Smoke Signals

September 27th, 2013

Welcome to the Tribal Worldwide weekly Smoke Signals trend report, news from the frontier of digital marketing. We’ve scoured the net to bring you the hottest stories in the digital, media, and marketing space. Have any thoughts on any of these stories? We want to hear what you think!

In this issue:

Keeping Icons Useful in Design

Hang On To Those Post-its! Evernote Will Help You Stay Organized.

Keeping Icons Useful in Design


When UX and Content Strategists collaborate on a project for brands, the easiest form of storytelling is through icons. When creating a new website or a redesign, icons can be helpful in summing up ideas and actions to help represent groups of content or functions. A cog usually represents management or settings, a thought bubble could easily personify a chat or conversation. Websites are now using icons to simplify their consumer-facing site designs, taking them out of the strategy process and actually using them on-site.

A new Kickstarter project will expand on The Noun Project, a favorite icon library to many, taking icons to the next level — responsive design. These icons will live and breathe with additional features and design elements as they are resized. In “Optimizing UI icons for faster recognition,” Alla Kholmatova raises a necessary point — Icons need to be useful. If during testing users can’t recognize an icon or struggle to find the meaning, then those icons should no longer be used.

Implications: Icons are a lot of fun to use. In strategy presentations, they allow participants to react to visual cues, rather than bullet points on slides. However, with greater inclusion of icons in consumer-facing designs, strategists need to vet icons and ensure they are recognizable for a better overall website UX.

Hang On To Those Post-its! Evernote Will Help You Stay Organized.


Getting brands and apps to work together can be a challenge. With so much red tape to get through, products that make it to launch often feature less pizazz than the original concept. This seems to be changing, however, thanks to a new collaboration between Post-it Note and Evernote.

The debate between analog and digital has been an ongoing argument since the first ebooks debuted in the early 2000s. Getting analog and digital to work together could be the first step towards peace between newer and traditional ideas. Post-it Notes, the ubiquitous UX tool, and Evernote, the note-taking business application, debuted several sets of Super Sticky notes. These notes are digital-friendly and feature color variables recognizable by Evernote.

Implications: Similar to Nest, the remote thermostat application, brands are optimizing their products to work within an ever-connected digital space and material world. For a greater long-term return, brands should look for app developers that share common targets and goals to help improve their customer’s lives.

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