Friday Fives, Vol. 82

Every Friday we highlight five things we have on our radar that we think should be on yours, too.

Here’s this week’s Friday Fives.

Smiling upon an empire

In a digitally obsessed society, we’ve all been guilty of using *a few too many* emojis.😅😬😳 But what is the origin of these grinning yellow faces? Where does our smiley-face obsession stem from? Meet Harvey Ball, the creator of the OG smiley face circa 1963. Originally designed as an effort to liven up the workplace culture at his life insurance company, the symbol was later recreated by a Parisian journalist (and business genius) named Franklin Loufrani who struck gold by recreating the same symbol and immediately trademarking it. Since then, the seemingly innocent smiley has become a symbol of major counter culture movements spanning generations of rebels — from the hippies of the 1960s to the acid house kids of the 80s, and now making an appearance on the hats and hoodies of hypebeasts everywhere. — SS

Subpar subway

New York City’s subway is in the midst of a serious crisis. From endless, inexplicable delays to local trains going rogue on the express track, we can all agree that our current transit system just isn’t cutting it. Meanwhile, London is putting the finishing touches on its shiny, new-and-improved transportation system that will serve seven stations across the city. Like any seasoned Brooklynite who’s spent 45 minutes waiting for a weekend G train that never appears, the sound of such a functional system has me green with envy. Despite NYC being wealthier than London, we’re still being left in the dust with a crumbling, prehistoric subway and no resolution in sight. This pattern of behavior has become a notorious New York hallmark — rather than tackling costly infrastructure needs head-on, we slap on a duct tape fix for long enough that it becomes the next generation’s problem (much like my approach to fixing my leaky sink). Searching for a bright spot in this gloomy mess? Focus your attention on the tiled mosaics adorning the walls of each subway station (and try not to think too hard about the weird smell). — KY

Packages on the fly

Another day, another driverless robot. On Wednesday, Amazon revealed the latest iteration of its Prime Air delivery drone at its first re:Mars conference in Las Vegas. Looking like an early draft of a Star Wars spaceship, the new drone sports a suite of safety and flight systems that allow it to solve unforeseen problems on the go — something they emphasized in their presentation. Amazon is hoping the drone will be able to start landing in people’s backyards with their latest Prime purchases in the near future. The real problem? Most of us can’t even afford a tiny room in a 5 bedroom apartment — how are we supposed to leave space for an aircraft landing pad? — MC

Not your mother’s middle-age

Menopause a rollercoaster of pros and cons. Pros: No more bleeding! No unplanned babies! Cons: hot flashes, mood swings, and the unpleasant feeling that you’re getting really old. For women, it seems like the “cons” column is unfairly stacked against us, especially considering the biggest con of all — that society (especially the creators of consumer products) largely ignores these problems. By next year, more than 50 million women in the United States will be of menopausal age, yet menopause remains one of the final taboo topics among women — thinning hair and decreased sex drives, it would seem, aren’t favorite topics for dinner conversation. But thankfully, the times are finally changing. Pioneering companies are now targeting menopausal women in a way that’s refreshingly frank, luxurious, and yes, even *gasp* sexy. And the best part? The companies are succeeding (shoutout to Bonafide, one of our favorite new clients 🙌). Cheers to a major victory in the perpetual battle for women over 40 to prove that they’re still killing it. ✨ — KJ

Live. Laugh. Let’s never say this again.

Some live by it, some laugh about it, and some love to repeat it. From that tacky post-graduation gift from your mum to the latest social media post from that one friend you forgot to unfollow after middle school, “Live, Laugh, Love” is everywhere. From its mysterious origins in the depths of the internet, the phrase has emerged into the mainstream cultural psyche, infecting knick knacks in novelty stores around the globe. Legend has it that the use of the phrase was buoyed by the rise of Pinterest in 2012, while others claim that it rose to popularity on the heels of HGTV. And while much of the world might think of these as overly cheesy, there are still thousands of people who buy gifts adorned with the phrase, whether earnestly or ironically (we see you, Bushwick). — MC

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NYC branding agency exploring the intersection of art, design, technology and culture. Partnering with emerging and evolving brands.

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The Working Assembly

NYC branding agency exploring the intersection of art, design, technology and culture. Partnering with emerging and evolving brands.