Friday Fives, Vol. 108
And we’re back! Welcome to 2020 and the first issue of the year.
Here’s this week’s Friday Fives.
Olympians are symbols of athletic perfection, endurance, and power. They spend every waking moment committed to their sport of choice, beyond passionate for what they do and where they push themselves. Every two years, the world gathers to see humanity’s greatest athletes compete, and as such, the Japanese Olympics organization committee is making sure these athletes are living in the absolute lap of luxury, by making them sleep on cardboard boxes. These specially designed cardboard box beds are designed to help reduce the waste and carbon footprint of the Olympics by creating biodegradable, recyclable bed frames that can be used in en masse. You might ask, are these beds even comfortable? Can you even sleep on them? Or wouldn’t carbon footprint reduction be better suited by ending the age old practice of the Olympics building insanely expensive, huge, brand new stadiums every two years just to abandon them immediately after the games? Why not just get normal beds for the athletes and donate them to homeless shelters or Habitat For Humanity after the games complete? The Olympic committee doesn’t have answers for that. But as today’s designers make a greater cultural push to end a decades-long period of excess and waste, one can admit it’s at least a baby step in the right direction. — AD
Another year, another CES. This year’s show gave us a glimpse at what’s new and trending in the tech world: from an almost instant drink chiller to a chair that brings us one step closer to being Wall-E’s Axiom Humans. Amidst all the new, mildly concerning tech, is a flood of fitness equipment following Peloton’s lead of connected fitness, and continued talk of flying vehicles. And while it’s cool to have all this technology that makes life more personalized and connected, it kinda makes you wonder if all the warnings in sci-fi movies about very targeted ads and artificial humans are just a couple of years away. — MC
The LA Times recently announced that Southern California’s best logo belonged to Western Truck Exchange. Started in 1922, a family owned and operated truck dealership and maintenance shop. The logo is a simple caricature of the three owners Mark, Dan, and Wayne with a truck in the back. They’ve been installing the logo on the mud flaps of trucks they’ve sold and worked on. I believe the thing that makes this logo so special, what has earned it its cult status, is its simple and bare authenticity. A deep and true authenticity that means something almost entirely different from the way the word is used in any marketing deck or millennial consumer research report. It is the absence of a rigorous and iterative design process. It is the fact that there was no brand strategy deck, consumer research report, or competitive analysis. No meticulous adherence to best practices, design principles, or any of that agency swampwater. It was just three guys, a family business, and a caricature artist. No rationale needed. — MC2
The world of emojis offers digital communicators a platform to be infinitely creative with the way we talk. Sometimes, an emoji combination is the only reliable way to get your point across. In the same light, Emojis are a way to give a ‘human touch’ when trying to display humor, sadness, shock, anger, disbelief, or any other emotions digitally. Starting at about 800 and quickly reaching over 8,000 emojis, there are always too many, but simply not enough to express yourself. Within the texting community, there are always the people who avidly use emojis as if that were the only way the recipient could understand the gravity of the message, and also people who don’t open that keyboard feature ever. Surprisingly enough, the concept of emojis can be quite polarizing between users and non-users. And then there’s a whole other conversation of emoji inclusion and exclusivity–which icons are important enough to make it to the list of true emojis. It’s all a lot. — RW
In her 1967 essay on leaving New York, Joan Didion wrote: “It is often said that New York is a city for only the very rich and the very poor”. As tens of thousands of highly paid software engineers transplant into a city they see merely as a playground and “because it’s a more interesting and fun place to live”, I hope they do not forget that there are people who actually live here, and call this city their home, not simply a temporary or “interesting and fun place to live”. As New York bolsters its tech scene and pulls talent from Silicon Valley, raises rent, flips buildings and private homes, and bankrupts your local laundromat we should take solace in the fact that people from the west coast simply don’t have the sensibility to stay here for long. Didion, from California knew it herself when she said “I knew it would cost me something sooner or later — because I did not belong here, did not come from here”. There are plenty of other cities that could use more people, but not here. — MC2
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