Generative Brand Identities, Future Normal, and Roundup #22
It’s time to grab some pulse-enhanced foods, pick up a new book, and go when the fourth traffic light color says so—just look out for the tractor beams and biohybrid robots.
Image from Adobe Substance 3D: Taking Shape’s “Visual Escapism 1” by Mue Studio
The New New hits number two-two.
In this issue a roundup filled with “M’s” is sandwiched between my latest reflection and my freshest recommendation—grab your baguette purses; it’s almost burrito season.
The food play is done. Let’s scroll on.
One Big Thing
Generative Brand Identities
Real humans (not AI) are combining design and technology for new brand expressions.
In the branding world, multiple trendlines are swirling.
Somewhere off to the side of that, a new trendline comes out of the era of hackable brands made famous by Google Doodles, executed brilliantly for IBM Think, and achieved peak awesomeness at the MIT Media Lab.
Generative brand identities leaps one step further as it embraces variability, releases control, and builds from dynamic algorithms. The result? A single brand identity is expressed through countless permutations.
For example, Guilty by Association’s logo consistently redraws itself. Wieden+Kennedy’s new design studio lets you play with their identity generator. And incredible design studios are launching to push this field forward.
Together, at the intersection of design and technology, compelling brand identities will keep emerging. (Now, let’s hope the brand design industry can continue to avoid the tropes of today’s “sprinkle AI on everything” buzz factory.)
Burrito Season, running from March to May in the US
Fungal Food Colors, using precision fermentation for healthier food colorings and flavorings
Pulse-enhanced Foods, is starting by experimenting with putting beans in white bread
Materializing Movie Magic
Shape-morphing Robots, bringing T2 to life with a phase-shifting material called “magnetoactive solid-liquid phase transitional matter”
Walking Biohybrid Robot, set a new speed record with its part-machine, part-mouse system
Tractor Beams, also out of science fiction, just at a microscopic level
Motonormativity, or “car brain,” is a newly coined term for our cultural inability to think objectively and dispassionately about driving cars
Fourth Traffic Light Color, enabling self-driving vehicles to coordinate their efficient movement through the intersections
Self-cleaning Touchscreens, saying goodbye to fingerprints (and microfiber cloths) on your car’s screens
MusicLM, Google’s generative AI, is now making original music from text prompts
Plantd Materials, using grass to create carbon-negative building materials
Nuclear-powered Bitcoin Mining, coming to Pennsylvania
The Future Normal
How will we live, work, and thrive in the coming decade?
In a day and age where deinfluencing is the next hot TikTok thing, a new pre-release physical book is sitting on my desk. I’ve had it for two weeks, and it is already marked up, tattered, and abundantly quoted.
This is a book I was bound to love. Two of my favorite thinkers (and former work collaborators (and newsletter authors)) have come together to make their own magic. Henry and Rohit have brilliantly compiled 30 trends and over 100 stories of innovations.
Pro-tip: at the back of the book they break the trends into 18 industry-specific “playlists.” Pick your industry, read through your select trends, and move quickly to insight and then into action.
For people who like this newsletter, this is the book of the year.
Still Rattling Around
The last issue of The New New unpacked the future of Organs-on-Demand, where researchers, scientists, and entrepreneurs are working to end transplant waiting lists. Well, the state of Massachusetts had another idea. In a proposed bill, prisoners would donate their organs and, in exchange, their sentences will be slashed. After much outcry about the quid pro quo, the bill was appropriately modified.
The New New brings together the important and the irreverent across emerging experiences, culture-driven experiments, and scoops of perception.
Okay, let’s update our apocalyptic bingo cards to include real-life Terminators.