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Please Invent This

Funny little piece.

When I took classes at the CIA, chefs emphasized that technique was far more important than tools.

Same thing at ICP. The technique you demonstrate with a camera body or a lens is far more important than the equipment or the development process.

So, then, why would respective chefs suggest that dream gadgets would make them better chefs?

Self-promotion, me thinks. It’s a shame, if you think about it. Take the focus off the foods, the flavors, and the dining experience, and puts it on the equipment and the kitchen. Is that really the ticket to a better meal and happier guests?

Please Invent This: Chefs And Food Writers On Kitchen Tools They Wish They Had

via Fast Company Design

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When More Is More Is Too Much

Good insight here into the role of brands when consumers have too much of a good thing:

In fast food for example, consumers fed up with feeling they might have to discipline themselves about portion control, are now asking brands to do it for them – and recalibrating offerings in the process. Super-sizing is out. Miniaturizing is in. Small meals, small drinks, small treats … great for the brands, because proportionately consumers are paying more per mouthful for the privilege of having less mouthfuls. And great for the consumers because they feel they’re doing something that’s good for them.

The very clear message: if your brand is competing in a “more is more” scenario, sometimes the wisest thing you can do is make the case for less, not by pointing out why people should abstain, but rather by developing an offering that still feels desirable and yet also seems more responsible.

Brand Strategy And Brand Habits

via Branding Strategy Insider

In Celebration Of Beautiful Indian Newspaper Design

Mat and I traveled to India several years ago. One of the many things that has stayed with us is the vibrant media, a legacy of English rule. Few other developing nations have such an active national conversation. And it’s still taking place in print!

So, when I saw these Indian newspaper nameplates, I just had to share. The mix of colors and cursives are so striking. It suggests that there’s so much more we can be doing to refresh the printed word here in the States. I’m sure the writers out there probably agree.

On the flip side, there’s so much more we can also do with interactive design to make news on a mobile device seem fresh and captivating. The days of the infinite feed without a masthead will come to an end soon, right?

Check them out:

Immerse yourself in this great collection of Indian newspaper nameplates

via It’s Nice That

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What Bro Culture Is Really About

I’m fascinated by bro culture, the bromance, even the brogrammer. Bros seem like modern day versions of the suburban office worker, only they don’t know it. This piece in the Times peaked my interested. It’s good writing on how adult men are portrayed in modern American culture:

The bro comedy has been, at its worst, a cesspool of nervous homophobia and lazy racial stereotyping. Its postures of revolt tend to exemplify the reactionary habit of pretending that those with the most social power are really beleaguered and oppressed. But their refusal of maturity also invites some critical reflection about just what adulthood is supposed to mean. In the old, classic comedies of the studio era — the screwbally roller coasters of marriage and remarriage, with their dizzying verbiage and sly innuendo — adulthood was a fact. It was inconvertible and burdensome but also full of opportunity. You could drink, smoke, flirt and spend money. The trick was to balance the fulfillment of your wants with the carrying out of your duties.

The desire of the modern comic protagonist, meanwhile, is to wallow in his own immaturity, plumbing its depths and reveling in its pleasures. Sometimes, as in the recent Seth Rogen movie “Neighbors,” he is able to do that within the context of marriage. At other, darker times, say in Adelle Waldman’s literary comedy of manners, “The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.,” he will remain unattached and promiscuous, though somewhat more guiltily than in his Rothian heyday, with more of a sense of the obligation to be decent. It should be noted that the modern man-boy’s predecessors tended to be a lot meaner than he allows himself to be.

The sociologist in me says bro culture probably stems from larger forces in society like changing roles for women, an aging population, and technology as a means of defining identity. It’s hard for bros to figure out how to relate to others, so instead they revert to adolescence, or get stuck.

The language could be a little simpler, but this is on point.

The Death of Adulthood in American Culture

via The New York Times

Bryan Fuhr Recommends Reading The New York Times

Obvious title aside, I love these profiles of individuals reading The New York Times. Personal reading habits interest me. They are a great bellwether of media consumption, as well as distribution of the news and information that moves societies.

It’s interesting to note what people seek out in the Times, how they interpret what they read, and what they share with others. Anna Deavere Smith is a sensational actor. Her focus on foreign policy and race shows through in her performances. Now I know where she gets her material.

It’s also interesting to note the format people choose for their news. It’s obvious from this profile that Smith reads a printed paper, as it was from a profile I read of Delia Ephron the other day. I think some of it’s habit, but I also think there’s increased focus and comprehension. I’m eager to see profiles of younger, equally influential readers. I wonder what role print plays in their consumption relative to screens. Something tells me I know the answer.

Another funny observation: how guilty we feel when we can read the paper in one sitting. It’s not a race, but there is a definite sense of accomplishment in attaining currency, however the reader defines it. That feeling isn’t limited to news junkies. I think it has to do with the infinite feeds that have taken over internet media.

Last but not least, I’m still in awe of the power of the NYTimes editorial page. In an era of multiple voices and multiple opinions, it’s amazing to see how much influence a Times editorial still holds, how much power and authority it commands. Amen.

Reading the Times With Anna Deavere Smith

via The New York Times