Hidden bonuses

What's right in front of your nose (literally or figuratively) which is significant, but you haven't even noticed it?
Two things come to mind for me.

On yesterday's Ellen Degeneres show, she asked the audience if they'd ever noticed the helpful thing on the gas gauge on their cars' dashboard. Everyone was amazed when she pointed out the small arrow which indicates the side the gas tank is on...who knew? I certainly didn't! Right under my nose, a little hidden bonus every time I get in the car. No more making that mental note again at the gas station: 'oh, yeah, right, mine is on the driver's side, his is on the passenger side'. Another of life's little annoyances, fixed. Very satisfying, and a good one to pass along...I just did.

The second one is design related, and speaks to what's hidden in the things we see every day.
Do you see the arrow in the FedEx logo? Is it now the first thing you see, since you heard/read about it? It is for me. Here in part is what the logo designer, Lindon Leader says about it:

"The power of the hidden arrow is simply that it is a 'hidden bonus.' It is a positive-reverse optical kind of thing: either you see it or you don’t. Importantly, not 'getting the punch line' by not seeing the arrow, does not reduce the impact of the logo’s essential communication. The power of the logo and the FedEx marketing supporting the logo is strong enough to convey clearly FedEx brand positioning. On the other hand, if you do see the arrow, or someone points it out to you, you won’t forget it. I can’t tell you how many people have told me how much fun they have asking others “if they can spot ‘something’ in the logo.” To have filled in the arrow, or to somehow make it more 'visible' would have been like Henny Youngman saying 'Please take my wife' instead of 'Take my wife. Please.' Punch lines that need to be explained are neither funny nor memorable."

I want to observe things more closely, and use the resources at my disposal more creatively. Easier said than done when deadlines approach, life intervenes, and time is short, but it's a goal to work on a bit every day. Hey, I've got more time now that I don't have to remember which side my gas gauge is on...now if I could just find the time to read and use all the techniques in art books I've bought this year, I'd be in business!


Gary said…
Ah, Michelle, for those outside the beltway what is under their nose can open up a world of observation. As a friend who now lives in DC, what I find under my nose stinks.

Seriously, I love having your blog to visit and strengthen the link between us, long after our daily face-to-faces.