Be Good Not Bad by Brian Warren

Recent pages from the journal

23 December 2010


Bridget Devouring a Chocolate Muffin

Taking my daughter on a date. She likes the chocolate muffins! (Taken with Instagram at Milkboy Coffee)

2 November 2010


Voting Machine

(Taken with instagram)

20 October 2010


Instagram Mosaic

As you’ve seen, I’ve been playing with Instagram a lot lately. Something about it is very fun and sticky for me. It’s actually for a lot of the same reasons I like Tumblr. It’s very easy to use, to post to, and the interface is excellent. There’s just a hint of a social aspect but it’s out of the way and doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t.

I know some people don’t care for Instagram because it clutters up their Twitter stream. And to be honest, I could really do without some people posting a half a dozen Instagram pictures all at once. To that, though, I say blame the person, not the app. Just because some people don’t understand the meaning of “moderation” doesn’t mean the photo software is doing something wrong.

I imagine over time people will figure it out. They usually do. I see a lot fewer senseless Gowalla and Foursquare checkins on Twitter than when those services first came out. Also, I predict people will use the fancy filters on Instagram less over time (though they are pretty fun for now).

12 October 2010


(Taken with instagram)

9 October 2010


(Taken with instagram)

4 October 2010

Guest Editing at EE Insider

For the remainder of the year (and perhaps longer?), I’ll be helping out around the house at EE Insider, a website founded by a good friend of mine, Ryan Irelan. He is about to become a father, so he’s going to have his hands pretty full!

He kindly welcomed me to the site with his post, Welcome to Brian, Our New Editor. What a fine chap!

9 August 2010

One of my Favorites: Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey

My favorite whiskey in the whole wide world is Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. These guys really know what their doing. Aside from making delicious whiskey, they have done a marvelous job of doing some simple but effective things to build a unique brand.

Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey

The Stranahan’s logo is decidedly secondary in this label design. The label is dominated by the words “Colorado Whiskey”. Are there other whiskeys made in Colorado? Probably. Does it matter? No. When you go to the store and see “Colorado Whiskey” on this label, it really stands out among all the other whiskeys on the shelf. Colorado, with its rich history of craft brewing, is seen as a place where delicious liquids are made. Add to that the cowboy and mining history of the the Rocky Mountains and you almost feel Stranahan’s came from that era.

The label is set at an angle. I suspect that’s intentional. These guys don’t have a labeling machine. In fact, they have volunteers come in and put all the labels on by hand, walking home at the end of the day with a couple free bottles of whiskey. So Stranahan’s embraces the inexact nature of hand-labeling their bottles and has everybody put them on at an angle. Yet another thing that will help this whiskey stand out on the shelf.

The label is also hand-signed by the distiller with a batch number, the date and comments. The one pictured in this post says “1st Batch in New Distillery”.

So, they’re doing the design and labeling right, and I can attest that they’re doing a fabulous job at making the whiskey. I do, however, have a huge problem with Stranahan’s: Their website is an absolute mess. It’s a nervous mix of varying type treatments and troublesome navigation. They obviously ran out of room for tabs across the top and had to start adding them to the side with a totally different design.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time harping on Stranahan’s for their website. One could argue it’s even charming: Given that making whiskey is such an analog process, of course they will have a lousy website. But, I’ll say this: When you have such a lovely product, with an established recognizable brand, you’re doing a huge disservice to that brand to give it such a crappy website.

A brand isn’t just a logo. “A brand is the personality that identifies a product, service or company” (Wikipedia). Your brand is informed by everything from the design of your labels to how you treat your employees. So when you decide to have a pretty lousy website, you’re saying something about the kind of company you want to be seen as.

I’ll say it again: Stranahan’s is an exceptional product. I hope I’m not being too hard on these guys. They really do great work. I hope for their sake that Stranahan’s decides to improve their website to match the quality of the rest of their product.