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The Roycrofters

I am currently reading a very interesting book by Erik Larson called Dead Wake about the sinking of the Lusitania (a luxury passenger ship) by a German submarine during World War I. What’s so interesting about the book is that the author writes in the style of fiction, even though this is a true story about something that really happened. Erik Larson writes very intimately about every detail regarding the ship which sailed from NYC in May 1915 to Liverpool, England. He goes so far as to name many of the individuals that sailed that day (and I believe died, even though I haven’t gotten to that part of the novel yet). read on

Tesla to “Build” 100 Megawatts in 100 Days

In the latest step to single-handedly drag the world kicking and screaming into the future, Elon Musk and his company Tesla have signed on with the country, Australia, to install the world’s largest Powerpack battery storage system to supplement the Hornsdale Wind Farm. The Powerpack installation will be able to supply power to 30,000+ homes during power outages or during peak electricity usage. read on

Bitmoji, Youmoji

People either love emojis or hate them. I personally do not like the animated ones that dance around when they are attached to an email. I find them very obnoxious. As we also know, attaching emojis to emails is not proper etiquette. However, sending them in text messages is something that we have all become quite accustom to. To date, there are 100s to choose from. read on

Industry Redesign Requested

Taylor Design is in the design and service business, so we know a bit about both. Last week’s United flight to and from Chicago for a meeting illustrated the airline industry’s dire need for a design and service revamp. From beginning to end, our simple one night business trip was a miserable experience, illustrating severe service shortcomings and dreadfully poor design decisions. For example:
– Since airlines charge $25 for bags, everyone brings them on the plane. The overhead bins quickly fill up, leading to an immediate stall and confusion in the boarding process.
– On the jet, the seats no longer align with the windows, due to the airlines pushing them forward to fit more seats in the cabin. So not only are travelers crunched for leg space, they can’t even look out the window.
– The terminals at both LaGuardia and O’Hare were packed with people in every direction, with travelers laying on the floor, sitting on trash cans, or standing for lack of seating. Clearly transit planners did not anticipate growth, or they would have designed the terminals to be much more expansive with a better traffic flow.
– Our flight arrived 4 hours late to Chicago and 4 hours late returning to New York, so forget about planning. The delays were mainly due to the weather, so I can’t complain about that, but communicating the delays via my phone was confusing and often wrong.
The list goes on and on—based on previous experiences from TSA body searching to missing luggage to getting bounced due to an overbooked flight—leading one to wonder when someone in the airline industry will take a time-out and look at their business model from the passenger’s viewpoint.

Plastics of the Sea

80 to 120 tons of plastic are fished out of the sea surrounding the Maldives by various organizations every month. That seems like a lot of garbage, but this initiative is tiny when compared to scientists’ calculations which estimates that 4.8 to 12.7 metric tons of plastic enter our seas annually. It sends a powerful message of hope and commitment.

Parley, a New York based environmental protection organization working with the government of the Maldives, is focused on balancing human economic activity with the fragile beauty of our oceans. Their mission is to inspire art and business leaders to design, develop, and produce ecologically minded goods made from fibers derived from reclaimed ocean plastic. Adidas signed on and introduced Adidas X Parley, a line of shoes and active wear made with ocean plastic fibers. Their meaningful tag lines cement a purposeful message: “From Threat to Thread” or “Spinning the Problem into a Solution.”

Most recently, fashion designer Stella McCartney, well known for her low impact stance on production, also entered into a partnership with Parley. When asked how these fibers would complement her luxury brand, she replied by saying “To take something that is destructive and turn it into something that’s sexy and cool, how can that not be luxury?”

For us not to acknowledge the example set by Parley or companies such as Adidas and Stella McCartney would be irresponsible and destructive for our future—now more than ever.

Source: The New York Times, June 6, 2017

The Tops of Toppings!

Click the photo to view the video

“Nutrient free and delicious” was probably the main reason why Fluffernutters were not in my elementary school lunch box. Fluff was, however, available at my friend’s house. There, I could slather a slice of white bread with Fluff in a nutritional value free zone. More than the gooey sweetness of Fluff, I loved the shape of the jar, the simple label design, the kitschy animated ads, and the peppy jingle.

Fluff is much more than a mid-century modern American icon—Fluff turned 100 this year. This means Fluff has withstood numerous societal changes since its introduction in 1917. “New” or “improved” has never appeared on its label. Inventor Archibald Query made $500.00 when he sold his recipe to two Massachusetts WWI veterans, Allen Durkee and Fred Mower. Upon their purchase, Durkee Mower made one genius change to “Toot Sweet Marshmallow Fluff,” which was to simplify the name to “Fluff.” The marketing of Fluff was also Durkee Mower’s genius. Fluff has become a legacy brand which has successfully withstood the test of time and taste.

Coloring Music

THIS will keep you entertained and sidetracked from your work for a good while!

Real Estate, an indie pop band from Ridgewood, New Jersey, commissioned a video for their latest song, Stained Glass, which allows viewers to color in the line-drawn video as it plays. If their music isn’t your taste, just turn it down and get on coloring! It is so much fun. read on

Ale Art

 

I spent the last four days in Burlington, Vermont celebrating my son’s graduation from UVM. During lunches and dinners with family and friends, I sampled several different local beers. Besides the unique flavors, textures, and colors, the packaging on the bottles and cans was uniformly excellent. A recent article at Seven Days explores how Vermont craft breweries—including Collective Arts Brewing, Magic Hat Brewing, Burlington Beer, and Otter Creek Brewing—are packaging their products in aluminum cans, which offers graphic designers a 360 degree canvas upon which place their creations. Cheers to great beer art! read on

Two Great Art Forms

“Winemaking and filmmaking are two great art forms … In both cases you have to start with top notch raw materials—whether it’s the land or a script.” — Francis Ford Coppola

So many people are drawn to wine labels. After recently visiting Sonoma & Napa Valley in California, I joined that club. However, a fancy label doesn’t mean an over-the-top wine, so one should choose wisely!

The Francis Ford Coppola Winery was one of my favorites. It produces a series of wines—and labels—that are very unique.
read on

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