Welcome To Friday Fives, Vol. 287

The Working Assembly
4 min readJan 26, 2024

This week, we’re ordering up menu trends, getting buzzed about Dry January, prompting a non-AI artist, uncovering this month’s top book covers, and rooting for new uniforms.

(NYTIMES.COM)

Diners, Drive-Ins, and Deep Dives

Restaurant menus offer a glimpse into the collective soul (and stomach) of the American diner. In the New York Times analysis of 121 menus from across the country, we learn about what trendy dishes and aesthetics restaurant-goers are salivating over. On the food front, Caesar salads continue to conquer other cuisines, expanding from steakhouses to Thai, Mexican, and Cuban restaurants. And for those eating with their eyes, menus set against bold colors with cute mascots have real appetite appeal. Honestly, we’re just relieved to be done scanning QR codes.

(FASTCOMPANY.COM)

Dry January is Raising Big Alcohol’s Spirits

Is there an opportunity to be found when a potential buzzkill for your brand goes viral? The alcohol industry seems to think so. With a rising number of participants in Dry January, a yearly trend of abstaining from alcoholic beverages for the month, beer, wine, and spirit brands are looking to create something exciting, and tasty, that the sober-curious can get buzzed about. With an increase of 30% in sales for several years straight, the non-alcoholic beverage market is booming–with Guinness and Heineken 0.0 “beers” as top contenders. Now, the Dry January nation can avoid bar FOMO, take a sip, and join the party.

(ITSNICETHAT.COM)

A Brush With Genius

A city made of clouds, a pocketful of hope, a cow doing a bicycle kick. These are only a few of the possibilities that can come to life when you visit New York-based graphic artist Pablo Delcan’s Prompt Brush–a non-AI online art platform serving up drawings based on user prompts. Instead of the more common, but less personal Dall-E or Midjourney’s AI renderings, Delcan is creating images by hand, taking only a minute to create each one–though the queue has grown to a steady 1,000 prompts at a time. What started as a playful jest toward AI-art services has turned into a way for Delcan to connect with prompt-askers–and create masterpieces like “A cat who has hit rock bottom.”

(PRINTMAG.COM)

Take a Page From This Book (Cover)

Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover–when it comes to book covers, at least. Published works seemed to have a lot up their jacket sleeves this January, and so did PRINT Magazine with their 15 Best Book Covers of January 2024. From the trippy photographic smearing of Benjamin Breen’s “Tripping on Utopia” to the illustrative face-spotted “City of Laughter” from Temim Fruchter, there’s no lack of stimulating covers to get us ready to read. We’ll be hunting down “Bear Season” to catch a glimpse of its hot-pink cover and swimming through shelves to find “The Waters” and its florals. And hopefully, while we’re there, we’ll see the sparkling greens of “Seaweed Rising.” There’s no limit to where the world of books (and their covers) can take us!

(UNI-WATCH.COM)

New Jerseys in New York

We interrupt the sports world’s fixation on the NFL playoffs and the Swelce (Swift+Kelce) era to bring news from the baseball domain. In a rare move, the New York Yankees are updating their road jerseys. The uniforms are only a slight departure from where they were previously, but it could be a sign that the Bronx Bombers, who are notoriously anti-facial hair, anti-trend, and generally anti-fun, could be open to change. Oh, and there are some people at our office who would be mad if we didn’t mention that the Mets are changing their jerseys, too. Can you tell that we’re ready for baseball season?

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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.