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Bicing in Barcelona - Alternative Mass Transit

As we wander the beautiful city of Barcelona in our off hours from EAGE, we can't help but notice amazing examples of creative energy at work. The Europeans have always excelled at mass transit, and the primary mode of transportation around European inner-cities is via bicycle. In fact, Europe has one of the oldest and most mature biking cultures in the world.

This love of bikes has given way to mass biking services offered in many
major European capitals. Bicing is the alternative public transportation in Barcelona, launched in March of 2007 with 200 bicycles to rent and 14 stations spread around the city. The purpose of the system is to cover the short everyday journeys made within the City via bicycle, reducing the city's carbon footprint. As of May 2009 there were 6,000 bikes and 401 stations.

Each bright red Bicing SmartBike is a three geared bicycle made of stainless steel and aluminum, weighing around 16.5 kg, equipped with headlights, back lights and a RFID tracking system. The SmartBikes were specially designed to be easily recognizable and to prevent theft of parts or of the whole bike. Vans redistribute Bicing SmartBikes between the stations as needed.

The idea is to use the bikes to easily maneuver around the City without
having to rely on cars, buses or taxis. An annual membership of €30 ($36.93) is required, with most stations located near entrances of public
transportation like the metro, public parking lots and train stations. The
yearly fee allows members to use their RFID card to rent a Bicing SmartBike for up to two hours a day. The first 30 minutes are free of charge. A fee of €.50 ($.62) is charged for every additional half hour. After two hours a penalty of €3 ($3.70) an hour is charged, encouraging short-term use. If a user does not return the bike to a station within 24 hours of rental a charge of €150 ($185) is levied.

Barcelona City Council and Clear Channel manage and maintain the system.

Is creative energy at work in Barcelona? Absolutely.

Axiom Showcased in AIGA's "The Texas Show" with 2 Best in Category Awards

Recognized by the AIGA, the professional association for design, Axiom's work is showcased in a book and traveling exhibit highlighting the Best in Texas design and graphics communication, called "The Texas Show." The inaugural Houston event was celebrated at the Heights Theater on May 27, 2010, where Axiom was awarded Best in Category Poster for its promotion of the Houston Art Directors Club, Best in Category Video & Motion for ION Geophysical, an Honorable Mention Poster for a Public Relations Society of America promotion, and an Honorable Mention Video & Motion for an Axiom self promotion.

Winners from the Austin, Dallas and Houston Chapters of AIGA are included in “The Texas Show.” Of the 149 entries from Houston's marketing and communications firms, designers and students only 17 received awards. Axiom was one of only three marketing communications firms included in the retrospective and road show. "The Texas Show" will be produced biannually with staged exhibits across Texas.

Founded in 1914, AIGA remains the oldest and largest professional membership organization for design. AIGA now represents more than 20,000 design professionals, educators and students through national activities and local programs developed by 65 chapters and 200 student groups.

Photos courtesy of Myke Toman | 

Barcelona, Birthday, EAGE and Synchronized Swimming

by Tom Hair

I’m posting this from Barcelona, while mixing a bit of fun with work as my wife Molly and several other Axiom team members attend the
72nd European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers (EAGE) Conference June 14-17.

Molly and I celebrated our arrival to Barcelona, and my birthday, by my swimming 3,300 yards at Pisc
ines Picornell, the pool that is part of the Parc de Montjuic, which was the home of the 1992 Summer Olympics. Parc de Montjuic is the largest park in Barcelona and is 213 meters above the commercial zone of the city.

Often referred to as Montjuic Park, or simply Montjuic, this is actually a huge m
ountain that divides part of the city of Barcelona from the sea and gives it a unique character of natural beauty. There are two theories about how the name came about – the first one says that it is derived from the old Catalan phrase meaning 'Hill of the Jews' and the other one suggests that it comes from the corruption of the Latin Mons Jovicus (‘Hill of Jupiter’).

We then enjoyed a slice of life in the Parc watching a synchronized s
wimming competition. The obvious camaraderie of the young girls was a wonderful example of creative energy.

How Branding Conquers The Three Plagues

Let’s begin with a simple definition of branding.

Branding is the art of becoming knowable, likable, and trustable. Branding is an art because it deals with the interplay between strategy [logic] and creativity [emotion]. Too much strategy and too little creativity exude a cold bureaucratic image. Too much creativity and too little strategy send disjointed and confusing messages. The trick is to maintain balance.

Unfortunately, three forces team up to keep the scales wobbling.

In today’s always-on, always available business world, we suffer from the plagues of time famine, overchoice, and short attention spans. In order to mollify the relentless stress spawned by these three plagues, marketing professionals will often jump into creating marketing tactics and vehicles (website, brochures, logos, brochures, tweets, posts, etc.) prematurely—before investing in good branding principles. In light of the three plagues, the urge to leap ahead with creating tangible stuff is particularly tempting. Don’t just sit there, do something!

But there’s good news: good branding cuts through the visual noise pollution. Good branding clearly demonstrates to the world: we value the important over the urgent. It simplifies and distills choice-making down to its essence. The pay-off? Reducing someone’s stress.

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