Future Development – Google’s Acquisition of Nest

Evolution exists in all things, whether it’s reactive to environmental changes, a species’ need for survival, or the product of a situation that is strenuous. Evolution is also very visible within design globally, resulting from all three vanes of the aforementioned. The smart phone was a perfect example of a product that caused a demand that forced designers to evolve into another form or else they were seemingly not as relevant, nor would they be thriving. From Static design, to Interactive design, we as designers have had to grow in several ways, shedding the invaluable techniques of yesterday to grasp the new forms that growing demand has created. A recent acquisition by Google has sparked the recent thought that we as designers, as well as citizens, may be about to witness the next echelon.

In an article posted on Wired, they detail the pertinent as well as ephemeral effects of Google’s whopping $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest. In short, an inkling of the possibility of Google moving into more ambient hardware. Nest has a product titled “Nest Protect”, a simple smoke detector with a twist. Rather than a mundane household item that is more annoying than utilitarian, the alarm demonstrates more interactive capabilities that build an active memory and allow the hardware to react to the user, rather than the opposite. This design is ambient, responsive and extremely innovative. While not the most mind-altering invention of our time – it will bring about a new era of hardware. Once Google fully gains a grasp upon the creative capacity that this form of software melded into hardware can accomplish, I feel as if the dawn of a new design will be upon us.

Ambient Design will be at the core of nearly all integral hardware coming from Google. The hardware will begin with the responsive ideology from Nest’s household products, but now powered by the informational, intrapersonal titan that is Google. Google search engine already responds to your prior requests and queries based on past information. Hardware that is integrated with this evolving database of personal information could have us living in a network that slowly times itself to our tendencies. Answering questions before we ask, updating us before we show concern, creating an assistance system that will become second nature. Technology that is ambient will become integrated into our daily activities, rather than us taking time out to interact with the technology. Rather than us responding to our technology, technology will respond, live and learn beside us instead.

This core difference should allow us to live our lives without pausing constantly for our gadgetry, providing a more productive flow of activity. On the other hand, Google will have more influence on our life, as well as access to information on our daily living, which could make many consumers wary. Google will have to design a product and marketing campaign that is friendly, unassuming and unobtrusive in order to ease people into giving up their comforting level of privacy. Not only will the design have to be consistent, clean and minimal, it will also have to systemically provide a big enough improvement to the life of the average person for the reward to lighten the load of the daunting risks.

This begs the question: how does one design such a thing when there is no original source for reference? We will all soon see, because after Google announces their new wave of creation, along with its Google Glasses, Apple must produce a rebuttal which will lead to the next era of hardware for consumers. Not only will these changes alter daily life for everyone who can afford it, but the design world will forever change. We will have to attack problems from the view of the products’ response rather than the human’s response. We will have to create products that are humanly conscious while docile enough to not generate fear. A product or design that knows when to talk and when to listen. A product that observes without staring, that listens without hearing, a design that is so foreign to designers. We are used to responsive design that responds to the action of a human interaction with the product. Never has it been to the point where the product has to learn, as well as evolve new methods of interaction with its user.

These are all thoughts, nothing set in stone, but I hope these thoughts can be the stepping stones to question. To question what comes next in the path of evolution for the design world. I would love to hear anybody else’s thoughts on what they think Google’s acquisition means for the consumer as well as the design world. I believe the next step we take will be in unison and an exciting venture into the future.

- Jason (MOS Designer)


7 Favorite Free Apps from 2013

With the New Year just beginning, I wanted to take the time to review my favorite apps that I used on my iPhone in 2013. I also have an aversion to paying for apps when there are so many great free ones out there, so all of the apps mentioned are available for free! Chances are that not all of them will appeal to you personally, but maybe this list will inspire you to try a new app that I have found particularly helpful over the past year. So, excluding major social media apps and not necessarily in order by favorite, my top free apps from 2013 include:

1. Waze

wazeI actually just began using Waze at the end of 2013 but it has been exceedingly useful in some scenarios. It offers free GPS navigation that automatically updates the best route for you to take depending on traffic patterns. It’s user-based, so you can actually see other people on the road that are using the app. Passengers will report cops sighted, vehicles on the shoulder, and other useful information that the app will then tell you to “watch out” for as you drive. All I know is, it took me 5 and a half hours to get to Virginia Beach from Baltimore when I wasn’t using the app, and only 3 hours and 45 minutes to return home when I did use it.

2. Viber

If you are ever travelling abroad, this is a must-have app. You can call and text anyone else that has Viber entirely for free, without having to worry about whatever international plan your service provider might offer. I used this many times over the year with my best friend who was in Thailand, and then I used it to contact people in the U.S. when I went to Thailand in April 2013 to visit her. You just need wifi to use it, so if you’re in a very remote area that doesn’t have wifi then it’s not going to be as useful.

3. WedPicswedpics

I helped to plan a wedding in May 2013 and did a lot of research on the best wedding apps. I decided that WedPics was definitely the way to go, where people attending a wedding can share all their camera phone pictures in one location. Then, the bride and groom can see and download all the photos at a later date. Some similar apps, like WeddingParty, had a more attractive design but didn’t function as well.

4. Michaels

Do you love crafting and roaming the aisles of Michaels? Then I hope you have this app. They constantly post coupons for 40 – 50% off one regular price item, and you can easily have them scan the mobile coupon at checkout. I have used this countless times over the past year.

5. Redbox

Is there a new movie coming out on Redbox that you’ve been anticipating for months? If you have the Redbox app, you can actually see which Redbox locations have the movie in stock, and even reserve it for yourself! Much more efficient than driving around to all the Redbox locations in town, hoping to find a newly released movie.

6. iHandy Level

Not so new, but always useful. This is probably one of the most practical apps I have on my phone. I have moved 7 times in the last year and half, and always whip out my iHandy Level to hang anything in a new apartment.

7. PadMapper

padmapperRemember how I said I’ve moved 7 times in the past year and a half? Well another app that helped me was the rental finder PadMapper. You can enter filters for what you’re looking for in a rental (price range, number of bedrooms, etc.). Then, PadMapper pulls from multiple websites that have rental listings online (including Craigslist) and shows you pinpoints on a map of ones that fit your requirements in the area you’re interested in. As a visual person, it really helped me to see all the available listings on a map that I could then click on and be taken to the original listing for more information.


Overall, if you’re not a 23 year old crafty girl that likes to travel and moves a lot, then this list might not wildly impress you. But, these are the apps that I held very near and dear to my heart in 2013 and hopefully one – or all – are something that you’d like to try, too!

- Katy (MOS Project Manager/Copywriter)


Visual Data Infographics

What does your business do? Why does the customer need it? Do they know that yet? Most importantly: Does your product/service need a simple, sharable, and visually awesome explanation? That’s where we come in, with infographics!


Infographics are used frequently all over the net. You’ve seen at least one. You can’t log into the internet without stepping across one. Maybe it was the awesome Batman one that was passed around twitter and Facebook for a couple of years now. That’s because it’s a great way to show data. It presents information in a beautiful, but purposeful and simple way. It serves two purposes—looks good and tricks you into learning. Those kind of go hand-in-hand.


Here’s an example of one of the many infographics we’ve produced for our clients.

There are four ingredients that make up any successful infographic. These are Data, Design, Why, and Shareability. If it’s missing one of these elements, it won’t reach much of any audience. Think of it as a table… a table of info. If you remove a leg, you’re not gonna have an amazing table. Each aspect is essential. So don’t go without these four things:



It’s he backbone of the infographic. The entire reason you need one created is so you can display your data in an easy and simple way. You want everyone to understand. Data without the rest of the elements is boring, and flat out invisible to everyone. Gather your findings and be ready to have them represented in a beautiful fashion!



Well, you’ve got your data all ready to be shared, but what for? Say you’re looking to educate people on your product or service. You’d state a problem, and the purpose of the infographic is to explain how and why your business is the solution. Here’s where you make yourself important; here’s where you deliver your message.



Here’s where you take your what and why from above and make sense of it. Design puts everything in order and educates the viewer. Several points are to be touched upon: the information must be displayed clean and simple, it must look great so as to encourage reading, and there must be purpose to it. Meaning, you display your info in a fun, simple and creative manner that shows you know what you’re talking about. Bring eyes to your data.



Okay, your infographic is almost complete! What’s left to do is load it up with links to you and your social media outlets. You must let the viewer know where this image is coming from. Which brings us to a big decision: where do you put it? Of course you’re going to put it on your twitter and facebook, but where else? SEO will help, and as long as this is floating around the internet, it’ll grab eyes and bring attention to your business. So proper placement is key. Besides creating the infographic for you, we here at MOS are also able to put it in the right places.


Get a hold of us, and let’s visualize your data together!

-The MOS Creative Team

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Throwback Thursday: Bumblejunk!

We work on many projects here at MOS Creative. Do you have too much clutter? Need it removed? Well, we know just the guys who will help you out with that. This week, we want to highlight one of our favorites: Bumblejunk Junk Removal!

We’ve created many things for these guys. Here, we’ve got businesscards, yard signs, postcards, a vehicle wrap, and even an animation that ran on television!

We did all the work in-house, utilizing one of our designers, John as the voice. Tony then animated it all together. This was super fun.

The businesscards were a fun project as well. Here’s the front:image

And here’s the back:

We love how well the light blue and the bright, vibrant yellow play off of each other. 

While the Bumblejunk guys are out at a house, removing junk as they do, they place a nice sign in the lawn.


Bright, happy, and hard to miss!

The residential postcards were also a treat to make:


As we see in this postcard, there’s a Bumblejunk vehicle driving around. Here’s our vehicle wrap design!


We had a ton of fun creating this. Give Bumblejunk a call today!

-The MOS Creative Team

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What it takes to be Steve Jobs

“Why join the navy when you can be a pirate?” Wiser words never uttered by a man more influential and responsible for single-handedly transforming the computing and mobile landscape.

Steve Jobs told us to be crazy. He told us he wanted to put a ding in the universe. He didn’t put a ding, but he sure left an Apple.

A single glance at the non-stop media coverage, and you’d think America’s greatest superhero finally befell to his kryptonite. #SteveJobs, #iSad and #ThankYouSteve rotate Twitter’s trending topics, and pictures of our generation’s Thomas Edison continue to flood Facebook’s news feeds.

But in no jest, he was a hero to millions, probably billions, of people he never met. He changed the way we think about and interact with the world. Every time you have to ask your kid a computer question, remember, he’s the reason.

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Back to Basics: What is your Marketing Objective?

When it comes to this whole marketing thing, do you sometimes feel like you’re in over your head? Maybe you’re new to the “branding” concept? You hear so much talk about “engaging your audience” via Facebook and social media, but are you completely lost in where to even start?

I’m not surprised. Go ahead, just try Googling “marketing ideas.” You’ll get 40,200,000 search results.

Talk about information overload. No wonder most business owners don’t even want to think about their marketing, so they put it off for as long as possible. I’m thinking you need a little direction. Am I right?

I’m gonna level with you – doing it right is not as easy as it looks. That’s why there are millions of professional marketing firms out there. And for the most part, the professionals will do a good job for you. But whether you’re coming up with the creative ideas, or you’re paying someone else to do it for you, you should NEVER go into your own marketing strategy blindly. It’s EXTREMELY important that you get involved. After all, who knows your clients, your product and your company’s needs and goals better than you do?

So before you delve into the details of how often to Tweet and which keywords to base your SEO around, let’s start with the basics. I just want to get your feet wet and get you thinking. Always start by figuring out what your marketing OBJECTIVE is. Everything else will come from there.

What’s your Objective?

1. Awareness – Potential customers must know of, or be reminded of your existence, your location, your product, your price range, and what makes you stand out from the competition

2. Build Contact List – Your mailing list is like gold. It’s what you rely on for promoting any campaign, and it takes a lot of nurturing to build and keep.

3. Get Involved – Your business is not soul-less. Companies are made up of people, and people like to patronize companies that they know go out of their way to help other people. Your company’s positive image reinforces the perception that you are genuinely caring and sharing.

4. Staff Incentives – A cared for and happy team makes for a harmonious, smooth operation. Customers can tell when your employees don’t want to be there. Think about the grouchy, frowning cashier at the supermarket. Make sure your employees feel appreciated!

5. Excitement – This is the kind of energy and excitement that makes you stand out from the competition. This is when you need to turn on your thinking cap and come up with some really creative promotions.

6. Frequency – When you’re trying to be “the place to go.” This is a brand loyalty thing, and keeping them coming as frequently as possible.

7. Publicity – For this one you’ve got to be interesting and newsworthy. Maybe you’re doing BIG things for the community, or you’re doing something so completely out of the box that it’s a story too good to pass up.

8. Generate Traffic - Simply getting people in the door or on the website is your goal here. Contests are great for this! You want to get potential customers to complete some sort of action, whether it’s entering the contest or downloading a form.

9. Branding – Image is everything. Period. If you don’t define your company and your brand, the market will define it for you. And that’s never what you want!

10. Increase Sales – a.k.a. Up-selling – This is every CEO’s favorite! From the sneaky but ingenious psychological tactics (a la putting candy, gum and magazines in the grocery checkout line) to having an in-depth understanding of how your industry works, there are really unlimited opportunities to do this one.

11. Creating Activity - Most industries have their “slow” periods during the year, but that’s not set in stone. This is where you will get creative to make the slow season profitable.

12. Trial Offer – Who’s gonna turn down a free sample? Come on, you’ll love it. This is when you really want to get those potential customers who are living on the edge to finally make the plunge – but without any of the risk.

(Great list compiled by Tom Feltenstein – And if you’re looking for a good book on the basics, try Tom’s “Encyclopedia of 401 Proven Killer Promotional Tactics”)

Technology Wins – Top 10 Back-to-School Ads

1. Microsoft: PC or Mini Fridge?


As a kid, the end of August was always full of anticipation and excitement – back to school time! I would actually look forward to school shopping – picking out fresh new binders and coordinating folders, setting up each binder with the necessary section dividers for each class. OK, I was a really odd, really organized little kid.

All grown up, and the end of summer is still exciting. It brings back all those familiar feelings of being granted a new opportunity and a fresh start – the world is your oyster.

Back to school is also one of the most important times of the year for brands and retailers. It’s the second-biggest selling season next to the winter holidays! Apparel, shoes, school supplies, technology -with $69 billion in sales to fight over, you better step up your marketing game.

But in an underwhelming ad season, most of the brands in the must-buys (clothing, supplies, etc.) showed up to the game with lack luster enthusiasm. It was by and far left to the technology categories to push the creativity this year – brands including Microsoft, Dell and Best Buy.

“Retailers go into announcement mode, and for the most part those don’t resonate well. Retailers aren’t developing [apparel] creative stories particularly well, and they’re missing out on an opportunity,” said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix. “What really resonated well this year tended to be tech-oriented. Those ads either had an interesting product or an interesting new message.

Thanks to Ad Age for printing Ace Metrix’s list of top back-to-school ads. Creative effectiveness of ads is ranked by viewer reaction to national TV ads. Here’s the top 5 back-to-school ads…

1. See Microsoft above!

2. JC Penney: Turn your small change into Pennies from Heaven


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Do you love retail therapy? This cool app from Google is for you!

So we just learned about the new Google Catalogs app, and I’m so excited about it I just have to share it!

You know how Ikea puts their catalog up online on their website? They post it front and center so you can flip through each page, just like you would an old-school print copy. Pretty cool, right?

Well this is just like that, except now you can browse through catalogs from about 100 major retailers – think Sephora, Macy’s, Brooks Brothers, Pottery Barn – all from ONE FREE app on your iPad or tablet, which means you can shop from absolutely anywhere while you’re on the go.

Of course there’s tons of video content and lots of other cool extras that marketers will populate their catalogs with to make them irresistibly “engaging and interactive” (still the hottest buzz words today!). But the best thing about Google Catalogs is definitely the convenience.

You see a product you like –> you click for more information –> you buy it online or find a nearby store –> DONE!

Or if you’re anything like me and just love the thrill of window shopping, there’s a lot of pretty pictures for you to look at!

So why do I love the idea of Google Catalogs? It’s one more thing to keep me entertained while riding in trains, planes, automobiles, or from just about anywhere. PLUS I’m hoping there’s some really good coupons in these catalogs!!