44. Modern Matter have laid out the latest issue of their magazine on a billboard. Fun and I bet sales go up.
45. WPP merged together five of its design consultancies; Brand Union, Lambie-Nairn, The Partners, Addison and Vbat. Being brand experts they’ve named the new company Superunion. Other WPP design firms remain separate; Design Bridge, AKQA and Fitch.
This is an interesting development. It looks like nothing has changed apart from some senior management musical chairs. No redundancies, no relocations. WPP and other holding companies have traditionally stayed away from this sort of merger preferring to keep the individual “hot shop” brands. In fact there was a lucrative career to be made inventing small hot shop brands and flogging them to Sir Martin.
Is this a change of direction? Will we see the same happen to ad agencies? There must be savings to be made at a time when margins are low and the sector is under huge pressure. More of this to come? Will it make a difference to clients? To the quality of work? Is one huge ad agency on the horizon?
Oh and Michael Wolff isn't happy about the new logo.
"I rarely make comments on the work of colleagues in design. I only do so when I’m angered to see work that I consider trivialising and shameful.
Whatever sense this merger may make to WPP and its clients, this logotype is a disappointing, mediocre and demeaning one.
If it’s an indication of the creativity and intelligence that a merger on this scale is promising, it represents a bleak outlook. Logotypes and names of this banality do a serious disservice to the world of design."
46. Nintendo launched Nintendo Labo and it looks brilliant.
Labo is a series of cardboard cut-outs that work with the Nintendo Switch and Joy-Con controllers to create "Toy-Cons" that can interact with game software and vice versa. Apparently Nintendo designed them as a way to teach the principles of engineering and physics to kids.
It is completely different to other games add-ons and perfectly mimics how kids play. Reminds me of the sort of thinking that led to the 5 second minigames in Yoshio Sakamoto's Warioware Smooth Moves.
Nintendo is so good at this and it’s a shame the world doesn’t get more of this type of thinking in areas other than games.
47. Shell have applied for a minicab licence in London. We're about to find out, quite dramatically, the true value of "brands".
I expect to see a lot more of this type of "brand extension" as Big Legacy Cos work out where the value is in their business. As new businesses emerge and grow, will legacy businesses find that all they have left is their brand? That's supposed to be worth billions. Or is the real value in Big Legacy Cos the actual physical assets, rendering the brand worthless without a decent business model.
Could you stretch a fuel or power brand to a taxi or mobility company? Could British Airways do that? The black cabs have an incredibly well known and well established "brand". Uber was an unknown start up with a weird name.
This is going to get interesting and disprove a lot of Thought Leadership pretty quickly. There will be blood on the walls.
48. Someone please do a podcast of people like this.
49. Philippe Starck, remember him? He made sculptures that hated lemons and now makes perfumes.
In an interview with the FT he said “Two hundred years BC, Eratosthenes measured the circumference of the earth with only a 2 per cent error, using a camel, a well and a 30cm wooden stock. That’s design.”
That’s not design, that’s maths.