One to Watch #1 - 'How symbols and brands shape our humanity'

23rd April 2020

We love watching trashy tv – you can often catch us discussing the latest episode of First Dates or more recently, whether Carole Baskin killed her husband. We even have a Trello board ‘watch list’ where we recommend our top picks for each other. But sometimes, it’s good to break the habit and watch something that gets the brain cells working a little harder.

Just because our uni days are over, doesn’t mean we have to stop learning. The subject of design is constantly changing, there are new things to learn, there’s new software to discover and ideas to think about. Sometimes we find ideas from talks that aren’t even design related. There are some amazing watches on Netflix like The Toys That Made Us and Netflix’s very own Explained series that are short 10-20 minute episodes on all sorts of different subjects. We’d recommend maybe leaving the ‘Pandemic’ themed one though for now…

We thought it would be great to recommend you some of our ‘Ones to Watch’ during lockdown, to keep you thinking and motivated. It can be hard when the work life we’re all so used to changes so drastically, but we find putting on a Ted Talk in the morning really sets us up for the day and gets us ready to work.

Our first pick is Ted Talk How symbols and brands shape our humanity by Debbie Millman, designer and creator of Design Matters.

There are no big spoilers ahead – don’t worry. We just wanted to share a few of our favourite discoveries from the talk – like the fact that Nike’s famous swoosh logo cost only 35 dollars?!

Happy watching, we hope it gets you in the working mood!

Bass Ale was the UK’s first trademarked brand on January 1st 1876 and featured six years later in Édouard Manet's painting: A Bar at the Folies-Bergère with a nice bit of subtle product placement – see if you can spot all of the triangles in the painting (some more obvious than others).

The famous Nike swoosh that we’ve all probably got somewhere in our wardrobes or gym bags cost just 35 dollars in 1971 when it was first proposed. It didn’t receive the most enthusiastic feedback from Nike co-founder Phil Knight, but we’d hope that by now he’s happy with how much of a good investment that brand identity was.

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