Friday Fives, Vol. 190
This week we’re taking a deep dive into the latest streaming services, eating way too many “healthyish” snacks, and discovering new typefaces inspired by black culture and history.
In the 80s and 90s, health foods were all about results, often at the expense of satisfaction. SlimFast promised quick weight loss by guzzling meal replacement shakes. SnackWell’s offered up your favorite cookies, only worse, in the name of health. Today, it’s all about choosing foods that are delicious first, and healthy second. Enter the “healthyish” category. Championed by brands like Halo Top and Magic Spoon, these foods aren’t great for you but aren’t quite bad for you either. Their branding is all about nostalgia, using lurid colors that make you feel like, and eat like, a kid again. BRB. Eating a whole pint of Halo Top real quick.
Netflix’s outrageously popular Squid Game is a masterclass on how set design can make the physical location feel like another character in a show. As if the premise of the show wasn’t unsettling enough, (don’t worry, no spoilers ahead) the surrealist architecture and childlike hues of the backdrops disorient the viewer as much as the macabre narrative. It’s somewhere at an uncomfortable crossroads between M.C. Escher and Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Each scene seems to be commenting on aspects of modern society in ways that the characters don’t verbalize. Which aspects of modern society? You’ll just have to watch to find out.
Tré Seals, founder of Vocal Type Co., is creating custom fonts based on iconic moments in Black culture. Seals is inspired by graphic elements associated with pivotal times in history. His font VTC Martin, named after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, is influenced by typography on signs created by protestors in the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike. Seals also draws inspiration from other Black creators, designing the typeface VTC Spike based on the famous “LOVE-HATE” rings from Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. Check out all of Seals’ fonts here.
Remember public access TV? The wild west of programming where the content was outlandish and the rules didn’t apply? That’s basically the vibe of Eternal Family, a digital hub for off-beat entertainment. Cole Kush, the platform’s founder, created Eternal Family after being fed up with the slow pace of mainstream media productions. He’s doing things differently. Subscriptions cost $5 a month, with 60% of the revenue being spread across contributors, based on viewership. And, if you have an idea you want to pitch, they’re accepting submissions. Here’s a free show idea: a mockumentary following Santa’s off-season job where he’s a deep-sea fisherman, call it “Nautical Or Nice.” You’re welcome.
The streaming world is already crowded. Now, there are two new streaming services to sign up for (or to steal the login info from your roommate). British broadcaster, Sky, is changing the streaming game with a streaming TV called Sky Glass. This isn’t just a smart TV, it’s basically a genius, incorporating hardware, software, and content into one sleek, plug-and-play device. The other rising star in the streaming scene is DirecTV Stream. To promote their new offering, DirecTV is launching a digital comic book featuring a superheroic Serena Williams, as a follow-up to their TV campaign. If a Wonder Woman style Serena Williams doesn’t get you excited enough to subscribe to a new streaming service, we’re really not sure what will?
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NYC branding agency exploring the intersection of art, design, technology and culture. Partnering with emerging and evolving brands.