Logos are frequently updated to reflect modern design trends. But one logo that hasn’t changed is that of the famous Salzburg Music Festival in Austria. Today’s New York Times has a fascinating account of the logo’s history, including the controversial political affiliations to Nazism of its creator, the artist Leopoldine Wojtek, who, according to the NYT, began as a modernist but whose work took a conservative, Nazi-sympathetic turn in the 1930s. She was married to one of the party’s most prolific art looters and schemers. As a result of these connections (which were subsequent to the creation of her work in 1928), the festival commissioned a report into the logo to decide whether it should be retained.
Nevertheless, in spite of the background of the artist, the authors conclude, “We talked about it, and our opinion was always: This logo isn’t Nazi propaganda. It’s a logo out of the spirit of the best time in Austrian graphics. If there had been the slightest doubt that you could misinterpret it, we would have removed it.”
The report raises the question of whether graphic designers, themselves communicators, reflect the “zeitgeist” (spirit of the times) in their work? Or, indeed, whether writers also do so, consciously or not? As for Quo Vadis Communications’ logo, it will stand the test of time: an African hoopoe in flight is sparkling creativity that speaks to the quality of our work.
Beware the language used on Twitter isn’t harmful.
Social media is an incredibly powerful communication tool. Used proficiently, it promotes brands and the businesses behind them. But beware the language you use in social media. Short is not always good and can be misleading and destructive as former President Trump has shown by becoming the USA’s most unpopular President ever. This is partly a credit to his ability to use Twitter for his own purposes, making it a megaphone for much of his harmful communication. In so doing, he has brought a mighty power to the brink of insurrection, so much so that Twitter finally banned him. Social media is at its best used for positive messages. Quo Vadis Communications can help with social media, editing and writing to get the correct messages out in corporate reports, social media content and many other communication platforms. Contact us.
Communication is not just about the written or spoken word. Music can convey emotions across the spectrum, as this does in the midst of the chaos of a damaged apartment after the dreadful explosion in Beirut. Our thoughts go out to the people of Lebanon.
The last tip on writing effectively in business: #Visualise your #reader. Billionaire Warren Buffett gets the right balance in his reports by writing for his sisters, Doris and Bertie – intelligent people, but not experts. (HBR, Mike Reed)
Tip 5 about #effective_writing in business: Focus on #benefits to people. Eg, “Keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer, thanks to its cotton-merino blend” works a lot better than “A luxurious cotton-merino blend fabric”. (Tips from HBR, Mike Reed)
Tip 4: Get to the point. Think like a #journalist – what’s the most important thing you need to say? Identify it, and put that first. Busy people need to get the point upfront. (Tips from HBR by Mike Reed, Reed Words, London)
Tip 3: Recognise that your audience #skim-reads by glancing at a screen, picking out words and sentences. Use features like #sub-heads, #bullets, #diagrams, #infographics and #tables to help their understanding. (HBR review)
Tip 2 in our series on effective business writing: Choose short and more familiar words. Long, complicated words and sentences confuse readers. Cut the jargon! These tips are shared from an HBR paper (Mike Reed of Reed Words, London)
Writing well – and communicating effectively – is a critical skill for all in business. In the next few posts, we’ll share tips from a Harvard Business Review about how to write without boring your audience.
Tip 1: Talk like a human, not a business. One way of avoiding stiff formality is to write in the first person. So, instead of: “Jones and Jones is a residential agent offering customers friendly, clear and straightforward advice”, say: “We’ll give you the clear, friendly home-buying advice you need.”
In this article in The Atlantic, http://ow.ly/Julf50xZSnY, John Hendrickson reflects on the seldom-acknowledged stutter of USA Presidential frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination, Joe Biden. As the immediate former vice president of the USA, there is no doubt that Biden has a desire to communicate and get people to believe in the policies he promotes. It is interesting to read in this article about a speech therapist who, in helping people to overcome stuttering, concentrates not so much on the mechanics of communicating, but on the desire to communicate at all. Interestingly, it is difficult to perceive any trace of a stutter when one listens to Biden. This reminds us of the former great Methodist leader in South Africa, Dr Joseph B Webb, who delivered the most articulate presentations during his influential ministry. Yet he grew up with a profound stutter and overcame it by standing in farmlands in the Eastern Cape, practising, practising, practising to speak fluently. Effective communication – spoken, written, acted, presented – comes with practise and a simple belief in the desire to communicate.
A final thought: When stutterers sing, they don’t stutter; they communicate the beauty of the music. (For a discussion on singing and stuttering, see this link.)
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