psyborg® blog

My Top 5 Tech Movies

My Top 5 Tech Movies

My Top 5 Tech Movies

My Top 5 Tech Movies

I recently binged watched Maniac on Netflix over about 3 days and it got me really inspired to consider my favourite tech movies or series and hence the reason for this blog article. It’s really just an excuse to document them in case I forget but if you’re reading this and you discover something new, well that’s a great bonus too.

I love these futurist flicks because of the combination of their storyline and amazing art direction. Their storylines get me thinking about culture in fresh ways. I feel like we are living in a time of huge change where we are seeing culture shift quickly because of new technological developments and in many ways these drama’s help us to anchor ourselves in the moment to reflect on what is and what could be.

Although these stories are fictional, they give us insight into what could be, helping us to prepare for the social, ethical and cultural questions coming our way.

Anyway, if you have seen any of these flicks before or after this blog article I’d love to hear why in the comments section.

MANIAC

BIOTECH & A.I.

Two strangers are drawn to a mysterious pharmaceutical trial that will, they’re assured,with no complications or side-effects whatsoever, solve all of their problems,permanently. Things do not go as planned.

2018 | Jonah Hill & Emma Stone

EX MACHINA

A.I. & ROBOTICS

A young programmer is selected to participate in a ground-breaking experiment in synthetic intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breath-taking humanoid A.I.

2014 | Domhnall Gleeson & Oscar Isaac

BLACK MIRROR

A.I, SOCIAL MEDIA, ROBOTICS, VIRTUAL REALITY, BIOTECH & MORE

An anthology series exploring a twisted, high-tech world where humanity’s greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide.

2011 | Daniel Lapaine, Hannah John-Kamen & Michaela Coel

HER

A.I.

In a near future, a lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with an operating system designed to meet his every need.

2013 | Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams & Scarlett Johansson

ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND

BIOTECH

When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a medical procedure to have each other erased from their memories.

2004 | Jim Carey & Kate Winslet

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 2000 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel

Paper is so 1990’s

Paper is so 1990’s

Paper is so 1990's

Paper is so 1990’s

paperless office is a work environment in which the use of paper is eliminated or greatly reduced. – Wikipedia

In today’s society everything is digital. There are clouds to store information, easy to use and reasonably cheap scanners and things in the form of papers in the letter box seem to be getting less and less each year. You no longer need a phone book to find a number, a text book to research an idea or a stamp to send a message to someone. We have online phonebooks, google knows everything and an email or text messages can reach a person in seconds. The world seems to be going paperless so I have too!

Benefits of Going Paperless!

I have really found in the reasonably short time I have been paperless that the benefits are endless. I am not exaggerating. From the ease and time spared finding documents to the overall feel of my office. My paperless office has saved me time, energy and money. It also saves space, makes documentation and information sharing easier, and keeps personal information more secure.

So a paperless office, the biggest and best change for me has to be the efficiency. While my paper filled office was organised into years and files with labels, spreadsheets with where I could find documents and my things were ‘findable’ it still didn’t seem to work and have that smooth running slick feel my office now has. It still meant I had to physically get paper items. When storing documents it meant I had to physically put it in the place needed. It also meant I had to work amongst old files in what I would now consider a cluttered, unattractive work environment.

The task of going paperless while running a business took time, lots of time, but the time it continues to save me was well worth the time spent doing it in the first place. This efficiency has saved and earned me money because I am more productive, meaning I can take on more jobs and spend less time doing admin work.

Let’s imagine 2 years ago I needed to find a warranty receipt for an office item. I would have to go to my receipt folder, lug it down off the shelf and try and remember which month the item was purchased in, flip through the piles and piles of receipts until I found the one I needed, I won’t even mention how hard these faded receipts were to read at times. I’d then have to take the receipt trying not to smudge or ruin it as it’s my only copy (I’m in trouble if I lose it)! Now the flip side, last week I needed a warranty claim so I opened my receipts folder in dropbox (these are scanned weekly and takes about 5 mins to scan the entire week and enter date and description), I typed in ‘apple mouse’ two items were found and I printed the one that was needed. I have no stress or fear of losing or misplacing the receipt as they are all here and easily accessible if I were to lose that copy. In past days this particular job could have taken anywhere from 10-30 minutes. This took me less than a minute. Seriously less than a minute.

Another key benefit to paperless is the security. The papers in Dropbox or the cloud are safe, I mean in the physical sense (although the digital sense they are safe as well). If (touch wood) I were to lose all my belongings in a fire my documents don’t burn. They are saved, they are backed up and they are not lost to me forever.

Getting rid of the THOUSANDS of papers really cleared the room. My ‘old office’ compared to my new one had two very very different feels. I had walls filled with shelves that were stacked to the brim with files. I had 8 years of tax receipts in boxes. I had client forms, user manuals, old lecture notes filling every file cabinet and shelf space available. The clutter and furniture that filled the physical space in my office seemed to also cloud my mind. There are studies proving clutter causes stress and I was working in a cluttered environment (and not realising it) every day! You can read more about the benefits of de-cluttering aka the secret to creativity here. I had heard things about going paperless and I just knew it had to be done.

How did I become Paperless?

Well once I made the decision I didn’t immediately jump in and start scanning. I looked into the process and researched the technology used. I purchased a scanner and hired an administration assistant to come and help me for 4 hours a week. As a small business owner I knew I couldn’t spend all my days focussing on this and knew it would be a gradual process. I put some great systems into place which work so well for me and purchased appropriate supplies to help me out.

Scanner

One of the best devices I purchased was Scansnap (Scansnap s1300i), it is a quick, easy to use scanner that has OCR. OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is a technology that extracts the text from an image or a scanned document so that it can be edited, formatted, searched, indexed, automatically translated or converted to speech. I set up a Dropbox account and used a feature of Scansnap, automatic send to drop box.

Fujitsu Scansnap

So the scanning process looked like this, I placed as many papers as I needed for the particular document, I pressed the blue button, the papers automatically feed through, both sides if needed. Once the quick scanning process was completed I chose the folder in dropbox that I wanted it to go, changed the name if I needed to (for old documents the folder was enough of a name as the OCR allowed me to search for it if needed not solely based on the name) and I was ready to do the next one. If the next item I scanned was to go in the same drop box folder then I could skip the folder selection step as it was all ready set up to go there. My assistant who usually only worked 4 hours a week spent countless hours over at least 3 months scanning documents, I allowed her to watch TV shows or movies on the iPad as she scanned and shredded, scanned and shredded, scanned and shredded. We had the shredder over heat countless times and eventually blew the motor but slowly my office was clearing out.

Dropbox

DropBox

I have mentioned dropbox a few times, so here is further explanation from the dropbox information guide.

‘Dropbox is a home for all your photos, docs, videos, and files. Anything you add to Dropbox will automatically show up on all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website — so you can access your stuff from anywhere.

Dropbox also makes it super easy to share with others, whether you’re a student or professional, parent or grandparent. Even if you accidentally spill a latte on your laptop, have no fear! Relax knowing that your stuff is safe in Dropbox and will never be lost.’

So for me this was the best program to save my documents through. As someone who uses a laptop to work away from home, 2 computers in the studio, other devices including ipad and iphone, Dropbox makes file retrieval super easy and the fear of losing documentation is gone.

Try to Stop Paper Coming to You

So once you go paperless you don’t want people to send you papers if they don’t have to. Many things that arrive in the letter box can be emailed. For example bills, some services actually ask if you want your bills emailed. It also saves the step of scanning in your paperless office as once you get that email you can immediately save the file to Dropbox.

Often all it takes is a phone call to the company to ask for it to be redirected to email. While you are on the phone, to save another monthly job, why not ask for direct debit? This is something else I have put in place when I went paperless. For phone, electricity, internet, water, rates, you can set up a payment system so bills are always paid on time and that time taken to pay for them is spent somewhere else doing something much more enriching than paying bills.

How to Maintain Your Paperless Office

Honestly, this has not been hard for me. Once the paper was gone, I did not want it back. So receipts are put on a spike and scanned once a week before they a shredded and recycled, documents I used to hand customers and get them to return are now emailed and returned the same way, time sheets are now in spreadsheet format so I no longer need the paper copy. Bills or statements that do still come via mail are also scanned once a week then shredded. My studio does not get messy like it used to. I actually love my studio, I love going to work (even though it is attached to my home) and I feel inspired and ready to get down to business the moment I enter the room. I never realised how much the feel of a place could change until I remodelled my studio after I went paperless.

Becoming Even More Efficient

Once I went paperless I wanted to improve the efficiency in other areas in an effort to become more lean and agile. Was this because I had more time now I was paperless? Was this because my paperless office inspired me? Was this because the technology is more available? Was this because I wanted to spend more time with my growing family? Who knows but it is certainly working in my favour.

The ways I have become more efficient is moving more and more of my processes to the cloud. I now use Xero, a software company that develops cloud based accounting software for small and medium-sized businesses.

I am also using Zappier to become more efficient. Zapier lets you easily connect the web apps you use, making it easier to automate tedious tasks. For example I can have emails automatically subscribe from G-Mail to MailChimp based on specific rules set up.

IFTTTT is another tool similar to Zappier that can help connect apps so they work better for you. Another device worth a look at if you are thinking of becoming more lean and agile in how you run your business.

As I continue to find more processes to automate and eliminate, my productivity in design will continue to improve, therefore my business will continue to grow.

The first step was to go paperless and I highly recommend, if you haven’t already, that you try it to.

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 2000 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel

The Neuroscience of Branding

The Neuroscience of Branding

The Neuroscience of Branding

The Neuroscience of Branding

I caught up with Shannon Bosshard, a young and energetic PHD student whom I previously connected with when he approached me to help him with his new business venture, Neuro Consulting Australia, where I am helping him set up his new website.

Shannon’s new venture, Neuro Consulting Australia, is a unique service, one of a kind in Australia, so naturally I found this service to be very interesting and wanted to learn more.

We decided to catch up over a beer so I could learn more about Neuroscience and how it can be used to improve graphic design, interface design and branding, topics close to the psyborg® heart.

Shannon was kind enough to introduce me to Neuroscience and its application. Here’s what I learned…

So what is Neuroscience anyway?

As it stands, the human brain is the most complex living structure we know of. There is so much we know about the brain and how it works and still so much to learn. Neuroscience is the study of this complex mass of tissue.

Neuroscience has shown that most of our decision-making is automatic, intuitive and instinctive – and it’s made in the ‘rapid-response’ part of our brains.

In relation to graphic design and branding, consumer-neuroscience, otherwise known as neuromarketing, looks at how consumers perceive brands and other marketing related stimuli. It is widely known that up to 95% of behaviour is in some way driven by non-conscious processes. With regards to consumer behaviour, consumers make most of their decisions unconsciously, in an automatic, rapid response manner, and neuroscience is the practice of measuring the unconscious.

Neuroscience has shown us that there are in fact two types of attitudes, those that are conscious and those that are non-conscious. Traditionally, marketing strategies have focussed on understanding and interpreting attitudes at a conscious level. These attitudes are often polluted by thoughts. For example, if asked why you like a certain brand, it can often be difficult to articulate your answer. This is because the act of thinking pollutes your response. Neuroscience is able to solve this issue by tapping into the brain and measuring responses that aren’t tainted by thoughts.

Traditionally, marketing companies have been asking consumers directly through market research & focus groups, why they do what they do and how they perceive and react to brands largely represented by graphic design. Neuroscience offers an alternative to this approach.

The problem with traditional market research is that it relies on two things – one, that consumers tell the truth, and two, that consumers know whether they like something or not. Unfortunately, existing literature suggests that consumers can’t really tell us what they are thinking at a non-conscious level with regards to a brand or design because in reality they don’t know. Shannon says that the brains automatic response is what really needs to be studied, and this can only be done by using the following neuro-scientific methods to truly view consumer reactions to branding and graphic design.

Physiological Response

When I hear ‘neuro’ I automatically think brain, but Neuroscientists also look at the physiological response to stimuli. A few different physiological responses are measured to view consumer responses including facial EMG, Skin Conductance and Heart Rate.

Facial EMG is done by placing electrodes around the eye to measure changes in the voltage caused by muscle contractions. These changes occur when we feel different emotions. Typically we blink more when we see something that we don’t like than when we are shown something we like. Facial EMG measures these changes and simply put, quantifies our emotional responses.

EMG

These muscle contractions can occur even if no visible changes to facial expression can be seen. So this tool is much more sensitive to changes in emotion than facial recognition software.

Facial EMG has recently been used to answer several design related questions. Through the use of this technology, researchers have found that different bottle shapes elicit significantly different emotional responses. When males and females were asked whether one of three bottle shapes were more appealing, participants verbally responded no. However, when eye blink magnitude was analysed, a medium sized, polygonal bottle was seen to be more unpleasant for males than for females. This is a perfect example of how shapes and design are interpreted and favourably assessed by each gender. Such findings can assist designers when choosing whether to tailor advertisements to a specific gender.

In graphic design, the aim of the designer is to elicit particular emotions which sit with the objectives of the brand. Designers do this by borrowing from culture, symbolism and colour theory. This would mean that if the designer has done their job right, technically this should be congruent with the results of a Facial EMG.

Skin Conductance is measured by placing electrodes on the fingers to measure the changes in the voltage caused by the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, also known as our body’s arousal system. This tool can be used to measure intensity of emotional arousal.

Whilst researching this I read an interesting fact that some studies have actually shown people to be more aroused by brands than they are by loved ones! Yes, they seem to be more emotionally invested in Coca Cola than they are to their husband or wife!

Heart Rate can be measured using an ECG (electrocardiogram) machine, this rate can be used as a measure of attention and arousal in response to the given brand or graphic design stimuli. Hence using an ECG one can determine scientifically if somebody is aroused by a design or not.

EEG (Electroencephalography)

EEGAnother method of measurement in the Neuroscientists toolkit is EEG. An EEG measures the subconscious brain response to stimuli directly. EEG maps the brain waves, showing researchers how the brain reacts to different images.

To me it looks like a bunch of squiggly lines on a computer screen, but I find it fascinating that Neuroscientists can marry this information up with other methods to determine our immediate response to what we are viewing. They know how our brain is responding to what we are seeing.

Shannon says, research suggests that EEG is capable of differentiating between liked and disliked stimuli. Generally, greater activity across left frontal hemispheres is associated with positive/approach related behaviour whilst greater left frontal activity is associated with negative/avoidance related behaviour which could easily be applied within design contexts.

Eye Tracking

eye trackingThe name says it all really. This method tracks eye movement which allows Neuroscientists to measure which stimuli captures attention, exactly how quickly the attention is caught and how long that attention is held. Link this up with the brain waves from the EEG and physiological responses and you can imagine how powerful this tool could be to a designer given an appropriate sample size.

Eye tracking is also used in interface design for digital applications such as websites where the eye tracking software records where the eyes are focused, generating a kind of heat map that when studied across a large sample size, can reveal patterns of attention. Graphic designers can use this information to improve their designs to suit the objectives of the interface.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

Functional MRI’s can be used to see which areas of the brain are active when viewing certain stimuli. Studies have been done using an FMRI that show how well known brands stimulate a positive reaction in the brain with little effort, and less known brands stimulate a negative response in the brain with higher levels of activity. Researchers are integrating this technology with those mentioned above due to its bad temporal resolution (time). Basically there is a delay between when participants see something on a screen and when the MRI machine picks up the activity. In contrast, EEG and Facial EMG are instantaneous.

How can this be used in Graphic Design and Branding?

When chatting with Shannon, Shannon mentioned that the power of these techniques allow for a significantly smaller sample size (around 30 – 50 participants) which is significantly less than traditional market research as the results generated are hard-data, independent of bias. Shannon and his team can design experiments depending on the particular design or branding objective in mind with relatively less sample size.

According to Shannon, neuroscience allows researchers to quantify emotion. In doing so, questions such as ‘which design do you like more’, ‘why do you like this design more’ and ‘which product looks, feels, or smells better’, can be answered without asking a single question of the consumer.

I know when I design something, I try to tap into my non-conscious (sometimes referred to as intuition or gut feel) to determine what works and what does not work aesthetically and emotionally. For me these decisions come down to how I use colour, line, shape and space to arouse a particular emotion, response or perception that achieves the objectives of my client. Neuroscience offers a scientific method to measure these responses and certainly confirm or deny what designers are trying to achieve.

I hope this article has shed some light on the topic of Neuroscience and how it can be applied to graphic design and branding, and I really want to thank Shannon for his time in shedding some light on the topic, and hope to work with him again in the future.

Daniel Borg.

 

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 2000 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel

Just started our 1500th project

Just started our 1500th project

Just started our 1500th project

Just started our 1500th project

I’m super excited to announce that I have just started my 1500th psyborg® project.

Some of these projects have been quite large taking months to complete, many have been small taking hours but all have been one stepping stone leading to the next.

I have been working with clients, running psyborg® for just over 9 years now and I am amazed and so grateful that it is still going strong and still feeling like it is just getting started.

With every new creative project there has been an opportunity to learn and realise that there is still so much more to learn, keeping it fresh.

Here are some interesting stats from the last 1499 projects;

  • I have designed 143 logos & have developed 220 websites
  • I have spent 11,675 hours designing, developing & project managing different creative project types
  • On average over the past 9 years, 40% of each week was spent running the business and 60% on actual design projects
  • In the first year, 2006, I completed 21 projects, and last year in 2013, I completed 164

Learning has not just been in the creative application and technology of the creative process, but in self development, how to operate a business in an agile environment and how to apply continuous improvement.

A few key things that I have learned about being part mind | part machine;

  • Every problem you are faced with is an opportunity to improve and when solved can propel you in interesting and unexpected directions
  • Design trends come and go, but good communication is set on design fundamentals which don’t change
  • If things get tough, work on yourself and the rest will work itself out
  • Make time to meditate and be mindful as this stimulates calmness and helps you deal with stress & new opportunities
  • Keep learning and take every opportunity to continuously improve

For all of my clients reading this post, thank you so much for the opportunity to work with you, it has been a great pleasure to help you grow your business.

I’m intrigued by what could be next.

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 2000 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel

What’s been happening

What’s been happening

What's been happening

What’s been happening

Here’s an update on some of the psyborg® design work & developments over the past few months.

Mac Attack

We’ve been busy going all Mac in the studio. For some time I had a mixture of PCs and Macs running, but now with iOS8 set to launch soon I have set up the studio with two new iMacs (psyMacs), which integrate nicely with my iPad (psyPad) and iPhone (psyPhone).

Now that we’re paperless we’re starting to leverage the cloud even more with some exciting developments on the horizon. One thing I have learned with business automation and leveraging the cloud is that you need to get all of your ducks (or devices) in a row to create the synergy required to run an agile business.

Keeping Your WordPress Website Up to Date

For most of my website clients I maintain their WordPress dashboard. This is necessary so that it stays up to date with the latest evolution of WordPress, latest plugins and latest theme files. This usually occurs bimonthly. Check out my latest psyblog article explaining the steps that I take.

What is WordPress?

For those who don’t know WordPress is one of the most popular Content Management Systems (CMS) available, enabling web publishers to take control over their content. I have been designing and developing WordPress websites for over five years now completing more than 75 website projects on this platform.

Here is a small list of some of my most recent website project completions;

Mobler Design

Mobler Design lets you customise architect-designed furniture before you purchase it.

Conversant Media

We recently went live with Conversant Media’s new website showcasing it’s successful online publications and business approach.

ScooterHub

Newcastle now has a Scooter Hire service where you can book a scooter online. In close consultation with my client we also developed ScooterHubs’ brand, print materials & vehicle signage.

Bend + Mend

Bend + Mend is a physiotherapist with four clinics located in the Sydney CBD. I worked closely with Bend + Mend to customise their WordPress theme to reflect the organisation’s professionalism and personality.

Hamilton Loan Office

With pawn shops being all the rage now with the success of some U.S. TV programs Hamilton Loan Office thought it was time to go online and begin communicating there business to the world.

Branding, Print and Signage

I’ve also completed a heap of logos, printed campaigns and signage projects over the past few months that you can get a glimpse of over at my Facebook feed.

That’s it for now, thanks for reading.

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 2000 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel