We're taking some much needed time off from our coverage of brand identity, packaging, culture and design to celebrate the season with our loved ones. We want to sincerely thank you for your readership, your comments and your participation.

Here are our top posts from 2009:
Cowboys Stadium designed for more than just football
PS3 Media Center
Destinations: Bauhaus anniversary show in Berlin

We'll be back in January with more coverage.

We wish you Happy Holidays!
New York city is asking for your help. The city is currently accepting designs for their NYC brand condom wrappers. The New York Times reports that, the design competition — the deadline is Jan. 22 — is just the latest incarnation in the city’s long history of making the prophylactic widely available. For more information on entering the competition, please visit the links below.

NYC Health: Submit Your Design

New York Times: Design a Condom Wrapper, City Asks

What do you think of the competition? Do you think it will aid awareness? Will it help solidify the NYC brand?

Let us know your thoughts.
PCMag.com reports that Plurk.com, a microblogging service, claimed that an overseas division of Microsoft has essentially stolen its design. In response, Microosft has turned off the service, which it calls Juku.

Plurk filed a lengthy blog post detailing the alleged theft, which included code snippets and screenshots to prove the similarity of the two designs.

PCMag also reports that Microsoft stole proprietary code from their design. What do you think? Was Microsoft so intent on competing and demolishing Twitter that cut corners?
Branding celebrity with integrity’ is my chosen presentation topic for next year's FUSE conference. And whilst I don’t want to discuss all the finer points here, I did want to get the discussion going...And, let’s face it, it’s certainly topical at the moment now that the Tiger has lost his roar after his indiscretion was exposed. Love them or hate them, they are everywhere – celebrities, that is. But, there is a very real difference between choosing a celebrity to endorse your brand and branding a celebrity. And, put very simply, it comes down to buying into a face or a soul.

What does P Diddy really know about fragrance? - other than wanting to look and smell good as part of his successful R&B image, that is? But, as we speak, he is hawking his 'I Am King' fragrance across the media networks and, of course, this fragrance – as those before – is likely to be a huge (if probably) transient hit...Jamie Oliver also diversified from being the world famous chef extraordinaire to being the face of the Sainsbury’s TV Ad campaign and many questioned why he was doing this. But, Jamie was actually staying true to himself and the core truth of his brand which is his expertise in – and love of – food by linking with one of the UK’s oldest and leading supermarkets.

With the creation of homeware brand Jme, Jamie did indeed step away from the core offer of his brand but he did also retain his values and identity. It comes down to being real and authentic - creating a celebrity brand with true meaning - and not trying to be something you’re not or just bolting-on desirability in the form of the latest celebrity face. Of course, as we have seen with Mr Woods, humans are fallible. But, this is less likely to be a problem if you are creating a living breathing brand that is the embodiment of a living breathing person and not dictating a one-dimensional fixed aesthetic....And, there’s the crux – it is indeed about identity and how things look. But, it’s about ensuring long-term success of a celebrity brand through an intelligent design strategy that mirrors everything the brand does, says and delivers at its very heart and soul.

Jonathan Ford, Creative Partner Pearlfisher, will be presenting at the IIR’s annual FUSE event – FUSE: Reclaim The Future - on 15 April 2010, Chicago http://www.iirusa.com/fuse/home.xml
To find out more about Jamie Oliver and Jme, check out http://www.jamieoliver.com/


This post on the designblog highlights a new bike designed by Daniel Finkelstein that changes and shifts its position according to the needs of the rider, thus making it more convenient. Riders in the city might take advantage of the higher position which would allow them more visibility and reduces the size of the wheelbase for easier movement. The lower position though would allow the benefit of a convential recumbent bike. Definitely an innovative bicycle.

Phyllis Aragaki is the director of Target’s newly formed in-house design group, Target Creative Studio. It is her mission to create an environment that allows the team to dream and do the remarkable, every day. As the studio director, she leads a team of 150 designers, writers and production artists to deliver Target’s “expect more, pay less” promise and create meaningful brand experiences for its stores’ guests. Prior to her current role, Aragaki led marketing and advertising campaigns for a variety of business categories such as electronics, entertainment, health and value. She has also contributed to the development and evolution of Target’s owned brands and has served as a team lead for the organizational initiative that conceived the new in-house studio. Before joining Target, she was a founding member and executive creative director at Desgrippes Gobé, a New York–based brand design firm. Aragaki holds a BS from the Institute of Design at IIT and an MFA from Yale University.

Biography courtesy of AIGA

Phyllis will be presenting, "Innovating In-House Sparking Greatness Within Target's In-House Creative Teams" on Friday, April 16 at 2:20Pm
In a recent blog post at Yanko Design, they designed a coffee cup tote that allows one to carry two coffee cups at once, and after one is done carrying the coffee, the tote also doubles as the sleeve. What do you think about this design? What would you do different?

Date/Time: Wed, Dec 9, 2009 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EST

Do consumers know the difference between national brands and store brands? Do they care? How do they describe private label compared to national brands? Does this differ across categories? How about across markets?

Private label and store brands are having an impact on many consumer purchases today, both in the US and Europe. And within these markets the definition of private label compared to national brands varies according to category and retailer.

When is a brand important? What makes a national brand different? Do consumers feel the same way about brands today as they did a year ago? Why or why not?

Showcasing BuzzBack’s unique portfolio of award-winning online research techniques, this webinar will highlight new consumer research conducted in the US and UK about purchasing behavior and attitudes associated with private label versus national consumer brands. The study will present ways to identify consumer behavior and attitudes about shopping via an online survey.

As you listen in, you will learn:
• What drives consumer purchases of private label brands and why
• Consumer perceptions and attitudes about private label compared to national brands
• Types of people who purchase private label compared to national brands

Featured Speaker
Brendan Light, SVP, Research and Development, BuzzBack Market Research

Register: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/781266785
Mention priority code MWS0020BLOG

Early bird pricing for FUSE 2010 ends TODAY!

The 2010 theme says it all, "Reclaim the Future". Visionary minds will lead us into the new "normal" of business. With a renewed spirit and growing confidence let's get back to business and focus on growth. Year after year people return to FUSE to refuel, for inspiration, information and community that makes FUSE a calendar event and a true "must attend". For 2010 we've brought FUSE back to where it all began - Chicago. So, join the conversation and register today.

Event: http://bit.ly/EBFUSE2010
Brochure: http://bit.ly/FUSE2010_Brochure
Register: http://bit.ly/Reg_FUSE2010

For over 14 years, the FUSE conference has been the destination of choice for championing change and challenging conventionalism. Consistently delivering a unique combination of visionary thinkers, top brand strategists and passionate creatives, the participants at FUSE experience provocative dialogue and leave with a renewed sense of what really matters. True exchanges happen. Ideas come to life. Real life stories are unveiled. The result? New ways of design thinking are defined. What's next? Collaborate with the best and explore the impact of design and brand strategy on the health of the category and the overall business now, and in the future ahead. Don't get left behind. Think Next.

Simon Pitman of CosmeticsDesign.com anticipates a boom in earth-friendly and innovative design for package design in 2010. Pitman notes that, "luxury and prestige products, packaged using more expensive materials and often dressed up with a variety elaborate finishes, are being passed over." Also, "that sleek, yet modest and subtle designs of private label and lower-end products are catching the consumer’s eye like never before."

As a package design professional, how are you reworking your designs for 2010? What is most important to you and to your clients?

Striking design and eco-friendly materials will drive packaging in 2010

Join us in April 2010 for FUSE!

http://bit.ly/8NU3g2Event Site: http://bit.ly/8NU3g2

The FUSE community unites brand strategists, designers, creative directors and trend forecasters assembling to explore the meaning of brands in a new world and the role of design and trends in keeping those brands relevant for consumers.
The single largest problem that continues to hinder interactive design from really coming into it’s own is the fact that designers allow their work to be led more by technology or production techniques and not creative thinking that creates a user experience or concept that will resonate with the consumer.

As a creative director I have had tons of interactive portfolios come across my screen over the years and I see the same problem over and over again. Designers who think that technology is an idea. Unfortunately most of this work has been produced in Adobe Flash and that technology has taken a huge amount of criticism over the years. I personally believe that pointing to Flash as the reason for ineffective user experiences and online advertising makes about as much sense as blaming paper for creating junk mail or the telephone for creating the solicitors who call during dinner. The fault should fall to the designers who have not taken the time to use a creative strategy as the basis of their work.

A good on-line creative strategy should define the values and brand attributes that need to be communicated to the consumer in a distinctive and compelling way that takes advantage of the medium. I use answers to the following list of questions as a starting point when I meet with a new client or start on a new project.

What are we advertising and why?
When you meet with your client about a new project, get a thorough understanding of the focus of the communications efforts such as: the brand, a specific product or service, a promotion or new news. Make sure you understand their reasons for wanting to be on-line. Often the rationale clients provide are expressed as marketing objectives not as communications objectives. Communications change the way people think and influence their behaviors. That is the difference between a marketing objective and a communications objective. What is it they are trying to achieve? Increase market share? Drive awareness? Increases frequency or penetration? Increase sales? Focus on uncovering the single most important obstacle the communications must overcome.

What is the brands communication past?
Get a clear understanding of where the brand has come from and where it is now is critical to determining where the brand needs to go. Look at the brands past advertising to gain a solid understanding of the it’s positioning, personality and focus. Research if the target of the brand’s activities have shifted and why. What are the reasons for this change?

Read the rest of this article here.

This post on the Design Blog highlights the latest Lenovo Thinkpad Notebooks which have been installed in buses and trains across Germany as seating as well as a conventional laptop. The laptop has a shockproof and waterproof keypad, but we're still not sure how comfortable these "laptop" seats really are...When do you expect something like this to roll out in the US?
eWeek.com reports that a fully integrated, entirely Google-branded phone geared to challenge Apple's phenomenally successful iPhone is rumored to hit the market in 2010.

Despite numerous protests that a phone created and sold by Google with the help of a third-party manufacturer would upset wireless carriers, Times Online reported Nov. 22 that Google in 2010 will launch an advanced smartphone with a larger-than-usual touch screen and a speedy Qualcomm processor that trumps the one powering the iPhone 3GS.

Moreover, the gadget will likely run the as-yet-unseen "Flan" version of Google's Android operating system and support Google Voice, the phone management service Google offers free that lets users ring their home, work and mobile numbers through a special Google number.

Google Branded Phone Rumored in 2010

Analyst Says Google Phone with Google Voice Is Coming in 2010


Everyone hates having to wedge themselves into a cramped dressing room flooded with never flattering fluorescent lighting but you now have another option. Zugara’s has created an augmented reality dressing room app called Fashionista and is being used by online clothing retailers like tobi.com. You turn on your web cam and then move an AR marker forward and back in front of you to scale the clothes to fit your body. Once that is done you can use positional gestures to see other clothing options, approve or disapprove of your choices or take a photo of your favorite outfits. Your approved choices are moved into your basket and the photo can be uploaded to Facebook to get your friends opinions of your selections.

In the past we have seen augmented reality used in mildly useful ways like the United States Post Office box sizer where you can determine what box you need to ship you gift but this starts to take it to another level. You can clearly see the potential of what this could mean to online shopping as it takes the content off the flat page and makes it interactive and more importantly – makes it personally relevant. I find the opportunities for this type of augmented reality execution really exciting unlike previous executions that were more gimmick than concept.

Lance Briggs, the Chicago Bears linebacker, is a big comic book fan. So much so that the athlete would like to create his own comicbook super-hero. The Chicago Tribune reports that Briggs is actively seeking ideas for his comic book. For the past month or so, he has been using his online comic book site, Lance's Comic World, to solicit suggestions -- please, take a shot and design his most beloved creation, a superhero named Riot.


Contest notices are posted at Chicago comic book shops. Entries can be submitted through Lance's Comic World (lancescomicworld.com). The deadline is Dec. 15. The winning entry will receive a prominent spot on Lance's Comic World.

Here's your chance to design comic-book superhero

The final entry date to The Dieline Awards is coming up in less than 30 days! Take a moment to enter your work into the awards today, the process is simple, and will take only a few minutes of your time. Get your entries in before the holidays.

About The Dieline Awards:

• The Dieline Awards is a worldwide design competition recognizing best in package design, and will be awarded in partnership with the FUSE Conference 2010.

• The official awards ceremony will be held at the FUSE Conference on April 14th, 2010, at Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago.

• 30 winners across 10 different categories will be awarded a prestegious Dieline Award at the FUSE Conference, and one Best of Show winner will be chosen as the grand winner.

• The awards will be judged by a highly esteemed panel of 10 industry experts, and awarded based on quality of design. Debbie Millman, President of the AIGA and President of Design at Sterling Brands, will be the chairman of the judges.

• The top 11 winners will recieve a prize package worth over $4500.

• A product showcase of all Dieline Award winning packaging designs will be opened at the show shortly after the winners are announced, and all winners will be featured in detail on The Dieline.

Enter Today.

Date/Time: Wed, Dec 9, 2009 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EST

Do consumers know the difference between national brands and store brands? Do they care? How do they describe private label compared to national brands? Does this differ across categories? How about across markets?

Private label and store brands are having an impact on many consumer purchases today, both in the US and Europe. And within these markets the definition of private label compared to national brands varies according to category and retailer.

When is a brand important? What makes a national brand different? Do consumers feel the same way about brands today as they did a year ago? Why or why not?

Showcasing BuzzBack’s unique portfolio of award-winning online research techniques, this webinar will highlight new consumer research conducted in the US and UK about purchasing behavior and attitudes associated with private label versus national consumer brands. The study will present ways to identify consumer behavior and attitudes about shopping via an online survey.

As you listen in, you will learn:
• What drives consumer purchases of private label brands and why
• Consumer perceptions and attitudes about private label compared to national brands
• Types of people who purchase private label compared to national brands

Featured Speaker
Brendan Light, SVP, Research and Development, BuzzBack Market Research

Register: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/781266785
Mention priority code MWS0020BLOG

Dexinger.com reports that ABSOLUT Vancouver, a new, limited-edition bottle designed to embody Vancouver and support the local arts community.

Up to $120,000 from the bottle's proceeds will go towards a new Vancouver arts project.

As part of its tribute to Vancouver arts, ABSOLUT commissioned local illustrator and graphic artist Douglas Fraser to design the limited-edition bottle to reflect the uniqueness of the city.

For more information on the positive product design of ABSOLUT, please click here.

Absolut Vancouver Limited-edition Bottle to Support Local Arts Project

How green is your packaging? With the increasing concern over the need for sustainable and recyclable materials, many package designers are thinking green when launching a new product. Dave Douglas of GreenBiz.com, offers two points that package designers must consider when going green.

First, packaging is often almost pure waste. As engineers, we need to stop asking ourselves how to make packaging more efficient and start asking how to get away with less of it. The good side of this is that, just as we have seen in other areas, there is the potential for some significant savings if we can figure out how to package products more effectively and efficiently.

Second, the "product" and the "packaging" have their own separate lifecycles and supply chains, and engineers who are designing for optimal environmental effectiveness need to consider both of them. Why? Regulations covering design and take-back of packaging materials are mushrooming throughout Europe, Asia, and North America, and compliance with these environmental packaging laws requires creative engineering.

What do you make of Douglas' points? Are there any other means for green design that should be mentioned? We'd like to hear your thoughts.

Thinking Outside the Box on Packaging Design
Here's another design for an eco-friendly car, this one is by Spanish designer Edu Povarchik on this post on the design blog. The "citrus" is powered through hybrid motors that run on fuel cells and lithium ion batteries. The exterior is finished with polyurethane, recylced plastics, ecological leather, and aluminum. Parts of the car can also be removed and used as a multimedia center. For example, the seats inside can be re-arranged to create a trolley that holds and carries important business documents. There is also room to carry one bicycle inside and two outside. What do you think of the design?
According to Earth Times, today Coca Cola revealed that they're introducing new package design for it's juice boxes across brands and throughout the world. They're looking to create consistency while also cutting costs.

Guy Wollaert, General Manager, Global Juice Center, The Coca-Cola Company, stated,
“The scale and magnitude of this worldwide rebranding effort is significant for our juice business. “Our new, uniform packaging design system unites key brands in our juice portfolio, including Minute Maid, Del Valle, Andina and Cappy, under a single, iconic brand identity.”

Read the full article here.

How much does appropriate use of typeface matter to you? Are you one of the few that can spot a font disaster in a glance? Do you find yourself mulling over the ubiquitous misuse of Helvetica? Thankfully, you're not alone. In Sunday's New York Times, writer Alice Rawsthorn discusses the problems that font lovers face as they encounter everything from in-store marketing at the Gap to AMC's Mad Men. She writes,it’s always a pleasure to discover a formally gorgeous, subtly expressive typeface while walking along a street or leafing through a magazine. (Among my current favorites are the very elegant letters in the new identity of the Paris fashion house, Céline, and the jolly jumble of multi-colored fonts on the back of the Rossi Ice Cream vans purring around London.) But that joy is swiftly obliterated by the sight of a typographic howler. It’s like having a heightened sense of smell. You spend much more of your time wincing at noxious stinks, than reveling in delightful aromas.

So what about you? Are you burdened by bad design or can you simply let it slide and focus on making your work extraordinary?

Mistakes in Typography Grate the Purists
Business Week recently posted images of its annual Architectural Record award winners for 2009. There are some beautiful architectural designs from all over the world, take a couple of minutes to view these magnificent works of art.

Best Buildings of 2009

I’m the senior web designer & developer at IIR, a worldwide conference producer, and I thought I'd give guest blogging a shot. From time to time I will appear on NBD and share some of the design and development experiences of our in-house design department.

Visit the WebsiteNot so long ago on a computer very nearby, I launched a website for the 4th year of the Front End of Innovation Europe (FEI Europe) conference. It is a conference that focuses on the front end or discovery portion of innovation. It’s a sizable event so there was a lot of info to organize and communicate clearly. Even though it is heavy on the production side, it was a great event to work on this year because I had more creative involvement than I normally do. A quick rundown on our process at IIR: the Marketing Managers (MM) and Conference Producers (CP) go either to the in-house print department or an outside designer for the logo and color foundation and then the piece comes to the web department to make it, as my Creative Director likes to say, web-tastic.

This particular job was outsourced for branding and then brought in-house for production. There usually isn’t a vast difference between the web and print pieces design or content wise. This website, though, was going to have extra stuff! That wasn’t in the brochure! The event is based around these 7 critical factors needed for innovation to occur and the CP decided she wanted each factor to have its own page with a large photo to illustrate the accompanying text. The images were not already chosen by the outside team either; I got to choose them. This may not sound like WOW! but as I said our websites are usually created straight from the brochure. What really made it ‘wow’, though, was that I had time to work on the project. The team had come in almost two months in advance so there would be no hot, impatient breath on my neck wondering what was taking so long.

I started with the 3 factors that the CP had finished writing. In my initial search of Shutterstock, I was coming across a lot of images in cool gray and white tones that had a nice modern feel.

partnerships thumb commodity thumb

I thought that might be a good way to pull all the factors together, using a consistent color scheme. The CP chose the alternate color photo versions I provided which proved to be a good thing down the road. The factors Organic Growth and Customer Demands would have proved difficult to illustrate. Trees don’t feel very organic when in a generic white forms with cool gray shadows. And Customer Demands didn’t need any help in the difficult category. Most of the photos on Shutterstock were of customer service people with their headsets on looking really slick or surveys with checkmarks. The survey image would work but it just wasn’t interesting enough. I was so frustrated at one point that I made my own version!

customer demands outtake

I reread the copy several times and decided to stop focusing on ‘customer demands’ since that was a dead end and instead focus on the word ‘strategy’ since this was part of the factor; the strategy of balancing what the customer wants with what the business needs. This proved much more fruitful and the final version using chess pieces came together.

All and all the project was successful. The CP had such a great reaction to the pages when she saw them: an open mouth smile from ear to ear. That kind of reaction always works for me.

CNet.com reports that Adobe's has introduced a Photoshop app for the Google Android. According to CNet.com, the version for Android shares the same, simple editing UI as the iPhone/iPod version, both of which let users make edits by sliding their fingers across the screen and undo any changes made. It also features some very basic photo editing tools like crop, rotate, and image flip, as well as controls for adjusting exposure and tweaking color tint and saturation. Android users even get one new tool that iPhone/iPod users don't even have yet, which lets them straighten a shot against a grid.

As a designer, will you be utilizing the Photoshop app on your smart phone?

Petz Scholtus of Treehugger.com recently covered the Bits 'n Pieces--launched Material Connexion in New York, a dialogue between the analog and the digital technologies within design in a post-digital era. A sophisticated machine transformed the movements of a few bugs into beautiful patterns and logos and printed them out as fast as the insects performed. Scholtus writes, A path and obstacles that have been put in the insects' way influence the their behaviour, and gives them their design brief so to speak. The machine translates the movement of the bugs into graphics, which are then printed out as posters; a beautiful result of a collaboration between the designers and the insects and an engaging way to let nature do its thing.

What do you think? As designers, what inspiration do you get from nature and even from insects?

Lauren Hartman of Converting Magazine discusses a few fantastic package design launches set for this month. One particularly fascinating story comes from the Coca-Cola Company's relaunch of their Cappy juice. Hartman writes, Coca-Cola says it's counting on the packaging, introduced in June, to meet the rising consumer demand for new product offerings. The Elopak Slim® carton was selected following extensive consumer research that highlighted the new package as the best fit for Coca-Cola's premium, contemporary juice brand and met the consumer's desire for original beverage-packaging ideas. The tall, svelte carton design distinguishes the juices and nectars from the rest of the market. The stylish package is slimmer than a conventional gable-top carton, with harmonious curves and a large cap for easy pouring.

For more coverage on this design and other, please visit Hartman's article.

In Sunday's New York Times, writer Allison Arieff introduced us to Stella, a giraffe bath toy that looks old fashioned but contains some very modern elements. The product, which contains Renuva (a soy-based alternative to polyurethane) is a step forward in creating items that are more sustainable and healthful. Arieff writes, while Stella is one of a kind, designed for W.W.F.’s auction, it also functions as a compelling example for designers and manufacturers of Renuva’s potential uses. In this way, product design becomes a way to highlight a new material and bring it to market.

To learn more about Stella and Renuva, please visit Arieff's original article here.
The San Francisco Chronicle recently wrote about the new design improvements that the park is making. Each improvement is especially designed to fit in with natural surrounding, while keeping the focus on the scenery. For instance, there are new granite boulders that separate the parking lot and the park that simply look as if they're part of the scenery. They focus on what the buildings have to look like in order to fit in, focusing on their architecture and the building materials used. Read the full article here.

Users of Twitter have all seen it--the dreaded "fail whale" that signals that Twitter is over its capacity. The icon has become famous in its own right, so the BBC set out to meet with the designer of this pop culture icon, Yiying Lu. Click below to listen to the audio recording of their conversation.

If given the opportunity, how would you design an over capacity icon?



The Missoulian reports that Montana is redesigning its basic license plate design for the first time in five years, and is looking at a retro-inspired design that harkens back to the plates of the 1970s and earlier.

The plate will feature a simple, solid background of either blue or green - a committee is still deciding the color.

Gone are the mountain ridges along the bottom, and a sky featuring blue-green hues. Also gone from the old plate is the well-known "Big Sky Country" monicker, which was placed under an ornate and elaborately written "Montana" in an Old West style.

"MONTANA" will be spelled out in plain, white capital letters along the bottom. It will be followed by "10," to denote the 2010 year of issue. Montana plates used to come stamped with a year of issue through about the 1980s.

From a design perspective, it looks much better than the other license plates being updated throughout the country. What do you think? Do you like the "retro" feel?


Montana goes retro with new license plate design
We're live this week at The Market Research Event 2009 and we'd like to share with you one of the many great presentations at this year's event. To find out more about the conference and to follow us live from the event, please check our our blog and follow us on Twitter.

Proof Symposia: The Evolution of Packaging and Purchasing Environments

The Evolution of Packaging & Purchasing Environments

Craig M. Vogel, FIDSA, Associate Dean, DAAP,University of Cincinnati

This session covered the evolution of ideas and how they connect to what’s going on today.

Coca cola is one of the most powerful global brands. When does a brand become known? When enough people have a visceral understanding of the brand.

How do you understand how your brand is viewed externally?

There are five ways to look at your brand:
  • Differentiate
  • Collaborate
  • Innovate
  • Validate
  • Cultivate

A company needs to understand when a product is invisible to the consumers. The package delivers the message about the product, from first buy and throughout use. It’s starting to lose its ability to build on any more equity than it can handle.

When you change the images of your product, you can increase the value, stronger message, and then shift the strategy of the packaging.

In the 1990s-2000s, experienced economies are primary drive to buy people to buy more and more services. With failure of the economy, many products are sliding back to basic goods, and few are staying up at premium experiences. Many products people buy are from choices.

Companies can no longer sell one dimensional products. Many companies must create messages about personal values and global issues. Box stores are obsolete concepts because of current costs and overinvesting. Many people are moving back to cities. Companies are creating local stores, example – Wal-Mart. Many of these large needs and want centers are going ot go back to decentralized shopping. Smaller scale neighborhoods and investments. Starbucks will go into contextualized stores without name. Mega centers are too hard for people to get to.
Engadget.com reports today that Alex, the dual-screen e-book reader from Spring Design has been unveiled just one day before the much-anticipated e-reader from Barnes & Noble. It features a 6-inch E-ink EPD (electronic paper display) and 3.5-inch LCD running Google's Android OS for browsing the web or viewing video, audio, photos, and notes. It also packs a removeable SD card, speaker, headphone jack, and WiFi or 3G EVDO/CDMA and GSM radios. An interesting Duet Navigator feature even lets you toggle content captured on the LCD and present it back to the EPD to save on battery life. The device is planned for release sometime this year without any details on who might be involved in that exercise.

Vancouver, the world's home for the 2010 Olympics has unveiled its designs for the Olympic Medals. According to the press release these medals, "...each feature a different crop of larger contemporary Aboriginal artworks and are undulating rather than flat -- both firsts in Games history. The dramatic form of the Vancouver 2010 medals is inspired by the ocean waves, drifting snow and mountainous landscape found in the Games region and throughout Canada. The Olympic medals are circular in shape, while the Paralympic medals are a superellipse, or squared circle."

Critics say the the medals look like they have been melted, or left too long in the sun. Its a different design from "traditional" Olympic medal designs -- what do you think?
If you weren't able to make it to yesterday's live web seminar "Do Consumers Really Care About Corporate Social Responsibility? New BuzzBack Case Study with Nestlé" here's your chance to view the archive. Martin Oxley, Managing Director at BuzzBack Europe and Jeremy Pace, Consumer Science Specialist at Nestlé showcased new online research techniques that identified consumer driven issues and emotions of CSR.

Watch the hour-long archive. Enjoy!
At Epcot's new Innovation Pavilion at Disney World, a new ride opens today that allows children to use math and science to design and ride an amusement park ride that is designed by them. After attending a tutorial, a touch screen helps users choose ride cars and tracks through the use of mathematics and engineering to design their preferred ride. Read more about the new ride here.

The Daily Mail reports that Sir James Dyson, inventor of wildly popular vacuums, has created a new invention-- a fan without a fan. Reports The Daily Mail,

Launching the product yesterday, Sir James explained that he got the idea while developing his Air Blade hand dryers, which force air though a tiny slit to 'brush' water from wet hands.

'We noticed that the hand dryer was drawing in a lot of air from its surroundings,' he said.

'So we started to think about how we might be able to put this effect to use.

We thought about creating an air moving device with no propeller or fan blade. Three years of development plus another year of testing later and this is the result.'

If you weren't able to make it to yesterday's live web seminar "Make Money and Do Good: How to Profit from Your Most Sustainable Solutions in the Fastest Growing Regions of the World" here's your chance to view the archive. Bruce Thomas, SVP of Global Market Strategy and Emerging Markets at MWV Corporation shared first-hand experiences that will show you how to:

• Design sustainable products specifically for emerging markets
• Determine which products “play well” in other countries
• Talk to government leaders and get them to listen
• Address the burning needs of consumers around the world

Watch the hour-long archive. Enjoy!
According to Reuters, Dell has partnered with MLB and OPI, the nail polish distributor, to introduce new designs for personalized laptops. The Mini, Inspiron and Studio laptops will all be among the personalized design laptops.

What do you think about this? As the computer industry continues to produce similar internal capabilities, different was to attract customers is going to be important. By allowing users to choose what their computers look like, Dell may have an edge with younger generations.
The New York Times reports today that The White House now houses 45 works by artists with a wide spectrum of backgrounds which have been borrowed from several Washington museums to decorate their private White House residence and the West and East Wings. It is a big, wide selection of mostly modern and contemporary paintings and sculptures that also includes works by Mark Rothko, a lead relief titled “0 Through 9” by Jasper Johns, bronze sculptures by Degas and still-life canvases by Giorgio Morandi.

To view the works, check out the slide show here.

For more information about the decision process, please click here.

Date/Time: Thu, Oct 15, 2009 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EDT

Companies are investing in it, consumers demanding it, pundits applauding it …. but what does Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) really mean – to consumers as opposed to shareholders? Is it just a new buzzword? Does it encompass fair pay to women? Reducing the carbon footprint? Focus on local communities? Donating to charities? Do consumers really care or is it just hype?

With its client, Nestlé, BuzzBack will highlight original fieldwork conducted in the US, UK and Germany about CSR, showcasing new online research techniques that identify consumer driven issues and emotions of CSR.

Attendees of this webinar will discover:

• The importance of CSR to consumers
• New research techniques that showcase emotional aspects of CSR
• How one of today’s top global food companies is dealing with issues of CSR


Featured Speakers:
Jeremy Pace, Consumer Science Specialist, Nestlé
Martin Oxley, Managing Director BuzzBack Europe

Register below, mention priority code MWS0019BLOG
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/158230049

As a web designer, you've worked very hard on your craft and you've created a set pricing list and you're well aware of your own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to designing for your client. So what do you do when a client asks you to reduce your price or compete with one of your, less competent competitors? First things first, who is this rival designer or design house and how is it that they can charge so little for their work? 90% of the time, you're rivaled by a web design hack. You surely can spot them; using templates, claiming too much product for too little investment but are there other cues that can signal a web design poseur? Writer Erin Pheil of Summit Daily News lists ways to spot web posers. One tell tale sign, if you find a design house who uses the exact "About Us" section as your company's (yes, this happens). Check out Erin's piece and let us know your thoughts--are there other signals to spotting design hacks?

timeforcake: Beware of web design posers
Core77.com reports today that the 2009 Starpack Package Design Awards Announced. Starpack, "the UK packaging industry's most prestigious awards," celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and has made their 2009 picks. About Starpack: Starpack is the premier UK annual scheme recognising innovation in packaging design and technology. Organised by The Packaging Society, a division of IOM3, Starpack constitutes the UK packaging industry's most prestigious awards, aiming to help raise packaging standards in the UK by rewarding and encouraging creativity. They are considered an integral part of the packaging industry, and the culmination of the Awards at the annual Packaging Industry Awards Ceremony is a highlight of the packaging industry calendar.

Now on to the winners!

Brand Design

Name: Ariel Excel Gel Structural Packaging
Entrant: Studio Davis

Food Design



GOLD
Name: My World Chocolate Buttons
Entrant: Pure Equator


Drink Design

GOLD
Name: Brown Forman "Jack Daniels Perforated" tin
Entrant: CROWN Speciality Packaging


For more information on the contest and the winners please click here.
The Baltimore Sun recently looked at the inefficiencies in certain products when it comes to package design. How can the designers of such basic staples such as tooth paste and lotion create new designs in order to help consumers use as much of their product as they can instead of leaving it in the bottle. The Baltimore Sun reports as much as 25% of lotion and 13% of toothpaste are often left in their containers.

While it is up to package designers to help design packaging that helps consumers get as much as possible out of the product, it's also important that consumers make a conscious effort to use whole containers of products. Is there a way consumers and packagers could work together to improve the packaging?

Nick Eaton of Seattlepi.com writes that Yahoo's new branding campaign is a plan to not only highlight its search engine capabilities; but, highlight its other online services throughout the Y!ou campaign. Eaton writes that this isn't a surprise, considering Yahoo gave up control of its search technology when it struck a deal with Microsoft in July.

As Yahoo moves to become more of a "lifestyle engine," we're wondering what exactly will be the point of Yahoo. What will it bring for Y!ou, other than a fresh, new branding campaign? If Yahoo! doesn't offer something different than Bing or Google they may ultimately put the "Y" in "yawn."

We'd like to know what you think.

This recent post on The Design Blog showcases a new vehicle concept designed by Alexei Mikhailov dubbed "VW Pholeum" that caters to transportation needs of a metropolitan city. This futuristic vehicle fits one single passenger, and it runs on wheels which are made of bio-degradable rubber. The concept car generates power from electric motors and it supported by hydrogen fuel cells. This might be the future of sustainable vehicles.
Michael Rogers
Author
Columnist, MSNBC

Michael Rogers is Futurist-in-Residence for The New York Times and an interactive media pioneer, novelist and journalist. He also writes the popular Practical Futurist column for MSNBC.

For ten years he was vice president of The Washington Post Company's new media division, helping guide both the newspaper and its sister publication Newsweek into the new century, as well as serving as editor and general manager of Newsweek.com. His New York-based consultancy, Practical Futurist® works with both startups and major media companies, and he writes a column of the same name for MSNBC.

Rogers is also a best-selling novelist whose fiction explores the human impact of technology. His five books have been published worldwide, optioned for film and television, and chosen by the Book of the Month Club.

After a decade as a writer for Rolling Stone, Rogers co-founded Outside magazine. He then joined Newsweek to create the magazine's Technology section, covering topics ranging from Chernobyl and genetic engineering to computers and the Internet, earning numerous journalism awards for his work.

In 1993 he produced the world's first CD-ROM newsmagazine for Newsweek, described in the media as a prototype for interactive television, going on to develop interactive areas on Prodigy, America Online and then a series of Internet sites including the award-winning Parents’ Guide to Children’s Software, which also appeared in CD-ROM and book form. In 1999 he received a patent for the bimodal spine, a multimedia storytelling technique, and is listed in Who’s Who in Science and Engineering.

Rogers is a frequent guest on radio and television and regularly addresses audiences worldwide, ranging from venture capitalists and corporate executives to educators, students and the general public. In 1989 he was founding chairperson of the European Technology Roundtable, an annual CEO gathering, which he continues to moderate along with the newer Asian Technology Roundtable.

Rogers studied physics and creative writing at Stanford University with additional training in finance and management at Stanford Business School’s Executive Program. He lives in New York and is at work on his next novel.

Join Michael at this year's Future Trends 2009 where he will be presenting,"The Virtualization of America" at 8:45am on Wednesday, November 4th.

Future Trends 2009: http://bit.ly/B9Gsc
Brochure: http://bit.ly/1oAN3t
Registration: http://bit.ly/6M8Ry


Biography courtesy of Premiere Speakers

This post on the Design Blog highlights how BMW Group DesignworksUSA not only designs elegant automobiles, but now they have a collection of street furniture that matches the elegance and precision of autos. The "Metro40" features very smooth curves which not only offer comfort to visitors but also improves landscape. What do you think of the furniture?
In the New York Times, Klaus Bischoff, who is responsible for the design of the VW brand, reveals that Volkswagon will begin manufacturing cars specifically for America. All cars in production now are built for European roads. They have begun work on one car, which will be introduced in 2011, in their factories in Tennessee. Another goal of theirs is to keep increasing the power of their cars while taking extra steps to make them more environmentally friendly. Read the full article here.
YMME AND KMME PRESENT: Create NEXT NOW

Future forward practices for connecting deeply with the Modern Family Unit by translating needs and trends into new business opportunities
May 10-12, 2010
Chicago, IL

The Institute for International Research is excited to announce that production of the YMME AND KMME PRESENT: Create NEXT NOW conference s underway. We will be reviewing presentation submissions until September 21st – space is limited so please submit your ideas TODAY! This three-day event is the destination for those looking to reach all segments of the modern, young family – moms, dads, kids, tweens and teens. Showcasing what’s next in these markets in terms of shopper behavior, interests, and the latest in market research, marketing, trends and innovation, the conference will bring together corporate best practices and gurus to facilitate understanding and connecting with these focused segments.

Your Opportunity
We are currently recruiting corporate practitioners to share unique ideas, perspectives and case studies related to future trends. Got a good story to tell? Have a provocative perspective that needs to be shared? I’m interested in hearing from you.

Session topics include but are not limited to:
• Youths and Parents: Shopping Habits and Behaviors
• Trends in the Future of Social Media
• Integrating New Trends into Traditional Products to Grow Your Brand
• How is the Family Dynamic Changing?
• What’s New in Green?
• Parent to Friend: The Changing Parent/Millennial Relationship
• Cutting Edge Trends: What’s Next?

Submission Guidelines & Deadline
For consideration, please e-mail Amy Kritzer at akritzer@iirusa.com with the following information by Monday, September 21st:
• Proposed speaker name(s), job title(s), and company name(s)
• Contact information including address, telephone and fax numbers and e-mail
• Title of presentation
• Brief overview of the presentation (1 paragraph plus 3 – 5 key audience “takeaways): Please write this with the knowledge that if your proposal is selected, this description will be printed in the brochure
• Previous conference presentations and/or brief speaker biography

Due to the high volume of responses, we are unable to respond to each submission. All those selected to participate as speakers will be notified shortly after the deadline.

Thank you for your interest in Create NEXT NOW!

All the best,
Amy Kritzer
Senior Conference Producer
Marketing and Business Strategy Division
Institute for International Research
akritzer@iirusa.com
Achieving Customer Relevance
Strategies for Connecting Lifestyles within Life Stages
May 10-12, 2010
Chicago, IL

The Institute for International Research is excited to announce that production of the Achieving Customer Relevance conference is underway. We will be reviewing presentation submissions until September 21st – space is limited so please submit your ideas TODAY! This three-day event is the destination those looking to understand how to reach targeted life styles and stages. From the segmentation to the marketing, explore best practices for pinpointing innovative ways to deeply connect with profitable segments, growing segments and new segments to maximize lifetime value and achieve sustainable growth.

Your Opportunity
We are currently recruiting corporate practitioners to share unique ideas, perspectives and case studies related to future trends. Got a good story to tell? Have a provocative perspective that needs to be shared? I’m interested in hearing from you.

Session topics include but are not limited to:
• Transition in Life Stage: How Your Customer Evolves
• Breaking into New Life Stages without Alienating Your Consumer Base
• Products Across Life Stages- Which Ones Succeed and Why?
• Common Threads and Differences in Specific Segments
• Creating an Authentic Message to Build Loyalty for Life
• The Spread of Technology through Life Stages
• Keeping Your Product Relevant as Your Consumer Ages
• Trends in Social Media and Technology

Submission Guidelines & Deadline
For consideration, please e-mail Amy Kritzer at akritzer@iirusa.com with the following information by Monday, September 21st:
• Proposed speaker name(s), job title(s), and company name(s)
• Contact information including address, telephone and fax numbers and e-mail
• Title of presentation
• Brief overview of the presentation (1 paragraph plus 3 – 5 key audience “takeaways): Please write this with the knowledge that if your proposal is selected, this description will be printed in the brochure
• Previous conference presentations and/or brief speaker biography

Due to the high volume of responses, we are unable to respond to each submission. All those selected to participate as speakers will be notified shortly after the deadline.

Thank you for your interest in Achieving Customer Relevance!

All the best,

Amy Kritzer
Senior Conference Producer
Marketing and Business Strategy Division
Institute for International Research
akritzer@iirusa.com
As a valued Next Big Design reader, we’re pleased to offer you a $400 price break for you to join us this November 2-4 for the 2009 Future Trends Conference when you register by 9/14. We encourage you to grab this temporary offer and give yourself the gift of provocative thought, unmatched networking and exclusive case studies with trend leaders and future thinkers.

If you can't sign up by Monday, you can still save 20% off the standard rate by mentioning priority code LINKEDINFT.

These offers cannot be combined.

Event Page: http://bit.ly/1aibU9
Brochure: http://bit.ly/E887Q
Speakers: http://bit.ly/18gdTR
Registration: http://bit.ly/2abs7v

Marketing guru Seth Godin has recently touted the book, No Impact Man by Future Trends 2009 keynote speaker Colin Beavan. Beavan and his family lived no-impact for one year, and in doing this he discovered for himself how the future of green is the future of being happy. Now he writes and administers the provocative environmental blog No Impact Man, which has become a meeting point for discussion of environmental issues from a “deep green” perspective.

Beavan was named one of MSN’s Ten Most Influential Men of 2007 and was named an Eco-Illuminator in Elle Magazine’s 2008 Green Awards. His blog No Impact Man was named one of the world’s top 15 environmental websites by Time Magazine. He was named a 2008 Eco-Star by New York City’s Lower East Side Ecology Center.

Beavan’s Blog: http://bit.ly/R9JuG
Excerpt from the book: http://bit.ly/TOVUb
_________________________________________________________

Americans flocked to the government program, Cash for Clunkers this year helping the automotive industry see a glimmer of hope during this rough economic climate. Topping the list of success stories from the program was Toyota who will be present at this year’s conference. Join us at 2:35 on Tuesday November 3 for a presentation with Toyota Motor Sales product planning executive, Todd David Blickenstaff.

Within large organizations such as Toyota, numerous departments identify and monitor trends that will have serious consequences for the business. Blickenstaff’s presentation will cover:

• How the Cross Car Line team follows technology and pricing trends to make planning decisions for multimedia
• How Product Planning identifies social trends in support of developing vehicles such as Prius and iQ

You’ll learn:

• Methods and resources for identifying significant trends
• The importance of monitoring a trend and distinguishing from a fad
• How to take action to capitalize on trends

Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Time: 2:00 - 3:00 PM EDT

Here is the latest free web seminar from our innovation series which is taking place on Wednesday, September 16 from 2:00-3:00pm EDT. It is being led by Bob Langert, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility, McDonald’s. Here's a brief description of the web seminar:

Learn from Bob Langert, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility about McDonald’s eco-innovation journey, specifically highlighting their current focus on sustainable supply chain management practices. Bob delivers:

• Lessons learned from various NGO/academic collaborations
• Experiences with what has worked and not worked
• Tips about communicating internally and externally

Bob joined McDonald’s in 1983, with management positions in logistics and packaging purchasing in the 80s; and responsibilities for environment, energy management, animal welfare, Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities, emerging issues’ management, and, most recently, social responsibility in the 90’s through today. His current responsibilities with McDonald’s include:

• Social responsibility efforts, including McDonald’s social responsibility reporting
• Global environmental management systems and issues
• Global supply chain issues (e.g., sustainable agriculture, biotechnology, animal agricultural and animal welfare programs)
• Issues management
• Part of McDonald’s “Balanced, Active Lifestyles” team

Register here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/727121753


This web seminar is brought to you by:

Colin Beavan, PhD
AKA No Impact Man
Author, writer, blogger,


As the news stories go: “Colin Beavan is a liberal schlub who got tired of listening to himself complain about the world without ever actually doing anything about it…” Thus, in November, 2006, Beavan launched a year-long project in which he, his wife, his two-year-old daughter and his four-year-old dog went off the grid and attempted to live in the middle of New York City with as little environmental impact as possible.

The point of the project was to experiment with ways of living that might both improve quality of life and be less harmful to the planet. It also provided a narrative vehicle by which to attract broad public attention to the range of pressing environmental crises including: food system sustainability, climate change, water scarcity, and materials and energy resource depletion.

Beavan’s experiment in lifestyle redesign is the subject of his book (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) and a Sundance-selected documentary by independent film producers Laura Gabbert (Sunset Story, Getting to Know You) and Eden Wurmfeld (The Hammer, Puccini for Beginners, Kissing Jessica Stein). Both the book and the documentary will be released in September, 2009. Columbia Pictures also plans to make a feature film (produced by Todd Black) based on the book.

Beavan writes and administers the provocative environmental blog NoImpactMan.Com, which has become a meeting point for discussion of environmental issues from a “deep green” perspective. In addition to some 2,500 daily visitors and 4,000 daily page views, the site has 10,000 email and “newsreader” subscribers. About 1.8 million people have visited the blog since he established it a year and a half ago.

Beavan was named one of MSN’s Ten Most Influential Men of 2007 and was named an Eco-Illuminator in Elle Magazine’s 2008 Green Awards. His blog NoImpactMan.com was named one of the world’s top 15 environmental websites by Time Magazine. He was named a 2008 Eco-Star by New York City’s Lower East Side Ecology Center.

Visit Steven's No Impact Man Website

Read an excerpt from Steven's book

Colin will be presenting "To Hell With Sustainability: Why Aim for Less Bad When We All Want More Good?" at this year's Future Trends Conference in Miami, taking place November 2-4.

Bio courtesy of No Impact Man webpage

Cameron Sinclair of The Huffington Post reports today that America's classrooms are undergoing a huge design change thanks to President Obama and a new design competition. The 2009 Open Architecture Challenge, a biennial design competition, brought together more that 7000+ K-12 students, teachers and building professionals to work on upgrading and expanding their learning environments into innovative, cost-effective and sustainable classrooms for the future. This morning, an hour before the President takes the stage, a small independent non-profit school in Victor, Idaho (pop. 1200) will be holding their own special 'back to school' assembly to celebrate winning this international competition. The school, the Teton Valley Community School, receives $50,000 to help fund their new classroom and the winning design team, Section Eight [Design], is awarded $5,000 to help implement the scheme.

Check out the winners and finalists here.

Challenge Winner: Teton Valley Community School, Victor, Idaho, USA designed by Section Eight [design], Victor, Idaho, USA

Founders' Award: The Corporacion Educativa y Social Waldorf, Bogota, Colombiadesigned by Arquitectura Justa, Bogota, Colombia

Best Urban Classroom Upgrade Design: Rumi School of Excellence, Hyderabad, Indiadesigned by IDEO, San Francisco, CA, USA

Best Rural Classroom Design: Building Tomorrow Academy, Wakiso and Kiboga, Ugandadesigned by Gifford LLP, London, UK

Best Re-locatable Classroom Design: Druid Hills High School, Georgia, USA designed by Perkins and Will, Georgia, USA

At The Die Line, they look at the design of Tripple Red of a carton of milk. They strived for the simplicity of milk, and looked to go enviornmentally friendly with it as well. So by using a single color they were able to capture the old-time feel milk along with the simplicity of the product.


The big font news this week is that IKEA, the Swedish goods retailer popular with dorms and starter apartments has now switched their company font to Verdana. The font change is said to be applicable to online and print platforms; however, I'm a little skeptical that the design decision was based entirely on cost.

In an interview with the Swedish design magazine Cap & Design, IKEA’s Ivana Hrdlickova says the main reason for the switch was to allow the company to use the same typeface in all countries (current IKEA typefaces do not contain Asian characters, for example). Being that Verdana was designed for the web, it also allows the company’s image to remain consistent online and in print.

How much a font designer will charge for this project? Those of you in the field know that this cost can be hefty; and although IKEA is fairing well in a down market, they may be looking to cut corners wherever possible. What's particularly troubling about it, is on a bigger level IKEA may be now, instead of theory, catering to the masses in a condescending manner. It says, "Oh you want, cheap with no thought--here you go!" In a way, IKEA is thumbing its nose at its customers, which can--and should--alienate them.

TIME magazine reports, The main complaint that online protesters have, though, is that the newly adopted font is plain ugly. Especially when it's enlarged to, say, the size of a catalogue headline. Or worse yet, a billboard.

The Guardian writes, Should we care about these things as much as type designers do? I believe we should, and not just because in my experience type designers tend to be wise souls. If everything looked like a front page of the Times from 1950, then we may as well all still be living in black-and-white. And beyond the risk of homogeneity, there is emotion. Used well, type design defines mood, and how we think about everything we see. It can make us think seriously or frivolously; it can guide us effortlessly, or it can entertain us viscerally.

So what's the final verdict from you, our faithful design readers? Do you think the decision was warranted or will it prove to be an image nightmare for the retailer?


Here are some viewpoints from around the web:


This post on The Design Blog highlights a unique design for a wheelchair for the disabled that accumulates electricity during the day while it is being used and lights up at night. This is extremely useful because it can be increasingly dangerous and risky for the disabled to get around at night when it is dark. This also promotes a green lifestyle by conserving green energy.

Anna Wintour's favorite tennis player, Roger Fedder is now a case-study in personal branding. The tennis icon has emblazoned his shoes, blazers, cuff links, belt buckles (and maybe more) with his "RF" monogram. Holly Brubach of the New York Times writes, The idea for a monogram emerged from the logo that Mirka Vavrinec, now Federer’s wife, and her father developed for his fragrance, RF-Roger Federer, introduced in 2003. The result was a freehand squiggle. If you knew what you were looking at, you saw the R and the F; if you didn’t, you didn’t. (A three-letter monogram was apparently never an option because Federer has no middle name.)Federer liked the approach and suggested that Nike come up with a strategy along the same lines.“For me, it’s important that a fan can buy something that is related to me,” he said. “Like in soccer, you buy a shirt and it’s got somebody’s name on the back. That’s kind of a cool thing.”His intent was that a monogram would offer a connection as direct but not as literal as a team jersey.

We encourage you to check out RF's monogram and add your own thoughts to his design of personal branding. What do you think?

This post on the design blog highlights a new vehicle concept designed by Jameson Klug that combines a motorbike and a car, into one. The motorcycle design if the preferred method of travel when going throw crowded and congested areas, whereas the car concept can be used when going on long trips or hauling cargo. The vehicle can extend itself into a car shell to provide space for another traveler, protection from outdoor elements, or more cargo capacity.

The car also comes complete with an ICE engine, which is 60% more efficient than regular piston engines. This is definitely a vehicle for those eco-friendly minded people.

Noticed anything different about Facebook today? The rounded corners are gone. The corners, which according to The Washington Post, have spurred debate throughout the Facebook team since their inception a few years ago.

Facebook reportedly says, "Since we introduced rounded corners to Facebook, their consistent use has been spotty at best. The corner radii vary, and it sometimes feels arbitrary which corners are rounded and which are not. Additionally, they add an extra layer of complexity to the code (note: IE, please add support for border-radius). As part of the effort to simplify our visual style, the design team recently decided to go back to our square corner roots. In doing so, we hope to champion cleanliness and the razor cut look that Facebook is known for."

Did you see the changes? What do you think?

For those who work in a big city, take NY for example, it can be hard to find a good parking spot. This post on the Design Blog highlights a new concept portable skateboard designed by Alex Hodge which allows for commuters to easily carry this lightweight "shortboard" around. The Shortboard is meant to get commuters from their car to their workplace easily without getting tired.
According to the New York Times, all members of the American Institute of Architects will now be required to take four hours of sustainable design every year. This new rule will extend through the year 2012. The New York Times states that this is the recognition of AIA to continue refreshing their knowledge on the continual knowledge of sustainable construction methods and building materials. Read the full article here.
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