Ain’t Got No Type

type

Love Times New Roman? Have a passion for Helvetica? Good news for designer geeks: You can now wear your favorite font as eyewear.

After the initial success of their first line, Wieden & Kennedy Tokyo and Oh My Glasses have collaborated to launch a new line of TYPE glasses, glasses inspired by different fonts, with names like Garamond and styles ranging from “Light” to “Bold”. Times New Roman is one of three new models that made their debut at a Tokyo pop-up shop last week.

Each pair of TYPE glasses are meant to reflect characteristics of their respective fonts, like lines, curves, and shapes. Each font also comes in “light,” “regular,” and “bold” to denote thickness of the frames.

“As the choice of typeface affects expression in written communication, subtle design differences in eyeglasses frames change the impression of the person who wears them,” Wieden & Kennedy Tokyo state on their website.

What Sparks Our Fire: Products that finds new ways to showcase beautiful elements of design.

Raising the Bar

obi

The next step for global connectivity? A smartphone for the developing world. And it’s designed by none other than John Sculley, former Apple executive and Robert Brunner, the designer behind Beats by Dre headphones.

The Obi Worldphone marks a greater push toward accessible technology–Sculley aims to provide developing countries in places like Africa and Southeast Asia with high-powered, affordable smartphones, which he predicts will replace their needs for personal computers.

In addition to its sleek design, the phone is tailored to its target consumers’ preferences. For example, in sub-Saharan Africa, texting, taking photos, and banking are popular uses for smartphones, so the Obi Worldphone has features like a 13-megapixel camera and a diverse marketplace of applications.

The phone will retail for $200, a reasonable price to most first-world Americans, but still may be a problem for the standard income in a developing country.

What Sparks Our Fire: A quest for a high-powered but inexpensive smartphone that makes technology more available on a global scale.

Penny For Your Thoughts

minimum wage machine

Minimum wage in the United States is recognized as a sign of financial instability, but it is rarely understood exactly how incredibly draining minimum wage labor actually is.

Blake Fall-Conroy, an artist who strives to create “socially-conscious” pieces, has conceptualized an ingenious way to demonstrate the frustrating, monotonous, and often demeaning plight of minimum-wage worker.

Fall-Conroy invented the “minimum wage machine,” a device with a hand-crank that the user turns continuously, and dispenses a penny every 4.5 seconds. An hour will earn you $8 in pennies, which until eight months ago was the minimum wage in the state of New York.

The artist hopes that the machine will help people understand the amount of work that goes into making just $8/hour, and perhaps inspire sympathy for those who work minimum-wage jobs or provoke change in legislation that will raise the minimum wage (the minimum wage in New York is now $8.75).

What Sparks Our Fire: Art that serves a purpose and sparks social awareness.

Home-Grown

living things“Living Things,” currently displayed in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Pittsburgh, imagines bioluminescent algae as home decor, creating an eco-friendly and sustainable living space.

The exhibit, which features a kitchen, living room, and a dining room, envisions a future in which the designers, Jacob Douenias and Ethan Frier, envision “photosynthetic furniture,” or pieces that contain glass vessels of algae. These vessels are wired to heat and light, which causes the algae to grow, making them a source of oxygen.

This living, breathing display is not the first that has used algae as a material; however, the designers say it could become more common in the future, because the liquid suspension of the organism makes it malleable and therefore easy to manipulate.

What Sparks Our Fire: Designers harnessing the power of nature to create homes that homes that boast both aesthetics and sustainability.

MAC + Selena: A Love Letter to Fans

Image #: 15785708    Grammy award-winning Tejano music superstar Selena, 23, was fatally shot and killed by a former business associate March 31 in Corpus Christi, Texas. The suspect, identified as Yolanda Saldivar, surrendered to police after a 9 1/2 hour standoff.  REUTERS/HO /Landov

MAC Cosmetics, a company famed for its collaborations with celebrities (and even a few fictional characters) and its bold, striking makeup looks, announced yesterday that it would fittingly release a line of cosmetics in honor of the late Tejano pop star Selena, who was known to many as “the Latina Madonna” for her style and her domination of the Latin music scene in the ’90s.

However, the most noteworthy aspect of this collection is that not only is it inspired by one of the Mexican-American community’s biggest pop icons, but it had a grassroots origin: a Change.org petition. The petition, started by Patty Rodriguez, asked for 5,000 signatures, which it earned in less than 24 hours. After just three months, the petition had garnered over 37,000 signatures.

mac selena

MAC posted an Instagram picture announcing the collaboration with the caption: “Like the legend herself, Selena Quintanilla’s fans are an inspiration to us all for their love and enthusiasm. It’s happening! We are excited to announce the M•A•C Selena Quintanilla collection, available in 2016. @SelenaQOfficial#MACSelena

In an age where social media rules consumer communication, the brand’s decision to honor the late pop star shows that it is truly built around its consumer’s preferences. Change.org boasts hundreds of thousands of victorious petitions, ranging from local government to nationwide legislation, but the announcement was seen as a direct response from the makeup company; the success of the petition has been attributed to both Selena’s loyal fans, and the brand’s willingness to listen to its customers’ demands, a pragmatic business tactic that companies like Urban Decay have found effective in the past.

The Mac + Selena collection will debut in late 2016.

What Sparks Our FireA brand that stays consistent with its image and caters to its consumers