Next Big Design

Friday, July 31, 2015

This Week In Design & Brand Strategy: 7/27/15 - 7/31/15

Imagine an interview where you are purely judged on your skill set and ability to work rather than your appearance. Well, if this sounds like something you’d like you may consider applying for a position with the U.K. web hosting company ByteMark. ByteMark decided that in order to fix the issue of candidates being also judged on a basis of what they wore to the interview by installing “anonymous recruitment.” In other words, up until the final interview, this company will know nothing about these candidates other than their qualified skill set. “Applicants fill in an online form and then selected applicant are given a first interview via instant message.” Following after that, the applicants undergo a remote skills test and then are finally invited in for the final interview. The results from this approach to hiring has yielded great results for ByteMark. The organizations comments by saying that not only did the experiment produce great results, but the process was also much cleaner. Due to its successes, this new hiring design is surely to get picked up at other organizations.


Any of you Breaking Bad fans out there? Well then have we found the coffeeshop for you! Opening first in Istanbul, with wider plans to open up shop throughout Europe and the U.S., Walter’s Coffee shop is designed specifically after the famous TV show Breaking Bad. Co-founder Deniz Kosan opened the shop in March after running a crowdfunding campaign on the website Indiegogo. This 
design move is an excellent example of pop-culture influencing modern design and branding within certain industries. According to the article posted on Fast Company’s website, “…the drinks are served in beakers, coffee roasters wear yellow jumpsuits and masks (baristas, mercifully, merely wear branded aprons,) cupcakes come equipped with crystalized pieced of blue sugar on top of the frosting…” To read more about this unique design and branding opportunity visit the Fast Company website.




After an article released on Vice’s Motherboard on Monday exposed Uber for fabricating the amount of drivers shown on the screen users see as their driver reaches their pickup location. However, in response to this piece of news, Fast Company believes that even if Uber is fudging positions of drivers, they have a good reason for doing so. “Positioning vehicles by GPS very quickly is tricky business, so while the company may know there are X vehicles in your generalized area, it might need to deploy more stock animations of vehicles cruising down city streets in lieu of providing exact coordinates for cars in real time to keep the experience feeling smooth and speedy.” The article’s analysis speaks directly to design for specific apps and how they are designed with specific purposes in mind. Whether or not you agree with Uber’s methods, the analysis given in the article proves to be compelling and maybe reason to research into the design of specific apps.


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 

Friday, July 24, 2015

This Week In Design & Brand Strategy: 7/20/15 - 7/24/15

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, Blitab happens. By “it,” I mean the world’s coolest and most impressive gadgets, and by Blitab I mean the Austrian company that just released a touchscreen for blind people. That’s right. Technology is becoming more and more accessible and user-friendly for the visually impaired. The tablet, rather than having a traditional LCD display, is made out of smart liquids that form bubbles on the surface of the screen. According to the article, once “the software recognizes text on a webpage of USB drive, it converts them into Braille letters.” Currently, the only Braille displays are bulky and only allow a few characters to show at a time. With the new Blitab, the Braille gets imported directly onto the screen with 13 to 15 lines at a given time. This is a huge development in the world of design that reaches people from all different backgrounds and abilities. 


Wooden keyboards, wooden phone cases, and wooden watches? You’d think we were living in the book “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen (good book by the way). Instead we are living in the 21st century where the company Grovemade has just released a new product made of wood that also tells time. The watch features twelve circular cutouts that display two different colored clock hands. “As the circular hands pass through the windows, they form lovely eclipse-like shapes to show time.” The overall effect is getting to watch the sun rise and set on your own wrist. This new design move is a strong attempt to get people to look at their electronics a little less and lean on simpler gadgets. The irony in this new design (even pointed out by Grovemade themselves) is that all of their other products include accessories for the electronics they want people to spend a little less time on. You have to appreciate the honesty as well as the simplistic design. 


With so many streaming services becoming the preferred method of watching TV now-a-days, how do brands create more awareness outside of traditional TV advertising? According to a recent article on Adage, brands need to capitalize on the appeal that these newer formats project to the consumer. In other words, streaming shows can be appealing because the viewer can control the viewing experience by pausing and rewinding if needed. This article suggests that with this same concept in mind, the viewer can pick out certain brands or logos placed within a certain scene and, if interested in them, “…pause the video and then be offered additional information and links on the pause screen itself.” This strategy, one being labeled the “pause-screen concept”, is very perplexing and illustrates the need for new design to emerge and evolve within marketing products on television.


Looking upon Ian Anderson’s collection of ceramic tableware, you’d think you were looking at a collection of repaired ceramics that were knocked over by a 5 year-old. However, this design is done on purpose and guess what? It actually serves a distinct functional advantage. Many of Anderson’s items are easier to hold and almost negate the need for parts such as handles. “The pitcher’s form is actually easier to hold after it has been deconstructed,” Anderson says referring to his Oden Pitcher which is essentially split in two pieces without a handle. To top off the collection, Anderson makes geometric – handled mugs and bowls with melted rims. Whether or not it’s your style, you have to admit the concept and design is extremely innovative and unique.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Stripping Away the Labels…Literally

You are sitting in a room. The lights are off and you are surrounded by complete strangers.

Sounds like the beginning of a zombie horror film right? This is where I tell you that no, you are in fact wrong. This is no horror film at all. This, my friends, is a recent commercial that the ubiquitous Coca-Cola brand released as a part of their Ramadan campaign.

Without giving away too many spoilers for this 2:50 long video, the video begins with a group of very diverse-looking men meeting in a pitch dark room and subsequently attempting to guess each other’s personality and appearance. What happened when the lights came on? Well, you’ll just have to watch the video for yourselves.  

This Ramadan season, rather than designing a star and crescent symbol on their cans, the Atlanta-based company decided to draw more attention to the worldwide prejudice that exists. The concept is simple. Remove the “Coca-Cola” label from the cans; In place of the logo, the words “Labels are for cans not for people.”

I must admit, this is a rather brilliant move from the marketing team over at Coca-Cola and illustrates an exciting trend of big corporations taking the challenge to combat prejudice. The name of the campaign, “Remove labels this Ramadan,” follows Coke’s “Let’s take an extra second” campaign. Both campaigns call upon people all over the world to really get to know a person beyond first impressions.

Now, drinking from a can of soda that reads “Labels are for cans not for people” does not necessarily mean everyone will start to think differently about judging a person by their appearance, but it’s a step in the right direction. The more awareness that can be raised by large companies like Coca-Cola, the more people may start to pay attention to the unnecessary labels we give people upon seeing them for the first time.

The campaign is quite clever if you really think about it. On top of the fact that the individual drinking or buying the soda will inevitably become aware of the missing label, what’s the one thing that every random passerby notices/searches for on a can of soda being sipped? That’s right, the label. It’s like our brains are programmed to scan for anything familiar when it comes to common commodities. *scanning…scanning…red can…white cursi – OH, Coca-Cola!* Seriously, rather than adding the text to the logo, Coca-Cola’s genius decision to remove the logo entirely forces people to notice the replaced text.

I believe that Coca-Cola's heart is in the right place and that this campaign has significant potential to affect change and make a difference in the lives of just about everyone. Well done, Coke. Well done.


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 

Friday, July 17, 2015

This Week In Design & Brand Strategy: 7/13/15 - 7/17/15



They say that “good design makes good business” and in Sonos’ case this appears to be true. Recently, the wireless speaker company announced that they would be releasing, for a limited time, a newer pristine look to their “Play: 1” series speakers. The difference? These speakers, rather than being black or white with a metallic gray grill, will be completely dipped in either black or white. This design move, although very subtle, has significantly altered the look and feel of the speaker to be more neutral and versatile; a move that embodies Sonos’ mission to have speakers that go with every room setting. This is just a brilliant example of how one simple design change can alter a product’s appearance, feel, and overall attitude. 



He swore it was the design he’d “never do.” Ian Callum, a chief car designer for Jaguar, has designed the first ever….wait for it… Jaguar SUV. The F-Pace SUV is said to be a much needed and even vital member for the Jaguar family with markets expanding in the U.S. as well as China. “The F-Pace was a challenge because it is not a natural place for me after doing sports cars all my life.” Callum explained that after multiple attempts and first sketches, they got into the “Jaguar mode” and gave the SUV just what it needed to be a Jaguar. Due to the fact that SUVs within the U.S. have dominated the roads and almost every other competitor for Jaguar has developed an SUV, this was a huge design move for the luxury car company. 



Finally men in NYC got just what they need: a week dedicated to men’s fashion. This was a huge moment for designers in men’s fashion. “In the past, menswear has shown with the women in September. Now, the designers get their own stand-alone event…” Designers from all around the globe descended upon New York City this week from July 13-July 16 to show off various trends in men’s fashion as well as to observe and gather inspiration for future designs. Didn’t know this was even a thing in New York City? Just catch the highlights to see what’s trending in the world of men’s fashion. 



Men’s fashion week isn’t the only thing going in the world of men’s clothing this week. This Wednesday Laruen Milligan of Vogue had the chance to sit down with designer Nafsika Skourti and glean more perspective into her design of merging menswear and couture. After being asked how she would describe her design, Skourti responded by stating, “We simultaneously embrace glamour and anti-glamour, and balance experimentation with accessibility…We are always exploring contrasting ideas that we can cross-pollinate.” Skourti has long been obsessed with men’s fashion and took this passion with her to New York’s most feminine of branches, Marchesa. This fuse between menswear and couture shows a unique trend in the design work of many of today’s fashion designers, and one that I don’t see going away anytime soon. 


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