New York Welcomes Miranda!

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The New York office officially welcomes our new superstar designer Miranda Hebert. We successfully snagged her from the London office, where she had been working for over a year.

Miranda enjoys sketching people’s feet on the subway and collecting rocks. Don’t bother letting her borrow your blue ballpoint pen–she hates them and only writes in black. She also dislikes onions.

Check out our group pic at the trendy Tacombi in Nolita. Tacos and margaritas for all!

TheGroup

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FIFA DGAF*

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As the days are getting hotter, two big American brands seem more and more keen on doing the right thing. This Sunday the New York Times penned a lengthy piece on Apple’s CEO, his beliefs and how the company is moving into the realm of what’s “just and right”—not solely profitable. Starbucks also announced a program to put their employees through college. It’s nice to hear about brands with some semblance of a heart, soul and conscience.

So do you think FIFA will take a hint?

With the World Cup having kicked off this week in Brazil, we are once again reminded of the unethical practices of the organization (and the governments that support the games). FIFA has been accused of a plethora of misdeeds from bribery to plain, unabashed corporate greed. (For an overview of the “comically grotesque organization” check out John Oliver’s, aka the British Colbert, 13-minute condemnation of FIFA.)

Apparently corruption doesn’t come cheap. The overall price tag of this year’s World Cup is $11 billion with $3.6 billion of Brazilian taxpayer money going to the construction of stadiums and security. While one would hope the revenue generated from the tournament would go back into the pockets of the population at large, FIFA ends up taking most of the revenue from the World Cup with them. Worse, the organization is exempt from taxes (projected to total more than $250 million). As a non-negotiable with host countries, FIFA is free from “corporate tax, income tax, VAT, excise duties, local tax, and any other taxes, no matter what other tax laws might require.” FIFA has also pressured the Brazilian government to temporarily overlook its laws prohibiting alcohol consumption in its stadiums, as Budweiser is a big sponsor of the event. And more importantly, in Qatar they are dying like flies. Seems the government has either got a bully on its hands or a willing co-conspirator.

Activists demonstrate in front of riot police outside the Mane Garrincha National Stadium in Brasilia

Maybe some of these practices could be overlooked in a prosperous, egalitarian nation, like say Switzerland, but in a country as lopsided as Brazil (and South Africa), it definitely leaves a sour taste in one’s mouth, to say the least. In Brazil, 13 million are left underfed daily, illiteracy can reach 21% in some regions and it ranks 85 on the list of developing nations. But interestingly enough, FIFA seems blithely unapologetic about its role there. No initiatives, no giving back, simply no backsies. We also can’t forget about the blind support of the 3.2 billion, about 46% of the population, that tune in to watch the month-long tournament. It seems the world really does love soccer (i.e. football).

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FIFA’s World Cup is one of the most powerful brands in the world. Will it ever be compelled to engage in this thing called corporate social responsibility? Or is this religion** called soccer (i.e. football) above the rules and principles governing capitalist organizations?

* Fédération Internationale de Football Association Don’t Give a F*ck

**Yes, I’ll be watching.

 

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BrandZ Most Valuable Brands—Then and Now

Google vs Apple

With Google back on top of Millward Brown’s BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands, I became curious about the degree to which the list actually fluctuates. Is it business as usual for most? Let’s time travel back to 2006 for some context. Continue reading

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What’s going down at NYC x Design

NYC x Design, our [week-and-a-half long] design week, is in full swing. (New York just had to do it bigger and badder.) With so much going on, here’s what you need to know:

A perfectly odd coupling, food and culture journal The Gourmand collaborates with London-based furniture shop Vitsoe to transform the NY outpost into a locally sourced food stand. At yesterday’s opening event, fruit tarts, teas, and homemade sodas were served to the invitation-only crowd. Visitors also got to take home some fruit-theme recipe books illustrated by Bruce Usher, Jamie Brown, Gwendal Le Bec, Yann Le Bec and Jean Jullian. What a fruity good time.

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Time to break open your piggy bank. Kickstarter has partnered with the Museum of Modern Art Design store to launch a collection of crowd-funded products. While these innovative pieces of design are usually showcased in virtual reality, the MoMA store provides a new platform to properly display all the gadgets’ bells and whistles. Items include Projecteo, a pocket-size projector for Instagram photos; the Powerslayer phone-charging kit, which stops charging once a battery is full; and a LED lamp that creates a glowing 3-D optical illusion. The collection will be sold through June 16.

strathmoreWhat’s more iconic than a New York slice, a yellow taxicab and the Empire State Building combined? New Yorker’s inaugural 1925 cover with dandy Eustace Tilly, of course. “Century: 100 Years of Type in Design,” at the AIGA National Design Center in New York, celebrates ten decades of typography with a survey of archives from Monotype, AIGA, Pentagram, Condé Nast, the Type Archive and more. Some highlights include Stefan Sagmeister’s headless chicken poster for Jambalaya, the 1997 AIGA New Orleans conference; “Are you afraid of Strathmore? ad campaign from 1968; and an Alexander Liberman’s 1941 Vogue cover. Exhibit runs through June 18.

Save-the-date: The Home of the Future is an immersive, real-life version of the urban home of tomorrow. Brooklyn-based Bernheimer Architecture will be custom-building an apartment in an old gymnasium in Soho, and will be filling it with a range of life-simplifying and energy-saving innovations, from cutting edge kitchenware to virtual entertainment and everything in between. Workshops, demos, meet-ups, film screenings and free WiFi May 17 – 21.

 

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In Defense of Comic Sans: An Egalitarian Font

With the creation of Comic Neue, the Comic Sans debate has been revived.

I’m no designer (I just work with them), so this isn’t going to be some esoteric diatribe on the importance of good kerning. To me, typography is simple as good looks and expression. That being said, type is important. “It’s not what you say but how you say it.”

So when you say something in Comic Sans, you will most likely be met with contempt. Can we agree that of all of the typefaces across the globe, Comic Sans is the most reviled? Google “the most hated font,” and Comic Sans comes up again and again—even its Wikipedia page appears in the search results. You can register a Comic Sans offender on this site. Or join the movement to ban Comic Sans: “Put the sans in Comic Sans.” It’s the village idiot of typography.

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The power of a great story: fiction vs. reality

Campo de criptanaIn a place of La Mancha, the name of which I don’t want to recall…So goes the opening phrase of one of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time, Cervante’s Don Quixote. Continue reading

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Your identity should help you thrive, not just survive.

zebra-river-serengeti_65530_990x742Evolving your brands identity: a Darwinian approach. Continue reading

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In admiration of Collider

Unknown-2Designing their own destiny. Continue reading

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Why I ignore the early adopters of technology

Exploring the popularity of things retro and vintage.Flower_Power_by_AagaardDS

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Why you fall asleep during presentations…

theatre…and thoughts on how business presentations could benefit from understanding theatre. Continue reading

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