Established in 2008, TaskRabbit is an online service that connects people (TaskPosters) who need something done and either don’t have the time to do it, the desire to do it, or the expertise to do it with people (TaskRabbits) that have the time, desire, and expertise to do it — perhaps, too, the need (or want) for some extra cash. The premise is simple: say you have a wall that needs to be painted and you post it as a task and establish a fee you are willing to pay, then TaskRabbits bid to do the task by submitting their own fee and expertise, you choose and the person comes in and does the job. TaskRabbit is available in few cities at the moment, like New York, San Francisco, Austin, and Chicago and there are over 4,000 vetted TaskRabbits running around doing errands and jobs. This month, TaskRabbit introduced a new logo designed in-house.
Launched in 1999, eHow, a “leading online destination for practical, trusted advice and know-how,” has grown into one of the most commonly stumbled upon websites as it hosts over 2 million articles that provide basic answers on how to do almost everything: from How to Bake Chicken (ranked “Easy”) to How to Introduce a New Logo to a Customer Base (“Moderately Challenging”). Like the subject of our last post, typeF, eHow is owned by Demand Media and has an interesting, if slightly scary business model (reported thoroughly in a 2009 article on Wired magazine) where freelance writers and/or videographers produce dozens of good-but-not-too-good articles and/or videos under very low pay but as long as the articles do well over time, the freelancers get paid residuals. In January alone, eHow attracted over 80 million unique users worldwide and this month it introduced a new logo.
I first learned about Swaptree through a presentation by one of our clients at TEDxSydney on the subject of Collaborative Consumption — itself the subject of her book, What’s Mine is Yours, for which we designed the web site. Although Swaptree has been around since 2004, it wasn’t until recently that the model has taken off and gotten more attention. Its focus is on users signing up, adding a list of books, games, music, or videos they either want to acquire or want to get rid of. Swapping. The system then matches you with equivalent swaps and through the magic of trusting strangers you put your book, video, game, or CD in an envelope, spend $2, and three days later you have a new item you want, not one that sits on a shelf. Last week I did my first swap, changing Pixar’s A Bug’s Life, which my 3-year-old deemed scary, for Toy Story, which we have yet to watch. Last week, Swaptree announced it would change its name and domain to the all encompassing Swap.com.
In mid-January, on the generous recommendation of fellow design chronicler Alissa Walker, Bryony and I were invited by Studio 360 — the beloved Public Radio International show hosted by Kurt Andersen — to tackle a rather interesting problem: Redesigning Valentine’s Day, everything from the hearts, to the roses, to the chocolates, to the expensive dinners, to Cupid. Everything we know about Valentine’s was due for a new approach. Now you might think, who would want to come up with this challenge in the first place? Well, Studio 360 has posed similar challenges in the past: Pentagram was asked to redesign Christmas in 2006 (in which I participated while employed there) and Worldstudio to redesign the gay flag in 2009. Of course, we said yes. Yes, to a project that we had to finish in less than two weeks, with no pay, and without any precedents to refer to. Regardless, we decided to approach it just as we would any identity or branding project. The results of this endeavor, along with the process that got us there, are shown below, and at Studio 360 you can listen to the presentation with our “client,” Mr. Andersen.
For those unfamiliar with motorcycles, Buell is a subsidiary of Harley Davidson that, after holding a minority stake in the company for five years, took a majority stake in 1998. Buell was started by the ex-Harley engineer Erik Buell, a former AMA Formula 1 motorcycle racer who was building his own bikes (the first Buells were built for that race). There are a couple of reasons that this rebranding is close to my heart, one of which is that I recently considered Buell’s range of cycles (though I ended up with a Guzzi).
In October of last year Brink’s Home Security, the 26-year-old consumer and residential division from security and protection company Brink’s, was spun off as its own company and went public. As part of the agreement, Brink’s Home Security would have three years to drop “Brink’s” from its name. This week the company announced its name change to Broadview Security.
As far as brand associations and alliances go, motorcycles may inspire some of the most fervent, committed and passionate. You may have in your closet both nike and adidas sneakers but you don’t have both Harley-Davidson and BMW bikes — or a Ducati — in your garage. In 2007 the Italy-based Ducati had announced that, through the “Ducati Industrial Plan,” between 2008 and 2010 they would release ten new motorcycles (which I am guessing is a lot) and as part of this push they have released a new logo.
I am by no means looking into retirement yet, but it’s never too early to start thinking about it. At least that’s what the 49-year-old AARP — don’t call it American Association of Retired Persons— is hoping for. AARP, in their words, is “dedicated to enhancing quality of life for all as we age” by “[leading] positive social change and delivering value to members through information, advocacy and service.” To be honest, I’m not quite sure I fully get what they do, but over 35 million people (who are members) do and, if Baby Boomers do plan on retiring at some point, AARP is guessing another 35 million people will too by 2015.
What better way to shake off a stint at minimal security prison and the failure of a show that was worse than its Trump-led counterpart than with a new identity? Yes, there are better ways. Truth is, and snarkiness aside, Martha Stewart’s empire seems like it never missed a beat, and this new identity is so in tune with the “Martha Look” that its evolution is as seamless and easy-looking as making squirrel-shaped centerpieces out of cloth napkins.