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Defining our industry's methodologies, standards, and culture have long been a part of Happy Cog's values.

We started Cognition as a product to offer advice, create a dialogue, and serve our industry and clients to help them with their goals and aspirations.

Learn more about Happy Cog at happycog.com.

  1. Hc blog ji Article Illustration

    Designers are From Mars

    Headshot of Jessica Ivins

    6/23/11

    by Jessica Ivins

    Prior to my days at Happy Cog, I worked on a team tasked with creating an online promotion for our client’s new high-end candy. The candy was delicious, but each small box sold for approximately $4, so conveying its quality was important. The product’s target market was women in their 20’s and 30’s, so my team decided to take the high-maintenance diva approach to the design. When all was said and done, we launched a microsite full of glamour and glitz, sparkles, stilettos, and lipstick tips. Users could take a quiz to determine just how “fabulous” they were. At the time, I was in my twenties, and I’ve always liked candy, so I considered myself a member of the target audience. But there was a problem: I couldn’t relate to this content at all. I liked to be girly from time to time, but sparkles and stilettos were not my thing and they never will be. I also couldn’t see any of my female friends connecting with this. To be fair, the tone of the site was tongue-in-cheek and it wasn’t taking itself too seriously, but I just didn’t feel right about it. It didn’t feel right to reduce our target audience to stereotypes. Had I known then what I know now, I probably would have spoken up and advocated for a better understanding of our audience. Were these women really into makeup and expensive clothes and nights out in Manhattan? Or were we completely off the mark?

  2. Hc blog Main Article Illustration v28 00 CC

    Not everyone's a technophile

    Headshot of Mark Huot

    6/16/11

    by Mark Huot

    When you engage Happy Cog in a full scale web redesign, you typically come out of the project with a fully integrated content management system (or CMS). The implementation of a CMS implies that you and your team will have access to a tool that will facilitate updating content across the entire website. The system creates an abstract of the website using simple forms to enable content entry. Completing those forms will generate all the necessary callouts, sidebars, related links, archives, etc. from which your site is built.

  3. Hc blog Main Article Illustration v27 00 YPC

    The Cult of Personalities

    Headshot of Dave DeRuchie

    6/9/11

    by Dave DeRuchie

    In a service industry like ours, we work with a lot of people. Certain people bring out the best in us; others, not so much. Consider your last difficult workplace exchange. How would that encounter have been different if you had a better sense of your own personality? What if you understood the person you shared the encounter with better?

  4. Hc cc final

    The Secret Ingredient

    Headshot of Chris Cashdollar

    6/2/11

    by Chris Cashdollar

    Variety is a blessing. Here at Happy Cog, each and every design project is radically different. Show me the day when any two client design challenges are exactly the same and I’ll turn in my font library, ergonomic chair, and scribble-filled Field Notes. Retirement at 34? Sounds good. Now, where’s my fishing pole…

  5. 20110526 JZ isle of creative

    But What I Really Want to Do is Direct

    Headshot of Jeffrey Zeldman

    5/26/11

    by Jeffrey Zeldman

    In my apprentice days, I worked for Marvin Honig, a Hall of Fame copywriter who created indelible commercials for Alka-Seltzer, Cracker Jack, and Volkswagen during the 1960s and 1970s, and who assumed creative leadership of Doyle Dane Bernbach upon legendary founder Bill Bernbach’s death. It was not one of those bloody successions that stain the pages of history and advertising. Bill chose Marvin to carry on in his place.

  6. Ov Mf hc blog Main Article Illustration v27 01 KS

    Waterloo.

    Headshot of Greg Storey

    5/19/11

    by Greg Storey

    A month ago, after drinking a few Sundowns in celebration of turning forty years of age, I bought myself a pair of Old Gringos. They are a worn-in light brown and are adorned with a fierce phoenix stitched in the front of each boot. For those who know me, they’re thinking that this purchase was completely influenced by a tequila fueled mid-life crisis, but they would be mostly wrong. For you see, I acquired this tall footwear after being advised that you can’t do business in Texas without a pair of cowboy boots.

  7. Hc blog Main Article Illustration v27 00 CC

    The Devil is in The Invoice

    Headshot of Greg Hoy

    5/12/11

    by Greg Hoy

    If you run a creative services business and haven’t seen Mike Monteiro’s F*ck You. Pay Me. talk, take 40 minutes and watch it. In his ever-so-subtle style, Mike provides a real world overview of the red flags that result in you not getting paid for your work. A lot of the talk focuses on the importance of having a sound contract and a lawyer’s ear, both of which are crucial. While Mike’s talk hit on the big points, there are also some smaller details that can a make big difference. For example, how you invoice.

  8. Hc blog Main Article Illustration v26 00 YPC

    The Art of Details

    Headshot of Brian Warren

    5/5/11

    by Brian Warren

    “Whether the type is set in hard metal by hand, or in softer metal by machine, or in digital form on paper or film, every comma, every parenthesis, every e and in context even every empty space, has style as well as bald symbolic value. Letters are microscopic works of art as well as useful symbols. They mean what they are as well as what they say.”
    — Robert Bringhurst The Elements of Typographic Style

  9. Cog 2011 04 28

    Face the Money

    Headshot of Russ Unger

    4/28/11

    by Russ Unger

    I think I started holding down jobs when I was in the fifth or sixth grade. It started simple—a newspaper route in glorious Mark, Illinois, population somewhere around 250-300. Believe it or not, there were two paper routes in this little village. Mark had lots of hills, but also lots of great people—and even a couple of first generation Italian immigrants—who made the route worthwhile. It wasn’t just about the cash money to buy Atari 2600 cartridges and fireworks I received from them; it was often about those homemade lemon cookies made from a recipe that probably never existed on paper.

  10. Sustain design

    Sustainable, Not Pixel Perfect

    Headshot of Kevin Sharon

    4/21/11

    by Kevin Sharon

    Last week, Happy Cog was nominated for two Webby awards for our work with Zappos.com. I know some people don’t like awards, but as someone who didn’t grow up in an era when “everyone gets a trophy,” I still think they’re pretty rad. Seriously though, I think of a nomination like this as a recognition of doing great collaborative work with our clients. When I heard about the nominations, I was chatting with one of my coworkers who wondered, “can we really take the credit for this work?” As I typed the words, “shut your stupid face hole,” and considered whether to press enter, I thought about his question for a moment and the life of our work after we hand it over to our clients.