This Week In Design & Brand Strategy: 10/5/15 - 10/9/15

Here’s some interesting bit of news: LinkedIn just underwent a lawsuit settlement that cost the company $13 million. The crime being LinedIn’s dishonest design. As with anyone who has ever signed up with LinkedIn, you’ve probably found yourself on the receiving end of dozens of follow-up emails. Well, the worst part about this is it’s actually impossible to opt-out. According to an article released by Fast Company this week, LinkedIn was caught administering “dishonest design” through a court case in California. “…during the user sign-up process, LinkedIn claims that it ‘will not store your password or email anyone without your permission.’ Despite this, LinkedIn sends automated follow-up email reminders on a new user's behalf to any contacts harvested from their webmail accounts, which are presented in such a way as to appear as if they came directly from the user.” The technical term for something like this is supposedly called “dark patterns.” This essentially means that a user interface has been carefully crafted to intentionally trick users into doing certain things. Before reading this article I had ever heard of practices such as “dark patterns” or “dishonest design,” but this case may be a landmark case in the world of design and transparency. 


If, 15 years ago, you had asked the average 4 year old what their favorite thing to do in school was, they would most likely reply with some variation of coloring in coloring books. In today’s age with so much new technology and bright screens to captivate the 4 year old mind, coloring books are slowly but surely disappearing off of the shelves of children who would otherwise obsess about coloring. *Que Disney to the rescue!* In a Fast Company article written this week, Disney’s new augmented reality (AR) coloring book is explored and discussed as a possible alternative for kids. The Disney team, based in Zurich, points out that coloring books are one of the best, earliest opportunities for children to be creative. “Unfortunately, they also look boring and unexciting compared to the myriad screens and gadgets competing for a child's attention…the key to getting kids coloring again is to leverage augmented reality (AR).” In other words, this team is working hard to give coloring books the allure that electronics provide while also giving children the ability to express creativity. The AR coloring book App is currently just a Disney research project, but highlights a new way to rethink the original color book. Essentially you would color on a regular piece of paper, then using the app you would hover the screen over your coloring and a 3 dimensional version of your coloring would pop up. I would think this unique design by Disney is definitely bound to get more traction if and when it hits the market, what do you think?


This week, Washington Post listed 5 top design trends according to Apartment Therapy blog founder Maxwell Ryan. To start the list, Maxwell says that “dark, moody colors” are definitely becoming more and more popular in homes he writes about. The second design trend he points out is texture. Within many homes, he notices that more people are going with brands that use texture in their design. The trend of global influence is one that I definitely can relate to and see on consistent basis whether it be in the home or even in an ad for a car. In Maxwell’s words, “Textiles and treasures from all over the world add interest and vibrancy to a home.” Also amongst the trends listed is the trend of mixing the old with the new. Obviously, this list of trends is based off of Maxwell’s observations in home décor, however I found that especially with the “mixing old and new” trend, it is a common design trend in branding as well. I would almost state that all of the trends listed in Maxwell’s compilation are simply common trends in the design of brands and products. The full list is quite educational and I highly recommend anyone interested in design read it and compare notes. 


This week, Fast Company wrote an article exploring 13 vertical panoramas of the cathedrals in New York City. The article highlights the incredible design and artistry that went into building these structures and how these designs will carry through to the designs of the future. In taking these unique photos, photographer Richard Silver wanted to give New Yorkers a reason to look up and admire the design of these intricate buildings. “’One day I was walking around the city and walked into a church to see if I was able to take photos…once inside I was marveled at the beauty of the ceiling and the complete surroundings around me. I figured out that I could do a panorama of the church while capturing the ceiling along with the pew and all the way through to the back of the church.’” Each photo carries its own impressive angle and artistic value. I highly recommend viewing all 13 photographs. And who knows, you may find some inspiration within the design.


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 

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