Moving World Wednesday 20130116

It’s been a busy week this week as the Moving World gets back into the swing of things; here’s a weekly roundup of some of the news and trends from the last seven days.


Stories in focus:

News broke over the weekend of the death of Aaron Swartz, a 26 year old programmer who pioneered the XML standard and the code behind Creative Commons. As a young man, who by 20 had reached financial security through the sale of Reddit to Conde Nast, he moved his focus onto information advocacy, eventually leading him to illegally acquire a huge amount of academic journals from MIT and JSTOR (a digital library). He was arrested and charged with a felony, facing 35 years in jail, an event that friends and family say caused him to take his own life. The week saw endless tributes (including Tim Berners-Lee), and reignited discussion around the open access of data, how “information could eventually all be digitised and locked away” and flaws in the model for publishing academic content.

The British high street got a worrying hit as HMV, Blockbuster and Jessops went into administration. It is widely believed it is the high street chains’ decisions to not fully embrace the digital era early enough lead to their downfall, and disappointing sales over the Christmas period seemed to be the companies’ last hopes diminished. Consumer behaviour should see some interesting changes this year, as the barter economy moves from niche to trend.

There have also been interesting shifts in technology trends this week. Facebook UK saw a loss of 600,000 users over the festive period (a drop of 1.86%), and PC sales dropped by 6% as consumers opt for tablet devices. This raised an interesting discussion around how design now rivals technology in importance. due to the ubiquitous nature of very capable devices. “The automobile was a weird alien technology when it first debuted, then, after a while, it evolved and designers stepped in to add value to it.”

New year resolutions are being noted by large companies (for large customers?) as Coke releases an ad which tackles obesity and focuses on their calorie control offers and McDonalds replaces the toys in the Happy meals with books.

And it has been a case of new year new brand as many rebrands were released this week – ITV launched their new brand (to a not very receptive design crowd, let’s wait to see what the general public think…). Channel 4 Racing released a new logo and Neville Brody updated the mark for the Royal College of Art (where he also teaches). This sweet identity for Mexican tea shop Bonnard is also worth checking out.

As it’s been a bumper week for news as the media wake up after christmas, here’s some other things you may have missed…


Stories in brief

Startups shouldn’t shoot from the hips; urgency is the name of the game.

Ronaldo is doing an internship with Sir Martin Sorrell to learn the ways of advertising.

BM’s AI computer ‘Watson’ started swearing at researchers after finding the Urban Dictionary.

FastCo’s eight insights about the future of interactive design.

An interview with the COO of EA uncovers how to get into the audience’s head.

The difference between makes and manufacturers. Will the maker movement always be amateur?