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Microsoft, Maps, Starbucks…

Amy Vainieri

Design Director, Forum One

What We’re Talking About is a blog series featuring the articles, websites, topics, and trends that the Forum One team has been chatting about.

This week we talked a lot about Microsoft’s announcement of the Surface Studio. The similarities between the two unveils were a little eerie, but the real story is which company impressed us more. I would venture that the majority of the team here at Forum One work on shiny Apple products, but even the most loyal of us were admitting that we were extremely impressed by the new Microsoft product—and it seems like we’re not alone. For the design team in particular, we’re itching to get our hands on one to experiment. It seems like the ideal product for sketching and designing. Will we get to try it out? You’ll find out about it here if we do! In the meantime, hat tip to Microsoft, you’ve convinced us to pay attention.

We enjoyed this piece from the Washington Post filled with all sorts of data visualization goodies. Twelve different maps demonstrate twelve different representations of how most of the world’s people live in so little of its space. Not all are perfectly well designed, and some points are clearer than others (my personal favorite is #4 for its succinct and powerful message), but all of the maps are thought-provoking for sure. Which one is your favorite?

In advance of the election next week, Starbucks released the “Unity” cup design intended to “[remind us] of our shared values, and the need to be good to each other”. The illustration by Shogo Ota is well done and in this divisive time, it sounds like a nice idea, right? Well, further proof we can’t have nice things because the design seems to have done the exact opposite of its intention. The main problem is likely that the timing of the release on November 1st led people to believe that this was the (apparently) anticipated holiday cup design, which in and of itself is often ripe with controversy. At some point, the limited release Unity cups will run out and the “new” holiday design will take over, no doubt to more outrage because that’s seems to be the only emotion people are capable of expressing these days, but in the meantime…sigh.

And finally, please continue to enjoy the spirit of Halloween just one more day with this tiny zombie hamster.

Written By

Amy Vainieri

Design Director, Forum One