Clarity First Newsletter, February 3, 2017


What if what was happening now was perfect, exactly what we need to guide us to what we need to learn next? I must admit that the nightmare clown show is making me feel lost where I belong. So, I’m doing my best to resume focusing on how I want to work, and love, and live. 

“Don’t feed polarization, disarm it. This means leaving the theater of injured decency behind.”

Andrés Miguel Rondón is an economist who was born and raised in Venezuela. He observes a frightening parallel between Trump and Hugo Chávez: both are masters of populism. He pleads with us to recognize that populism can survive only amid polarization. “It works through the unending vilification of a cartoonish enemy. Never forget that you’re that enemy. Trump needs you to be the enemy, just like all religions need a demon. A scapegoat. “But facts!” you’ll say, missing the point entirely.”
Article: In Venezuela, We Couldn’t Stop Chávez. Don’t Make the Same Mistakes We Did.

How to make an empathy map.

An Empathy Map is a tool that helps you empathize with your audience. They allow you to put yourself in the position of the user. They can be used to test a prototype design or in activities such as role playing to help better understand the needs of the user.
Article: Design Thinking: Empathy Maps

Will you help me spread the word?

On February 15th, in collaboration with the Northampton Chamber of Commerce, I will be conducting a one-day Brand Camp just for non-profit organizations.
There is a really interesting learning community gathering (this week NEPR enrolled, as well as Traprock Peace Center and Riverside Industries), and there is still room for a few more. Will you help me spread the word by passing this link to your favorite non-profit leaders? I thank you, and they will, too.
Workshop: Communicating Impact with Brand Clarity

“In systems thinking, increases in understanding are believed to be obtainable by expanding the systems to be understood, not by reducing them to their elements.”

An inadvertent primer on systems thinking.
Compilation: 25 Splendid Russell L. Ackoff Quotes

The biggest trends in logo design

How five classic logo archetypes are appearing in the new year.
Article: Logo Design Follows Trends, Too. Trending in 2017…

Building ads around user experiences, rather than into them, will be the key to better ads.

The truth is that users don’t hate advertisements. Rather, they hate fragmented user experiences.
Article: How Visual Advertising Will Change Marketing In 2017

We do have control, but it requires imagining many possible futures.

Three transformative ways of thinking that could help us tackle our toughest problems.
Article: How to Think Like a Futurist

Good design strategy has a measurable impact on the bottom line. 

The California College of Art compiled an index of the top 63 public companies that use design as a strategic tool. On average, they gained 274% of their value over 10 years, beating all market averages and indexes for the same time period.
Article: Design Really Is Good Business.


A self-taught singer and songwriter from South East London, Andreya Triana turned her childhood bedroom into a studio, using two cassette decks to record harmonies. Today she uses the chops she earned there to make music that strokes and soothes the modern soul. Start with the title song from her 2010 Ninjatune debut album Lost Where I Belong, recorded live with just a guitarist for the Rinse FM sessions. Then keep going.

Image of the week

The collages in the headers are by Australian artist Karen Lynch. The feelings of dreamlike retro surrealism that her work evokes seem just right for these strange days we’re living in. See more at Fubiz.

What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by Clarity, the consultancy that helps mission-driven companies use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as powerful tools for transformation.

If you get value from Clarity First, please pass it on, refer the Communicating Impact with Brand Clarity workshop, or – hey! – hire me to help you manage your own brand communications.

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