-guide weblog about Bucharest, whose identity and tone of voice were specifically designed for a certain audience.

Common knowledge says that Internet is an elusive beast whose quirky nature makes communities hard to build in any other way but from a grassroots level, with spectacularly limited control over the process, relying only on the code, the looks and a couple of coarse-grained marketing tools.

Metropotam employed some pretty sophisticated tools (brand rhetoric and an avatar, to mention a couple) to achieve differentiation and emotional bond.

And it worked. Meeting one of Metropotam’s founders at a cup of tea a couple of days ago I was happy to hear that the stats are good and climbing.

1 Full disclosure: Metropotam — the brand — was developed by Brandient.

January 16, 2007


Is 'graceful aging' an oxymoron?


I have friends telling stories about their grannies running around in sport shoes and watching MTV, young at heart like when they were 20. Except they're 70. What about the Stones? They committed every kind of excess imaginable (and — I'm sure — a few that could surprise my imagination) and yet they're still able to bounce around the stage for two hours straight, while the messages I got from the elders is both scary and pretty straightforward: aging is God damn awful.

Is there any decent explanation for this?

This seems either a big sales promotion or a Russian roulette, depending on the side you're looking from. Although we're young and prefer looking the other way.

January 13, 2007

Do you know Dan Silian?

Does anyone know this last good samaritan?

What happened

A few days ago I remembered that being part of the European Union now means that we can buy dot-eu domains so I logged into my registrar's web page to buy brandient.eu domain name.

To my surprise, I found that brandient.eu has been taken. Bought on January 5th, 2007, only a couple of days before, through a French registrar.

Strange — I thought — but maybe somebody in France doesn't mind the number of hits this brand name returns in Google and thinks — Hey, forget those Romanians, we're French!

Somebody in Iasi cares for us

Digging deeper revealed that although the Registrar is French, the guy who bought the name is very, very Romanian. From Iasi, actually.

His name is Dan (Marius) Silian, his email address is silian_dan@yahoo.com and some of the traces he left across the internet imply that he speaks French and may be a weekend student in the first year (Series B - P9B) at The National Institute of Economic Development1 with a passion for Linux as a hobby. He's not very talkative, though, and he keeps a low profile.

He's obviously an altruistic, decent kind of guy. He bought brandient.eu to protect it from the bad guys, I'm sure.

I mean, there is no way somebody can take out his credit card and buy a name oblivious to the massive number of search engine hits that name generates, isn't it? Moreover, the chances that the person is from the very same country as the de jure owner of the trademark is downright infinitesimal. So he must've been well aware of what he's doing. And I refuse to believe he's the kind of scumbag that we usually see (it happens a lot more often than you believe it) employing this kind of blackmail tactics for a profit. No, not that, nor an idiot that blindly buys random domains off the internet. He must be a charitable soul.

Thank him and keep in touch

So, if you know this generous soul, or if you happen to acquaint with him, please let me know — no matter how long has passed from the day this post was written, days, months or years — I want to know how he's doing, if he's alright and what he's up to lately. I just want to know this guy's life better and keep an eye on him, throughout his life.

This is really important so I'll stress it again: please — if you have any kind of news about him, hit the comments below or shoot me an

Thank you!

Also, send him my best regards and my advice to take good care of this particular acquisition. Even though Brandient will never pay one dollar for his kind services, he won our eternal friendship, which — as I'm sure he will understand — is priceless.

1 INDE is a post - graduate program of the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest in partnership with the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers - Paris, which kind of explains why he bought the domain through a French registrar.

January 12, 2007


"You throw balls at me? I throw balls at you!"

People throw tags at me and — I know! — I'm too slow to play game. There's a book I would like writing about (that's another, old, old tag), but for now I'll try and put together a list of five things.

3 glorious things you might have not known about me


1. At 18 I was a programmer, writing (among other things) communication protocols for Z80/8080 processors. My first application, Telepat, was an inter-platform (8080 CP/M machines to Z80 ZX Spectrum home computers) communication software. A man needed to program his I/O ports at the lowest level, using assembly, in those times. In spite of the fact that I was drawing on every flat surface in my ecosystem, I had absolutely no plans to pursue a career in design: I could only picture myself as a programmer. In America.

2. I am more and more of a vegetarian. I gave up red meat and I eat a lot of fish instead. I still eat chicken, but slowly-slowly I'll get rid of that, too. And — God! — I was a mean, mean carnivore only a couple of years ago. People change. This things happen as a couple of friends dear to me are de-vegetarianizing in order to pursue the decadent delights of mici and sarmale (heavy, meat-rich Romanian food specialties).

3. I never smoked. My parents were smoking so I regarded it as something terribly uncool as a kid. Funny dynamics these things have — how the intergenerational conflict can sometimes work for the better. Rather rarely, but still...

Plus 2 embarrassing things you might have not known about me

4. I do not play any instrument. Not one. That sucks big time, of course — I wish I could play something: a posh piano, a heroic guitar, a cool trumpet. Hey, even playing a [insert profanity] triangle is far better than nothing. I bet it feels more academic than howling in the shower. No? Maybe not.

5. I hate trains. A gazillion rides in overcrowded trains back when I was a student got me totally fed up. Having no money for better tickets (if any) I was usually traveling standing in the aisle. And yes, it has to do with a touch of agoraphobia that I may have. That and an absolute state of terror inflicted by train toilets — all traces of bowel torment and microbes the size of small chihuahua dogs.

Here, that's all. In fact — I just realized now — the post is completely unneeded. I could simply post a link to the About section.

Despite my initial intentions, illustrated by the sub-headline quote1, I won't throw this tag further: it seems that everybody answered already, anyway. But if you share the same or similar "tragic flows" (train-haters? triangle players?) hit the comments: I'd love to know that I'm not alone.

1 Is quoted Bob played by Roberto Benigni in "Down by Law":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_by_Law%28film%29_, a 1986 film by Jim Jarmusch.

January 2, 2007

What if

Becali claimes victory in Romania's presidential runoff

I don't enjoy writing about politics, but as 2006 was drawing to an end, developments were building up.

A few remarkable specimens crawled out of the sewers lately but they're marginal compared to the one who has the power to rule them all. And it's not even his merit. It is media's.

Some journalists have little reason for sleeping well at night — during 2006 they proved crassly irresponsible in a self-distructive kind of way by promoting the extreme-right "militant of light," Mr. Becali, a growing force that once created by reckless media people is rapidly becoming a serious menace.

Consequently, he clocks in second now in the polls and experts predict his figures will continue to climb in 2007. Suppose a heart attack or an accident disables President Basescu in near future. What then?

January 1, 2007

Notes about 2006

Here are a few points that — for me — will make 2006 a year to remember:


- Who would've thought a few years ago that Romania will be able to join the European Union? This, in my opinion, is the single most important landmark event since the 1989 Revolution, a move that will shape our future history.

- A once in a life-time event was the public condemnation of communism and the former communist regime, the Lustration Bill and the establishment of the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes (IICC).

- Crawled right out of the sewer for "a bit of the old Ultra-Violence" in 2006: Mr. Vadim and Mr. Voiculescu. Those Droogs should be reformed by means of The Ludavico Treatment. But, just like in the movie — real horror show! — instead of joining "the smelly perverts and hardened crustoodniks" in jail, those two remained top dogs in "a job for two, who are now of job age, the police." Political police, that is.

Becali claimed victory in Romania's presidential runoff

- Mass media people have little reason for sleeping well at night since in 2006 they proved once again idiotic in a self-distructive kind of way by promoting "the knight" of the extreme-right, Mr. Becali, a growing force that once created by reckless media is rapidly becoming a serious menace. The tabloid channel ProTV proved surprisingly dedicated in this matter.


- The incredible boost this opportunity and this new found confidence gave to business, especially in the last few months.

- On the downside, one notable fact was the rumor started by a financial newspaper about unrealistically huge median salaries available on the market, especially in marketing-related positions.


- I enjoyed quite a few great small-budget movies in 2006, like The Squid and the Whale, Me and You and Everyone We Know. 2006 seems like it was a good year for Romanian cinematographers with premieres for A fost sau n-a fost and Hartia va albastra, Catalin Mitulescu's How I Celebrated the End of the World and Tudor Giurgiu's Love Sick (Legaturi bolnavicioase)

What would you add to the list? What were the notable events that marked 2006 for you?