Friday, August 22, 2014

"Warner Center 2035" Plans Urban Center in West Valley Suburbia

The original plan for Warner Center envisioned the West Valley area as a satellite city connected to other LA urban areas by mass transit.  When the mass transit component didn't materialize in the 1960s and 1970s, those plans were scaled back and the neighborhood became an office park in the middle of the Valley's suburban sprawl.

Now after the phenomenal success of the Metro Orange line, planners are taking another look and planning a major wave of building to reinvent Warner Center.  With delineated neighborhoods planned for retail, office space, entertainment and residential development, it looks like the next 20 years will see the area finally realize its original aim of a city within the city.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Los Angeles Times

Link to article:

Excerpt: "Even supporters of Warner Center concede that it needs a distinct identity to succeed.

'The Valley can't try to be something it's not. It has to keep its own personality," said David Allison, chairman of the nonprofit Warner Center Assn. "The groundwork has been laid to create a city center; it's feasible. Now, the question is the market and if there will be demand.'

One of the forces driving development is the Orange Line, Metro's busway that runs from North Hollywood to Chatsworth, with a stop in Warner Center. The Orange Line has been a success, exceeding ridership projections and prompting talks of converting it to light rail.

Over the last several years, Warner Center has seen a boom in residential development, and more is on the way. The Warner Center 2035 plan, the city's master plan, would boost the number of residential units from about 8,500 to more than 26,000, said Tom Glick, a city planner.

'It's a suburban area that's evolving,' said Dennis DiBiase, a member of the Woodland Hills-Warner Center Neighborhood Council who has lived there for more than two decades. 'It's becoming more urbanized and more dense. This is something unique for the area.'

Among the projects planned is a $3-billion high-rise 'urban neighborhood' at the 47-acre former Rocketdyne engine manufacturing plant on Canoga Avenue, across the street from the busway.

The mixed-use project would have up to 3.95 million square feet of residential space and 1.1 million square feet of office space. Preliminary plans also call for an assisted-living facility, restaurants, a hotel and a 5-acre central park.

This spring, construction crews broke ground on a $350-million open-air mall that will occupy 30 acres between Victory Boulevard and Erwin Street. The Village at Westfield Topanga will house a Costco and an array of restaurants and outdoor courtyards.

Other plans include a 621-unit mixed-use apartment complex on the former Catalina Yachts building site on Victory Boulevard, as well as 379 apartment units on the site of the old Daily News headquarters at Oxnard Street and Canoga Avenue.

A 395-unit apartment project at De Soto Avenue and Erwin Street is expected to open this year.

The Warner Center 2035 plan is designed to unify all these projects.

It divides the area into eight districts with names such as Downtown, Uptown and Commerce, each with its own development guidelines. The plan calls for the long city blocks to be broken up with new pedestrian pathways, new streets and more crosswalks. Developers will pay fees to fund many of the changes.

In some ways, it's a return to Warner's Center original vision."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Starbucks Releases #TheRealPSL Early This Year

Taking advantage of the autumn-like August weather in the Eastern half of the US, Starbucks has pushed forward the release date of its seasonal sensation Pumpkin Spice Latte from the usual October to September 2.  But diehard fans sho just can't wit another week have a chance to get their pumpkin spice fix even earlier, on August 26th, if they follow the secret scavenger hunt clues Starbucks is posting on Twitter via the drink's own Twitter account @TheRealPSL.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
CNBC

Link to article:
Starbucks Offers Pumpkin Spice Latte Early, but There's A Twist

Excerpt: "Starbucks plans to bring back its cult favorite item, the Pumpkin Spice Latte, earlier this year for some customers. Beginning on August 26, some customers will be able to get their first fix of the year, Starbucks spokeswoman Megan Adams said in a phone interview. Although the drink doesn't officially launch nationwide until Sept. 2, customers who participate in an online scavenger hunt connected with the Twitter handle @TheRealPSL will be able to buy them early.

Last year, the early access was based on customer loyalty through the brand's rewards program. In previous years, certain cities have gotten early access after their residents placed the most votes to secure the drinks ahead of the official launch. This year marks the latte's 11th year as a seasonal item.

Despite the limited-time offering's long tenure, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said on an earnings call last year that the PSL still ranks as its most popular seasonal beverage, adding that sales were as strong as ever."



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Use a Color Strategy to Evoke Emotion in Consumers

Red is a fiery, energetic color, and green and brown bring earthy images to mind.  The associations we have with color seem pretty basic and obvious, but seeing how they relate to actual company logos and their underlying identity imaging is a great lesson in establishing your own company's brand. Color and shape are an important component of how your company's logo creates the first impression that you want to embed in your readers' minds.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Content Standard

Link to article:

Excerpt: " Color and other visual elements wield enormous influence over consumers across all industries, according to a recent infographic from KISSmetrics. The compilation of research shows that emotional marketing campaigns need to be built with a deep understanding of how color choices will be interpreted by a target audience.

Much of that interpretation is subconscious. According to a separate infographic from FinancesOnline, the color psychology that drives reactions is easily understood among consumers. The trick, however, is using this psychology to optimize your brand.

Green, for example, is subconsciously associated with the 'harmony of nature,' and inspires feelings of tranquility, trust, peacefulness, and hope, according to FinancesOnline’s infographic.

By contrast, red evokes the 'intensity of blood and fire,' and it can prompt passionate reactions and aggressiveness alike.

The power of visual elements in connecting with consumers speaks to the potential packed into a simple logo. The infographic emphasizes that the simplest solution can often be the best. Some of the best logos in the world, it contends, are so recognizable and powerful that they need no accompanying words—take Target and Nike, for example, both of which the infographic references.

The stakes for developing an effective brand, including a logo, are huge for businesses. One of the studies addressed by the KISSmetrics infographic found that 93 percent of consumers are motivated by image over other senses, including sound, smell, and texture, when shopping in a store. A whopping 85 percent said that color can be a deciding factor when they make a product purchase.

Despite how simple a logo-branding solution can be, this development rarely comes on the cheap. Businesses should remember that the logo is the end product of intensive market and audience research. A logo and other branding elements tie together a brand’s goals and vision, its unique selling points for consumers, and the ways consumers are most likely to develop a meaningful connection with that brand."


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Indulge Your Curiosity By Identifying Every Font You See Online

As computers and websites become more sophisticated, and visitors become more discriminating, the fonts used to build web pages are more varied and interesting.  If you ever want to know the name and weight of a font in a website, use one of these tools (especially when viewing a page with Chrome) and you can get an immediate reading of what typeface is making that strong impression.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Yahoo! Tech

Link to article:
Font Curious? Try these tools to Identify Fonts

Excerpt: "Evidently the Internet is full of people trying to identify their type.

I don’t mean members of dating sites — I mean people who are curious about the name of any given typeface they’ve encountered, online or off. Luckily for such folks, the Internet is a font of typography-identifying information and tools. Ha ha.

Ahem. Anyway. Here’s the latest handy example we’ve heard of, via The Atlantic: The Chrome extension Fontface Ninja (also available as a Safari extension and a bookmarklet).

Install it in Chrome, click the icon, and you can mouse over any text and learn all the typographic details. (You can also, as I’ve done here, click a 'mask' option that removes images from the page so you can just really, like, think about the fonts.)

Another Chrome extension, What Font, also offers mouse-over type-identification. But what if you are curious about a font in a picture, or (if you can imagine) the physical world?

Well, post an image of it over at the popular reddit thread Identify This Font. A surprisingly active and knowledgeable bunch of readers there may just be able to answer your type question. You can also submit images of fonts you’d liked ID’d to What The Font, which has its own (more visually appealing) online forum.

Finally, if you’d prefer to conduct more rigorous, personal research into any given font, start at Findafont.com, which offers a variety of links to typography-related resources and a handy flowchart to guide your inquiry."

Monday, August 18, 2014

What Will Malls Be 25 Years from Now?

You enter a retail store where only a sample of each item is displayed, where you scan a code and choose your size and color choice, then find your item waiting in the dressing room.  Try it on and then scan a code to pay for the item and complete the sale without ever facing a checkout.  This is just one of the innovations expected to revolutionize shopping centers in the next 25 years. 

What about a mall where the selling space and tenants are constantly in flux, to keep you coming back to a new and exciting experience every time? Dan Hurwitz, CEO of open-air shopping center owner DDR, and other consultants and commercial real estate experts weigh in on what will change, what will last, and what will not survive as shopping becomes a whole new experience in the next couple of decades.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
CNBC

Link to article:
The Mall of the Future:  It's Nothing Like Today!

Excerpt: "Forget the fluorescent-lit indoor mall that's been synonymous with shopping for years. The future of retail will look starkly different 25 years out.

Full-body scanners that take your measurements, and recommend the clothes that best fit your body. Seamless checkouts that can be done from inside the dressing room or on your mobile phone, eliminating the need to wait in line.

Innovations like these are already threatening to become mainstream. And, as consumers shift a larger chunk of their spending toward the Web—where they're offered a seemingly endless pipeline of products—experts say bricks-and-mortar locations need to undergo a complete makeover to stay relevant in future decades.

That means a different tenant mix, smaller selling floors, and technologies and experiences that give shoppers a reason to leave their couches and hit the aisles.

'Retail has to evolve on a regular basis or it faces extinction. It's just the way it is,' said Dan Hurwitz, CEO of open-air shopping center owner DDR. 'While the challenges may be different, the need to evolve … is just as important today as it's ever been, if not more so.'

The significant shift that lies ahead for the industry is already underway. As ubiquitous mall tenants from Sears to RadioShack shutter stores and consumers shop more online, experts agree there will likely be fewer malls by 2039.

The size of individual stores is also a question mark, though experts say selling space will mostly shrink. That's because improved shipping capabilities will lessen the need to keep multiple versions of the same item stocked on the floor.

One company at the forefront of this thinking is Seattle-based Hointer, which licenses its technology to retailers and operates its own apparel store. Its eponymous store keeps only one version of each item on the selling floor, and shoppers use a smartphone app to scan the tags attached to the pieces they want to try on. The items are then dispensed into a dressing room."