CMYK Bad Words (if I could say “top ## list”, I would but its on the list)

January 19, 2014

By Agent (C.L.) At the studio, we have a big whiteboard wall where we map out projects, scrawl out workflows, and draw out crappy pictures of people at the office that end up resembling a 3rd grade rainy day recess rather than anything professional. But there is a sacred part of the wall that always goes untouched.  It is a small list of words that have  been deemed "CMYK Bad Words".  Despite their dry erase nature, they are very permanent…. About 3 years ago, we had Madeleine Buck, one of our secret ops agents, help us with branding and language for the company.  We came up with a list of words that we would use consistently in our literature and proposals.  Things like "collaboration", "creatively brave", and "ideas"; words that define who we are and the work we do… blah blah blah. If you want to know more, read our Inside page.  Anyway, after a year of working through our literature and online text, I realized there were also a list of words that I really couldn't stand saying/hearing anymore. Below are just a sample as well as some reasoning.  If you want to see the full list, skip buzzfeed and be an actual human being - visit our office and talk to us.  I love spouting my opinion off. **As a reminder, I don't really care if you disagree with me. I can't help it if you don't understand why you are wrong. • Website Ok, so obviously this seems strange coming from a company that typically specializes in developing this kind of material. Honestly, its just a horrible word that doesn't accurately represent what is out there now, or what COULD be out there.  The work that we and a lot of other small business (and, of course, large agencies) create is a collaboration of really crafted visual design with clever, logical programming. Calling these creations "websites" seems to diminish the work.   I get much more excited when I hear words like "platforms", "experiences", "interactive artwork", hell, even "my own little space in the internet". We've removed the word from our vocabulary.  It makes us constantly think about what we are making, who we are making it for, and what we want to do with the product. • Home/Contact me/About Pretend for a second that you are helping your parents name you when you popped out into the world as a baby. "What about Bridget, Caitlin, Katrina, Rose or Catherine for a girl - Tyler, Thompson, Alexander, or Buster for a boy," You question. Your parents respond, "Hey, listen, I love those names, but I'm not sure people will really think that those are names for a person. People know "John" and "Mary" are names and they are very common.  Let's just go with one of those because they are easier and we don't want to confuse people." This is how i feel about "home", "contact" and "about". Also, this is navigation on something that can be changed in 2 minutes. Not the name of a child for a lifetime.  Be creative. The internet is forgiving. I'm more than happy to brainstorm with you, its actually my favorite thing to change when working on projects. • and so on and so forth.. I was in on a teleconference training for some technology that we were using in a project.  The person giving the training was going over a few things with the API but kept using "and so on and so forth" in place of.. well, the end of the sentence.  For example: "You can use javascript and JSON to access the properties of the object and so on and so forth" Actually, no. its not "so on and so forth".  There really isn't anything beyond that.  Its like saying "When you get old, you die, and so on and so forth". Furthermore, I challenge anyone to really use these words properly.  I have no alternative expression to use, but if you would like one, just say "monkey".  It will catch people off guard and make them actually listen to your training session instead of looking on Facebook. • QR codes Listen. These are done. I see them in the subway and really, its just sad.  Its like giving a scuba diver a candle and a book of matches.  If you know what these are, then you understand and should agree with me, period.  If you don't know what they are, consider yourself lucky. A short definition: a really convoluted way for someone to find you or your business on the internet.  There are so many other things you can do to engage your audience actively.  Clever images? A smart tagline to make the audience remember your internet address? Maybe a puzzle of images that a user could collect and piece together based on multiple ads throughout the platform? maybe you get fancy and use iBeacons and start really interacting with space and the users device? • BLOG I know, I know, "thats what this is!!", right? no. "blog" is a horrible sounding word that has stuck around no reason whatsoever other than complacency and apathy. It really is the same sound that comes out during the flu when I'm dry heaving.  There are so many other names for a collection of articles, editorial and all around interesting ideas that are coming from your head.  I hope that we can all collectively agree that calling these bits of persona a "blog" is like wearing a flannel shirt to the beach in July.