If you are a futbol fan like myself, you might be ecstatic to learn that Under Armour is breaching into the world of soccer and, much like its new tagline, “facing some giants.” With brands such as Nike and Adidas having a major monopoly on the sport, it is extremely refreshing to see Under Armour come into the picture. In an article released this week, Fast Company describes Under Armour’s new campaign and how this will impact the brand as a whole. “The Slay Your Next Giant campaign, by agency Droga5, features 21-year-old Holland and Manchester United star Memphis Depay, Tottenham Hotspur's 17-year-old American academy star Cameron Carter-Vickers…as they get ready to test their mettle against tough competition.” As the article even states, this ad campaign carries a very familiar “underdog mentality” that might as well echo from the brand itself. The brand of Under Armour does indeed have an uphill battle to fight as it faces off against bigger brands that are more engrained within the sport. It will be very interesting to see where this brand takes its efforts throughout the “beautiful game.”

According to an article released this week on Fast Company, Sunday Football of this last week featured a brilliant new ad by Honda that details the company’s history over 70 years. From motorcycles to futuristic robots, the ad details Honda’s transformation in a very unique way: through the use of paper graphics. “Although the ‘Paper’ ad feels like CGI trickery, the digital posing as the analog, it actually is what it appears to be: an elaborate ad brought to life through stop-motion animation, which took four months to pull off.” The ad itself features thousands of illustrations that were hand-drawn from various artists and display some of the earliest designs of Honda vehicles. The ad itself is called “Paper” and was directed by Adam Pesapan or “PES”, an Academy Award-winning animator who is now beginning to find a lot of success within the commercial field. The article then describes how the creative concept for the ad was based on the idea that so many of Honda's innovations and ideas had started as little more than a sketch. The ad is very well put together and very eye-catching on the screen. If you have time, I highly recommend viewing the ad and admiring its knack for creative design. 

We’ve all used app robots like Siri or Cortana, but what if there was a robot that could do more than just find unique spots for dinner and crack the occasional joke? What if there was a robot that could essentially schedule your most important meetings and manage your schedule? This week Fast Company wrote a piece introducing a new robot by the name of “Clara” that will do just that. The way this robot responds however, is if you “cc” her on an email thread. By cc-ing her, the robot essentially takes over the conversation and more or less acts like a personal assistant. According to the creator of Clara, Maran Nelson of Clara Labs, “’We don’t like to look at Clara as much as an assistant as more of an employee or partner of yours…Clara should act as an extension of your own will with a strong understanding of the thing you trying to accomplish and the ability to act on your behalf." Another unique feature for Clara is that, due to the fact that she’ll be built into your email, there won’t be any learning curve. All you have to do if you want a meeting scheduled is cc her on the email thread. Just when I think the design for an app can’t get any cooler, some new and easy app is always around the corner.

Usually when you think of new solar-energy houses you envision a house in a rural area with lots of grass and trees. However, according to an article on Fast Company that’s not what these student-engineers had in mind… In an entry to the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon, student’s from the New York City College of Technology built their model in an urban setting that’s meant for cols city streets. “Team leader Amanda Waal says NY City Tech wanted its house to reflect the background the students, the college's own location in Brooklyn, and that the majority of people are going to live in cities in the future.” The students, almost all of whom are undergraduates, designed the house they call D.U.R.A (diverse, urban, resilient, and adaptable), which carries a relatively small footprint and is also designed to be stackable. According to the article the team is unsure what will happen with the model after the competition is over, but the New York Fire Department has shown interest so anything is possible!

Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at Ndicharry@iirusa.com 
This week Fast Company released an article discussing 20 lessons we have learned from design thus far. We have been a part of an important shift in recent years where design has gained more traction and recognition. “At best, design was an afterthought, like slapping a coat of paint on an already-built house or adding a cool tail fin to a finished product. No more. CEOs and strategists alike now appreciate the fundamental advantages that sophisticated design can provide.” Amongst the 20 different lessons the author includes, 1. Design is innovation; innovation is design, 2. Good design overcomes discomfort, and 3. Design isn’t going away. The first of these points really rings true in today’s climate. While we have so many new products and innovation sprouting up, design is melding within the innovation field. Without a good design, innovation does not reach that human component and authentic attraction. Examples like Apple, Uber, or even Google are there to show you that in order to have a successful innovative product, the design has to be there.

We see design everyday of our lives, and some of us even experience design on a regular basis. But what are the best 2015 examples of experience design? Fast Company, this week, wrote a piece that discusses the top design experiences of 2015. The winner, according to this article, is the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum. “As part of a three-year-long renovation and redesign spearheaded by Local Projects' Jake Barton, the Smithsonian Design Museum took a step into the future with an array of interactive works meant to entertain, but also educate visitors on the history of design.” You can view the full design here. Apart from the winner, one of the finalists included the JetBlue Mint partnership. According to the article, JetBlue and Mint wanted to improve the business class experience while also keeping the prices relatively low. “…once onboard, flyers are given free wi-fi, a completely revamped entertainment console, better food options, seats which lie flat, and the option to turn that seat into a private pod.” Interested in the other finalists? Check it out on Fast Company’s site.

When you think about design you may not think of ground up old tires, but that is exactly what’s going on in Yellowstone National park as a design project to protect the park. On top of the amount of pollution from thousands of tourists that plague the park, car tires wearing down the roads as well as disposing of old vehicle tires belonging to the park is becoming an issue. According to an article on Fast Company this week, Michelin and the Yellowstone park service are teaming up to repave the roads with ground-up old tires as a way to restructure roads while also dispose of old tires in an ecofriendly way. This new process of using old ground-up tires as new asphalt is called “Flexi-Pave.” A nice benefit from this method, on top of everything else, is that it appears to be more heat-tolerant and durable than the more traditional methods. The only drawback to this newer design is that, like most everything green, it costs more than traditional asphalt. However, if the method appears to last longer while also solving the problem of where to dispose of old tires, perhaps the cost is worth the good service this project will be doing to the park.

An article released by Fast Company this week discusses Samsung’s new TV model and how it revisits the concept of designing for décor and aesthetic appeal. The article argues that in recent years, TV’s have been built and designed with more of a gadget feel rather than design. “… in more recent times, the attention has shifted to the more gadgety aspects of a TV… As a consequence, television design has suffered.” However, Samsung is now teaming up with French designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec to bring an exciting design back to the world of televisions. This new product in discussion is called the Serif TV from Samsung. The design of this TV is very elegant, embracing a beautifully I-shaped silhouette. “Coming in three colors—white, dark blue, and red—and ranging in size from 21- to 40-inches, the Serif looks as good off as it does on, embracing an almost sculptural quality.” This new piece of furniture will go on sale in the U.K., France, Sweden, and Denmark beginning November.

Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at Ndicharry@iirusa.com 
Production has begun for FUSE 2016! Iconic AND Inclusive, FUSE unites top design leaders and brand executives to share stories about fusing strategy and design with a focus on Designing Brands with Purpose. 

The 20th annual FUSE is taking place April 4- 6, 2016 in Miami, FL. We are recruiting speakers to bring FUSE to life in 2016. The submission deadline is Monday, September 21, 2015. All speakers will receive complimentary admission to the entire event (a $3,000+ value). 

FUSE celebrates a collaborative approach to building brands - marrying design in all its forms, culture and strategy. We will delve into graphic design, industrial design, service design, digital design & social media, brand strategy, packaging, leadership, trends and culture.

The Crowd:
Each year, hundreds of leaders converge at FUSE to advance their brands, businesses, and careers and to get inspired by our speakers' stories. Attendees have a diverse set of expertise - graphic design, marketing strategy, brand management, package design, structural design, digital design, consumer insights, trend forecasting, and design research. Industries represented include consumer packaged goods, retail, industrial manufacturing, technology, electronics, automotive, financial services and health care and more.

Presentation Options:
• Trends/ Insights & Inspiration
• Culture-Understating People
• Strategy
• Creativity & Inspiration
• Startup Mindset- Disruptors
• Global Design & Branding
• Design & Creative
• Skills & Personal Development
• Brand & Marketing Strategy
• Client & Agency Relationships
• Social Media & Digital Design
• Multi-Dimensional Design: UX, Structural Design & Industrial Design, Product Design, Packaging Design, Service Deigns

FUSE 2016 Experiences:
A huge part of the FUSE event is the off-site experiences. Have an idea for a cool tour/ trip/ experience in the Miami Area? Please send those details to Romina @ RKunstadter@iirusa.com .

Speaker Benefits: 
• All speakers will receive complimentary admission to the entire event (a $3,000+ value)
• Advance the purpose and value of using design to tell a brand's story
• Position their company as one that values brand strategy and design
• Reinforce their own position as a leader
• Share results of an exciting project
• Network with industry leaders & participate in high-level discussions

Submission Guidelines & Deadline:
For consideration, please e-mail Romina at Rkunstadter@iirusa.com with the following information by Monday, September 21, 2015.
• Proposed speaker name(s), job title(s), and company name(s)
• Contact information including complete mailing address, phone and e-mail
• Title of presentation
• Brief overview of the presentation (1 short paragraph (100 words or less) plus 2 bullets that illustrate audience takeaways – Think of these bullet points as the “So What?” – What is the audience gaining from this presentation- How is this relevant to them )
• *Please note: if your proposal is selected, portions of this description will be printed in the brochure and used online to promote your participation
• Brief speaker biography (3-4 Sentences)
• Tell us why you want to be a part of FUSE 2016

SPECIAL NOTICE TO VENDORS, CONSULTANTS & SOLUTION PROVIDERS: Whether you are looking to build awareness, generate new business or strengthen existing relationships - a presence at FUSE will help you achieve your goals. A limited number of sessions on the program are reserved for our event sponsors. Solution providers who wish to become part of the program MUST contact Elizabeth Hinkis at 646-616-7627 or ehinkis@iirusa.com

Note: (Event producer is unable to place vendors, consultants or solution providers on the program so email Elizabeth. If you have a client you would like to recommend that can be sent directly to Romina at Rkunstadter@iirusa.com)

Thank you for your interest in FUSE. Check back for updates on our website: http://bit.ly/1Jyl7RM

The FUSE 2016 Team
Design, if it hadn’t already, is beginning to impact the environmental-friendly world. According to an article on Fast Company, a new startup by the name of “Just Water” is launching their first product for an incredibly eco-friendly water bottle. The way the CEO, Grace Jeon, sees it, “’We would never tell people to drink this instead of what’s coming out of their tap…but we know that packaged water or bottled water isn’t going away.’” So what’s so special about this bottle of water? This new bottle is made up of half paper having an inner lining similar to that of coconut water, “The design cuts the carbon footprint of making the package in half (unlike something like the PlantBottle, which has a carbon footprint only around 11% better than normal plastic).” The overall message from this design and company is this: Drink tap water as much as you possibly can. However, if you find yourself in a situation where bottled water is absolutely necessary, purchasing “Just Water” will decrease your carbon footprint significantly in comparison to other bottled water options.

Everyone is familiar with the Google logo right? Well, this week on Tuesday Google introduced a new and updated logo that is essentially the biggest update the company has undergone in 16 years. The notable changes include a newer sans serif typeface, brighter colors (even though the color scheme is the same), and is actually animated now. “Google went from being the way we find trivia to becoming the digital infrastructure of our lives. And in turn, they’ve created a new logo and brand identity…” This design move is huge for the company as its releasing many new ideas this year including its sister company “Alphabet” (discussed in an earlier post), and cars that “don’t need you to drive them.” The iconic “G” of this new logo will be rendered in the four colors of the full Google logo. Curious to see what this new logo looks like eh? Check out Fast Company’s article and analysis of the design.

Most of us have seen the commercials for the Nest thermostat, and if you haven’t, they typically feature an individual complaining about the thermostat due to its superior “brain” and skills. This week Fast Company featured an article about this thermostat because it just announced a new generation thermostat that apparently holds 3 of the most common design trends of the day. The first trend included is that “…the user interface reacts dynamically – to more than touch.” In other words, as you get closer the thermostat, it reveals more and more information to you. Another design trend is its round screen interface. In older versions of the Nest, the screen was encapsulated by a round frame but still had a rectangular face; the newest version features round face. Finally, the third trend this new gadget embodies is that it has a much larger screen like many smartphones today. It’s much easier to read, but it also means they had to redesign the arrangement of its internal chips. Learn more about this new gadget and its cool new design by reading the article here.

According to an article released this week by Fast Company, the Motorola just unveiled its Moto 360 smartwatch and designed it in a way that looks more like a regular watch. To separate itself from the Apple Watch, the new Moto 360 sports a leather, NATO-style band. “…the new Moto 360 has experienced a relatively significant redesign. While the thickness remains relatively unchanged, its perfect circle of a case has been fitted with lugs (what you may know better as those protruding hooks that allow you to connect new bands).” This new watch will be the first in its kind to look more like a traditional watch while still holding the capability of a smart watch. The designers explain that the reason behind this shift was not just because it looked better as on old-fashioned watch, but because the round design simply feel more comfortable on the arm. To be honest, this new design probably does feel snugger on the wrist, while also looking more fashionable.

Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at Ndicharry@iirusa.com 
Do you have an eye for design and brand strategy? Are you a creative thinker with an artistic flare? Then, please help us design the 2016 Front End of Innovation logo!

You are part of our amazing innovation community, so we want to hear from you. We know that a logo design directly from our community of innovators would speak to our audience. Take a look at our current logo for inspiration: http://bit.ly/1KptqS1 
Today, FEI is known as the world leader for advancing innovation. Bringing together the best-of-the best in innovation, r&d, product development, commercialization, marketing and strategy from leading Fortune 1000 companies to be enlightened and inspired.

Send your logo designs by Friday, September 18th to Conference Director Kelly Schram kschram@iirusa.com.

Looking forward to see your innovative logos!

The FEI Team


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