I don’t know any Wendy’s faithful, beyond the Frosty, which is why it’s good to see they’re debuting a new version of their burger. While they could have added some guacamole or a fourth patty, they instead looked at the design of their burger. In fact, they took away more than they added.
Tasters said they wanted a thicker burger, so Wendy’s started packing the meat more loosely, trained cooks to press down on the patties two times instead of eight and printed Handle Like Eggs on the boxes that the patties were shipped in so they wouldn’t get smashed. And Wendy’s researchers knew that customers wanted warmer and crunchier buns, so they decided that buttering and toasting them was the way to go.
In the end, Wendy’s changed everything but the ketchup. It switched to whole-fat mayonnaise, nixed the mustard, and cut down on the pickles and onions — all to emphasize the flavor of the beef. The chain also started storing the cheese at higher temperatures so it would melt better, a change that required federal approval.
“It’s not about getting real exotic,” said Lori Estrada, Wendy’s senior vice president of menu innovation and packaging. “It’s about making everything work.”
I have no idea how it tastes, but I’m intrigued by such complicated systems and how simpler can often be better. The costs of change are magnified when you have thousands of restaurants. “They thought about making the tomato slices thicker but didn’t want to ask franchisees to buy new slicing equipment.” It may have made a slightly better burger, but not a better product.
If you are at all impressed by good design, watch a couple minutes of this. My favorite part begins at 0:54. You start by seeing a desk with a chair, but the host pulls out the chair, and brings down the bed without taking anything off the desk. It’s basically magic.
The photos are devastating, but the design of the page makes it feel real. Using a slider, you can choose how much of the before or after you want to see. Something about watching the landscape change from whole to decimated and being able to control it is powerful. It’s like a simplified, horrific version of destroying a Sim City with a natural disaster. Somehow, it brings more gravity to the images.
Brand New takes a look at my favorite new logo of the year. The swirl of the P is wonderful and is 1000x more interesting than their previous logo. As part of the identity system, they’re also using Bree, which is a font I nearly used on Capn Design.
Mike Monteiro discusses the need to be picky with your partners. Sure, everyone needs to keep the lights on, but finding the right clients will make everyone happier. I found this bit most interesting.
I’m wary of working with startups in general. At least on their initial work. Even when they’re good, smart people, they’re people with dreams. People who probably walked away from their comfortable full-time jobs to follow a dream they’ve been designing in their heads for months or years. What they need is someone to flesh that out for them. They’re not usually in a mindset to have their dream messed with, nor should they be.
It’s true, people who have been scheming for years are going to have a tough time letting go, but this seems like some of the most exciting work to me. Still, Mike is right that this is not the right realm for contract work. In the case of a startup, they should either hire a designer full-time or put the design shop on retainer. That work requires commitment to see it through, which is expensive.
Frank Chimero wants to write a book about the why of design and he’d like you to help fund it on Kickstarter. I dropped some cash and I think you should too. Some of Frank’s words:
The Shape of Design isn’t going to be a text book. The project will be focused on Why instead of How. We have enough How; it’s time for a thoughtful analysis of our practice and its characteristics so we can better practice our craft. After reading the book, I want you to look at what you do in a whole new light. Design is more than working for clients.
But really, this book aims to look at the mindset and worldview that designing develops in order to answer one big, important question: How can we make things that help all of us live better?
Austin Seraphin is blind and has a story that will guarantee every designer remembers how important it is to make their products accessible.
“Can he get text messages on this?” she asked. “Well, yes, but it doesn’t read the message.” the salesman said. Mom’s hopes sunk, but mine didn’t, since I understood the software enough. “Well, let’s see, try it.” I suggested. She pulled out her phone, and sent me a text message. Within seconds, my phone alerted me, and said her name. I simply swiped my finger and it read her message: Hi Austin. She almost cried. “Leave it to Apple.” I said.
That made me tear up a little, but this just blew my mind.
The other night, however, a very amazing thing happened. I downloaded an app called Color Identifier. It uses the iPhone’s camera, and speaks names of colors.
The next day, I went outside. I looked at the sky. I heard colors such as “Horizon,” “Outer Space,” and many shades of blue and gray. I used color cues to find my pumpkin plants, by looking for the green among the brown and stone. I spent ten minutes looking at my pumpkin plants, with their leaves of green and lemon-ginger. I then roamed my yard, and saw a blue flower. I then found the brown shed, and returned to the gray house. My mind felt blown. I watched the sun set, listening to the colors change as the sky darkened. The next night, I had a conversation with Mom about how the sky looked bluer tonight.
When you put great people together, they do great things. The IE9 team asked Jason Santa Maria to show off what you could do with web fonts in their new browser. He, Frank Chimero, and Naz Hamid put together their vision of world’s fairs that never happened. Frank hit it out of the park with Atlantis, but they’re all wonderful.
A Swedish software company puts together their vision for the screen’s of the future. The stretchable display would be amazing, but seems impossible. Personally, I’m looking forward to just having more everyday items display information of my choosing. [via swiss miss]
If I ever get back into client work, I will share this post with all of my clients.
Most people don’t need to buy design. And only about half the people trying to buy design should be. Your designer should be a partner, helping you solve your problem. You have a goal in mind; the two of you work together for a solution. Getting to that solution includes researching the people you want using your object, the market for that object and who, if anyone, is trying to sell that same sort of object. If all of that sounds like a pain in the ass, and it kind of is, then don’t buy design. Hire a production team. You’ll save money.
“This project is about concealing valuables, secrets, bad habits and personal information in our workplaces. Here, hidden spaces/ messages were created within 8 general objects such as wood boards, lamps and disposable coffee cups.” Very impressive. I’d like to see how these objects were created as well. [via Fast Company Design, a great new blog]
Jon puts Ethan Marcotte’s Responsive Web Design article to work and rebuilds his blog to work in one to four columns depending on the width of the viewport. Fluid designs have been done before and they’ll be done again, but this is a nice one.
With the NBA Final, Stanley Cup and World Cup all happening around the same time, I’ve been taking in a good number of recap, live-streamed and highlight videos. It turns out people are getting a lot smarter about how they surface interesting moments in a game.
I find it annoying that recaps for games I care about are sometimes only 30 seconds long. Sure, 30 seconds of a Cubs game is enough for most people, but I’d like at least a couple minutes. The NHL has solved that with their game highlight videos (pictured above). While there’s no commentary, they show you ever goal and a selection of exciting saves and hits. This is great for finding your favorite moment from a game or getting a sense of everything that happened. MLB’s At Bat app let’s you watch a condensed version of the game in 10 minutes, but I’d like a version with just the good parts.
On Friday, we watched some of the US World Cup match on ESPN3.com. I don’t remember if these showed up during the game, but right as the game ended, I noticed all of the little tick marks on the timeline. Those were highlights for each of the teams. This is a great way to go back during the game and review some of the choice moments. I’d also love if they kept a marker of where you were when you left live time.
Have you seen any other original ways of displaying sports highlights online?
As you cross from China into Hong Kong by car, you have to move your car from the right side of the street to the left. In order to do that smoothly, NL Architects have designed the Flipper bridge. As Kottke aptly pointed out:
The only way that could be more cool is if one of the lanes went into a tunnel under the water or corkscrewed over the other lane in a rollercoaster/Mario Kart fashion.