Social distancing logos are the design equivalent of ‘thoughts and prayers’

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McDonald’s, Volkswagen, Audi: Big brands with big bank accounts are using design to discuss coronavirus. As countries face lockdowns and “nonessential” businesses in many cities have been forced to close, brands are working overtime to keep up engagement (and sales). That has led some major companies, including McDonald’s, Volkswagen, and Audi, to modify their own logos to visualize social distancing and sheltering in place: Volkswagen’s characteristic stacked VW logo was revamped to feature a gap between the two prominent letters. Audi tweeted an animation of its four interconnected rings sliding apart. And fast-food behemoth McDonalds rebranded itself as a golden “M” split into two golden arches with a slight space between them. Read Full Story

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The most innovative space companies of 2020

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Why SpaceX, Johns Hopkins APL, and OneWeb top our annual list As the Trump administration toyed with the idea of a Space Force, the privately funded space industry chugged along with essential (if less sexy) infrastructure and technological advances. SpaceX continued work on its Starlink mega-network of satellites, which hopes to provide high-speed internet to organizations including the U.S. Air Force in even the most remote corners of the world, while companies including Swarm Technologies, Spaceflight, and Momentus set their sights on democratizing the space industry by providing alternatives to high-tech, high price-tag options. Read Full Story

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People are embracing work-from-anywhere. Where does this leave coworking spaces?

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The founder of community-based company Caveday argues that communal spaces must both cater to workers’ emotional lives and facilitate their productivity, post-pandemic. It is unsurprising that the pandemic has battered the coworking industry. “Come work near other potentially contagious people in an unventilated space” is something not even WeWork’s Adam Neumann could’ve sold as a good idea. Beloved spaces have been forced to shutter, some have managed to eke it out with reduced capacity, and the venture-backed behemoths are waiting it out, ready to capitalize on the accelerated move away from the traditional office. Read Full Story

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The ‘I Love New York’ logo is iconic. It’s also worth millions of dollars to New York state

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New York state has sent cease and desist letters to hundreds of knockoffs of the famous logo, created (for free!) by the late graphic design legend Milton Glaser. I [Thumbs Up] NY. I [Space Invade] NY. I [Wu-Tang] NY. You find phrases like these on coffee mugs, T-shirts, G-strings (yes, really). You also find them in cease and desist letters that intellectual property manager CMG Worldwide sent on behalf of the New York State Department of Economic Development to vendors of those items for violating the state’s trademark icon: I [Love] New York, designed by legendary graphic designer Milton Glaser. Read Full Story

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These outdoor classes are ‘designed to withstand hurricane-force winds’

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Colleges aren’t just looking to hold classes outside on nice days, but to support regular class meetings outside even in cold weather. When it comes to conducting classes this fall, most colleges seem to be stuck between holding in-person or remote classes, or some combination of the two. As a researcher who focuses on the design of educational spaces, I believe there’s a fourth option that’s not being given its due: outdoor spaces, such as open-air tents. Read Full Story

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