Monthly Archives

July 2015


Should this photo be black and white or color? Mineh Ishida

July 29, 2015 | by Mineh Ishida
Clearwater Beach Mineh Ishida

I’m torn… Should this photo be color or black and white?

I took this photo a while back with a Canon t3i.  It was a tough time in my life, and as I often do, I turned to photography to fill the void.  I didn’t have one of the newer cameras, so I was shooting with a Canon t3i.  Situations like this are challenging for the older sensor, but I think it did admirably!

I can’t seem to decide whether I like it better in black and white or in color though.  What do you think?

Clearwater beach by  Mineh Ishida  (color) | Camera: Canon t3i

Clearwater Beach by Mineh Ishida (color) | Camera: Canon t3i

Clearwater Beach by  Mineh Ishida  (black and white) | Camera: Canon t3i

Clearwater Beach by Mineh Ishida (black and white) | Camera: Canon t3i

Design Photography Thoughts

Design comes full circle – Mineh Ishida

July 28, 2015 | by Mineh Ishida
Fuji Cameras by Mineh Ishida

It’s funny how design goes in cycles.

I recently added a new camera to my gear. It’s a Fuji X-E1, a modern digital camera in an old fashioned style. I needed a high quality camera that was small enough to carry in my day bag. The fuji was released a few years ago, so I was able to get it at a good price, and the image quality is fantastic.

I love the old fashioned aesthetic.  It really hit home when I went to get the camera and grabbed my Fujica 35 Auto-M by accident. Putting them side by side I marveled at how design aesthetics and functionality tend to repeat in cycles.  This modern camera sporting some of digital photography’s newest technologies has taken design cues, both stylistically and functionally from cameras from the 60s.

Another exciting part about this camera is that due to the new technologies, this camera can accept retro lenses.  I can’t wait to get an adapter and put some M-42 or Minolta lenses on this.  Old and new are really clashing together in this camera, and I really like it.

Anyway, my point is, design tends to cycle… Thats why I think it’s so important for artists and designers to study historic styles and designers.  Looks like it’s time for me to do some research!


It’s too early to quit – Mineh Ishida

July 24, 2015 | by Mineh Ishida
Siesta Key Beach by Mineh Ishida

Last weekend I went to Siesta Key to take some photos.  I wasn’t really too excited as it was a dreary day. The sky was grey and and the air was thick with humidity as only a Florida summer can provide. I figured I would at least scout the beaches for a location for a future shoot, so my friend Lou and I wandered around Siesta Key beach and Turtle Park. As the sun began to set, we decided to pack it up and head out for the night.  As I watched the sun dip in the horizon I had a thought.

“Mineh, how many times have you headed home early just to miss a gorgeous sunset?  Lets stick this one out and see…”

I chose a location, plopped down the tripod and sat back to watch nature’s light show. The sunset turned out to be a really nice one, so I snapped a few shots.

Sunset on Siesta Key Beach

Sunset on Siesta Key Beach – photo by Mineh Ishida


As the sun dipped out of sight, the crowd on the beach began to disperse. This was when I began to get excited.

It’s well known fact amongst photographers that the best time to watch sunset is in fact after the sun has already set. This is when all the beautiful colors light up the sky and you can get some really beautiful photos. Sitting on the beach enjoying the sound of the waves and the warm gulf breeze, I thought about how this is a great lesson for life.

Crescent Moon on Siesta Key Beach by Mineh Ishida

Crescent Moon on Siesta Key Beach by Mineh Ishida

Often I want to give up too early.  Right when I think things are finished, its time to give a final push.. to give it a little more effort.  Wait just a little bit longer. I guess I hope to learn from this that I should be patient.  Wait things out and see before I decide it’s time to give up. I think taking life a little more slowly, I’ll appreciate it a lot more.

Also, Lou and I found some sea urchins on the beach… how cool is that?


Sea Urchin on Siesta Key Beach by Mineh Ishida

Sea Urchin on Siesta Key Beach by Mineh Ishida


Turning Away from the World

July 16, 2015 | by Mineh Ishida
Turning from the world - Mineh Ishida

I was in a coffee shop in downtown Cincinnati when I saw this young lady sitting alone across the room. Whether she deliberately chose to sit next to the globe or not, the scene struck me.  I was moved by  the depth of emotion and solitude she was expressing with her body language. I wanted to go over and ask if everything was ok, but at the same time, could tell that she chose that empty spot, facing away from the room on purpose.  I was left to contemplate the scene in my imagination.

I found myself thinking of how sometimes we get so hurt by the people we know and the circumstances around us that we choose to turn away from the world.  We turn away from those that we love and who love us, and sometimes, that we fail to see the bigger picture. I know in times of stress, I too turn inward and away from the very people who might be able to help me.

I don’t know her story.  Maybe she was perfectly fine and just looking down at her phone… But in that coffee shop, whether she knew it or not, she moved me.

I stole a slice of her time with my camera, then left her undisturbed.  I wish I had asked her if everything was ok…maybe in that moment, I was too turned inward, and it was really me who had turned away from the world…

Business Design

How Starbucks Uses Design to Build Their Audience

July 2, 2015 | by Mineh Ishida
Starbucks understands the value of design | Photo by Mineh Ishida

Living in Tampa, I don’t see a lot of companies who truly understand the value of design in attracting and keeping the right customers.  There are a handful of companies who do it well, but on a day to day journey through the businesses in this town, the majority of the branding and marketing are quite outdated, and don’t seem to have a targeting strategy.  I think this is why I’m always so excited when I walk into a Starbucks store.  Here is a company that understands the value of design. They wield design like a well trained fencer manages their sword.  It’s an extension of who they are, and they wield it with pinpoint accuracy in accomplishing their marketing goals..

Starbucks Targets Their Audience Through Design

The majority of Starbucks’ target audience consists of the young adult population.  These are both men and women who fall between the ages of 25 to 40. This demographic accounts for just shy of 50% of their total business.  In order to attract this audience, Starbucks uses trendy design that keeps their customers feeling like the brand is current and a part of the “lifestyle” that these consumers want to live.

If you look at online design trends for this population, you’ll find many common themes reflected in the branding at Starbucks stores.  At the time of this article’s writing, Modern retro designs, polygon based designs, minimalist flat designs and informational icons are all still very prominent in the consciousness of this age group, and in the designs of many trending products.  Starbucks has integrated all of these trends into their branding.  Just look at these photos:

Modern retro design at a Starbucks store | Photo by Mineh Ishida

Modern retro design at a Starbucks store | Photo by Mineh Ishida

Polygon background with modern retro badge design at a Starbucks store | Photo by Mineh Ishida

Polygon background with modern retro badge design at a Starbucks store | Photo by Mineh Ishida

Minimal flat design featuring informational icons at a Starbucks store | Photo by Mineh Ishida

Minimal flat design featuring informational icons at a Starbucks store | Photo by Mineh Ishida

Design Creates an Experience in Starbucks Stores

If you haven’t yet read the interview that Dieline did with the Starbucks creative team, I highly recommend it.  It provides a lot of insight into the design strategy and process of the brand. I particularly liked the following statement:

“The brand is almost like a friend—a unique, well-traveled, cultured friend you know well but who always manages to surprise you” – Jean Marie Shields

It’s so amazing how the little things change the feeling of the room.  From the fonts on the wall, to the color palette of the products, every thing in the store has a feeling like it belongs there.  Don’t confuse this to mean that everything is in the same style.  There are is a diversity in style among the different brand assets, but overall, they tie together well.  It reminds me of a curated gallery. There may be different artists represented in a gallery, but a well curated exhibit will have a central theme that ties it all together.  This is the feeling I get when I walk into a store.  The combination of all of the design elements create a dynamic and exciting environment that has a pronounced effect on my experience with the store.

Change Makes it Fresh, Consistency Keeps it Comfortable

One thing that I found that Starbucks has done really well is that every few weeks, the designs in the store have changed. Either there are new featured products, or the branding and signs have changed. This keeps the store feeling very trendy and cutting edge.  We’re trained by advertisers and the high volume of information that we receive to tune out things that become familiar. Starbucks changes it up periodically and regularly, so that their messaging and brand feels current, and does not get stale. I think this is very important to any brand that is trying to maintain repeat business, especially with younger customers.

What they do not do however is change the feel of the store. The designs all have a consistency, like I mentioned above. You know you’re in a Starbucks store. The branding is versatile but recognizable. This is critical, as part of Starbucks’ success comes from the fact that people feel like their branch store is their “home.” It must remain comfortable and inviting so that the brand can build and retain a community of customers.  This comfort comes from familiarity, so new designs must “feel” the same, while gently evolving with the new marketing messages.

Your Business Can Learn from Their Example

Businesses today have to stand out, and it’s an ongoing challenge with all the competition out there.  Starbucks has managed a viral growth through savvy business and marketing.  I feel like design has also been a very integral part of this success.  If businesses want to market to their target audience and build a following of repeat business, they could learn a thing or two from the example provided by Starbucks.  Design can be a powerful force in attracting and retaining the right customers.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need another Green Tea Frappuccino.

Photography Thoughts

Do More of What Makes You Happy

July 2, 2015 | by Mineh Ishida
Do more of what makes you happy

So, I was with my good friend Lou grabbing a bite to eat at a local greek restaurant called Taziki’s.  Outside, someone had taken the time to write this message and plant it by the door.  It came at a particularly good time in my life, as I’m in a place where I could use some thoughtful advice like this.

As we walked up to the sign I said to myself “Mineh Ishida, you have got to pay attention to this… Someone planted this sign just for you!”

Often, I get caught up in the projects, the work, the business, the million errands to run, and forget that to be the best me I can be, I need to find a balance between work and life.

I’m going to structure some time in daily to do at least one thing that brings me joy.  I need to spend more time reading and exploring the natural areas of Florida.  I also need to travel more for pleasure rather than work or obligation. I want to spend time working on my photography and revamping my site at Mineh Ishida Photography, and change the focus of my photography to a more personal work, rather than commercial. I’d also like more time to write my thoughts in this blog. To do all of these things, I’m going to need to put forth a conscious effort to set aside that time and keep my commitment to find this balance.

A big thank you to the person who decided to share such inspiring words! Whether they were just for me or not, they’ve definitely made an impact.