Designs Both Real and Imagined

28. January 2016 10:26 by Steve Leigh in Business News  //  Tags: , , , ,   //   Comments

Never underestimate the importance of having a recognizable brand. Here at The Spill, we appreciate the power of having a recognizable logo. The right logo is like a royal coat of arms: an instantly-recognizable image that makes your intentions known to all who look upon it. This is as true for fictional products as it is for real ones. Any Quentin Tarantino fan, for example, knows the fictional brands Red Apple Tobacco and Big Kahuna Burger. The following two stories are about experimenting with the well-known designs of beloved franchises.

Suds Style

Sports fans' loyalty to their favorite beverages is matched only by their loyalty to their favorite team. In the battle of beers, the distinctive Bud Light logo has been a staple for decades. After more than 30 years of success, the Anheuser-Busch company decided to change it up.

Bud Light against blue background
Image via Wired.

Although the can keeps its classic blue shade, the name of the beer now sits alone in a new font. The new logo actually bears a striking resemblance to a design the beer had in the early eighties. The design change is seen as a way to appeal to the growing craft-beer demographic. Rivals Miller and Coors have likewise recently adopted minimalist designs. Although the taste of the beers hasn't changed, it remains to be seen how long-time fans will react to the changes in appearance.

May the Flags Be with You

In record time, Star Wars: The Force Awakens became the highest-grossing American film in history. The film has introduced millions of fans to the battle of the Jedi vs. Sith and created a host of new worlds. As our heroes zip from one side of the galaxy to the next, have you ever wondered what it would look like if each of the inhabited worlds had a flag of its own? One Star Warsaficionado decided to answer that very question.

Star Wars flags
Image via Wired.

New Zealander Scott Kelly has been a fan of Star Wars since childhood. Like many fans of the franchise, Kelly liked to fill in the blanks regarding details of the films that weren't specified on screen. In particular, he tried to imagine the individual societies of the galaxy far, far away. Kelly has created more than 100 flags representing the worlds featured in the Star Wars franchise. Each minimalist flag features bold colors and a simplified crest suggesting the economy and agricultural history of each world. "I tried to walk the line between traditional flag design and these far-off alien planets," Kelly says. He hasn't specified an end to his project. It's quite possible the franchise's upcoming films and TV series will inspire Kelly to make even more flags.

Little Details

Just as our world is full of products and details we take for granted, so too an imaginary world would be full of details beyond the lives of the central characters. Without uttering a single word, the brands we use every day speak volumes about us.

Soft Shoe Routine

When we travel, our mode of transportation is almost as important as our destination. Whether we're on our own two feet or seated aboard a jumbo jet, our level of comfort during travel can affect our health. Although shoe designs have changed, the need for a pair that is both functional and aesthetically-pleasing has remained constant. Recently, cutting-edge technologies have been meeting this need in a variety of unexpected ways.

My Adidas

For someone embarking on their first workout, simply choosing the right gear can be a daunting task. People frequently find themselves faced with a seemingly endless array of options. Of course, the choice is clear when the shoe is custom-made for your foot.

custom-made shoe
Image via Gizmodo.

One of the largest shoemakers in the world wants to make you a shoe designed to fit like a glove. Adidas has partnered with Belgian manufacturer Materialise to create a new custom running shoe, the FutureCraft 3D. This 3D-printed shoe is designed to fit the specs of the user's foot. According to a recent press release, the shoe "creates a flexible, fully breathable carbon copy of the athlete's own footprint, matching exact contours and pressure points." Although Adidas' shoe comes after that of rival Nike, which allows for 3D shoe-printing in one's own home, the FutureCraft 3D is the first to be designed around the user.

Nature Walk

There's no shortage of environmentally-friendly clothing materials. Nevertheless, it can be a task to find clothing that is not only environmentally-friendly, but strong and comfortable. That was the challenge one French shoe company decided to face head-on.

shoes on rocky terrain
Image via Wired

Sébastien Kopp and Francois Ghislain Morillion founded Veja in the mid-2000s with the sole purpose of creating athletic shoes in an ethically responsible way, using fair-trade labor and environmentally-friendly materials to create them. The company makes their shoes in their factory in Brazil and emphasizes making them visually appealing for potential buyers. As a reporter for Wired magazine put it, "Veja's brand of eco-friendly doesn't look eco-friendly."

Long Journey Ahead

We humans have been tinkering with shoes almost as long as we've been able to walk. The practicality of shoes makes them a perfect target for technological innovation. Ubiquitous as shoes are, their technological evolution will doubtless be felt the world over.

Tips for Keeping New Year's Resolutions

14. January 2016 10:26 by Steve Leigh in Productivity  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments

It's two weeks into the new year. Are you still upholding your New Year's resolutions? If you are, congratulations! Only 50 weeks left to go. If you have fallen off the wagon, don't be too hard on yourself. There are likely some good reasons.

Know Thyself

New York Times bestselling author Gretchen Rubin sheds some light on the matter. In this talk, she explains the four types of personalities and their attitudes about rules. Whether you're a rebel who hates to follow any rule, even if it's your own, or an upholder who follows all the rules, knowing how you and others see the world will help you get things done.

Be the Early Bird

Many productive people report they get the most done in the morning before the rest of the world wakes up. But changing your routine can be a daunting task. It turns out there are some secrets for converting night owls to early birds.

One of the mistakes people make when they want to wake up earlier is to immediately start setting their clocks to the new time they want to rise. This will shock your system and make you feel more tired. Start by setting your alarm for 15 minutes earlier. After a couple days of waking up at the new time, set your alarm for another 15 minutes earlier. This gives your body time to adjust.

From getting enough sleep to jumping out of bed, Kosio Angelov, the founder of High Performance Lifestyle has great advice for people searching for more sunlight. Watch the video above for all seven tips.

Try These 10 Tips

WebMD offers some great advice for people seeking to keep their New Year's resolutions. Tips include practicing self control, making a single change at a time, and breaking goals into achievable chunks.

Whether you're rewarding your diligence with colorful stickers, or feeling overwhelmed by your goals, we want to hear from you! Let us know what you wish you were doing better, or what you feel good about accomplishing so far in the comments below.

Tools for Learning to Learn

7. January 2016 10:26 by Steve Leigh in Technology News  //  Tags: , , , ,   //   Comments

It's a lot easier to teach kids if learning is fun; these tools and toys are helping kids learn math and programming.

1 + 1 = Fun

Math and LEGOs are two things you might not expect to find together in the average classroom. One is an area of study that many people find intimidating; the other, a beloved children's toy. This 3rd grade teacher found a fruitful way of bringing the two together in her classroom.

LEGOs and fractions
Image via Scholastic.

Alycia Zimmerman admits that she wasn't fond of LEGOs as a child. The blocks' rigid design never appealed to her. Her opinion of LEGOs changed, however, when she discovered how effective they could be in teaching mathematical concepts to her students. "As a third grade teacher, I've spent hours and hours drawing arrays, modeling how to skip-count with arrays, deconstructing arrays, and building arrays with a myriad of tiny things," Zimmerman says. "Having a collection of LEGO pieces on hand during multiplication lessons is so useful. I whip a few out to reinforce the area model, to demonstrate square numbers, and to remind my students about the commutative property of multiplication."

Preschool Programmers

There's no disputing that computer code has become the most important language of the Digital Age. The question is when students should learn to code. If you ask the folks at Fisher-Price, the answer is, right away. Students could get started with coding as soon as preschool.

Code-a-Pillar
Image via Gizmodo.

At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, the renowned toy maker debuted the Code-a-Pillar. This adorable little app-assisted device was designed to teach young children the fundamentals of coding. Although the full specs won't be revealed until the 2016 Toy Fair in February, Fisher-Price promises that the device will help develop students' thinking and problem-solving skills, and get them started in some fundamentals of sequencing.

Familiar Lessons

This being an election year, the successes and shortcomings of current educational techniques are likely to be mentioned often. What should never be forgotten is the students' eagerness to learn. The tools of study evolve, but the goal of passing on information remains ever the same.

Month List

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