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 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. 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

The Future Of Wearable Tech And Fashion

The world today lives in fear of technology taking overparents complain of their kids being glued to their electronics, websites and advertisements can be tailored to your preferences and location in real-time, and sci-fi movies depict robots whose artificial intelligence is dangerously self-aware. The introduction of “wearable tech,” accessories with electronic capabilities, represents a shift toward compromise: items that both serve to be both functional and convenient, like the introduction of the hotly-marketed Apple Watch or Disney‘s $1 billion investment in the creation and integration of all-access “MagicBands” in their Disney World park in Orlando.
However, as wearable tech becomes more commonplace, functionality and convenience are simply not sufficient selling points by themselves anymore. Now more than ever, as exemplified by brands like Apple and Tesla, there is heavy emphasis on gorgeous product design, and companies are quickly learning to capitalize on it. While wearable tech has existed since the 1961 development of an accessory that helped gamblers cheat at casino games, the trend of marrying fashion and technology has only recently emerged. Designers have now begun releasing their own lines of accessories for the tech-savvy, like Rebecca Minkoff‘s line of wearable techmobile phone chargers and notification chips disguised as normal braceletsat New York Fashion week this past spring, or French designer Pauline Deltour‘s “Fine” collection of tech accessories, which include a Bluetooth speaker, portable phone charger, and USB keyring that are designed to mimic the beautiful designs of early 20th century Parisian vanity objects.

French designer Pauline Deltour’s “Fine” collection

The key to the success of these items, it seems, is not necessarily the introduction of a new device, but instead seamless integration. Consumers have demonstrated an interest in devices that keep them connected, but are aesthetically appealing as well. A demand for consumer electronics with a degree of artistry has driven the creation of things like Ringly, a cocktail ring that alerts the wearer of push notifications on their phone, or Cuff, a bracelet that doubles as an emergency signal. These companies advertise their products as “wearable tech that you want to wear,” desirable for fans of technology that find devices like Google Glass lacking in style, and bringing new meaning to the words “by design.”
What Sparks Our Fire: Companies that are dedicated to both purpose and beauty, making “wearable tech” truly wearable

Opensourcing The Future of Travel


A train is leaving from Los Angeles to San Francisco traveling at 56 mph and takes 8 hours to arrive. This isn’t an algebra problem, this is an efficiency problem. In 2012, Elon Musk proposed an alternative to the slow and inefficient Amtrak “Coast Starlight” train line, called the Hyperloop. The Hyperloop is a high-speed transportation system that would propel passengers between the two cities in “pods” at up to 800 mph, approximately 200 miles faster than the average cruising speed of a 747. While the Hyperloop has remained a pipe-dream for many who frequently travel between the two cities, today, Musk announced a competition that might just get the ball rolling on its development.

Open to university students and independent engineering teams, Musk has asked participants to design the pods that will carry passengers between the two cities. By opening the pod design contest to only independent engineering teams and students, Musk is clearly leaning on innovative new thinking, but also making a statement that he’s looking for the best design, not just the design that gets funded first.

While there has not been mention of a prize for winning the competition, Musk promised to elaborate more on the contest in August. Until then, applicants can learn more about the guidelines and sign up to compete on the SpaceX website.

What Sparks Our Fire: Creatively shaping the future of transportation and design through an exciting open-source competition.

Tracking Each Drop


With the announcement of some very cool updates to Apple‘s Healthkit for iOS 9, everyone’s buzzing about the new ways that health apps are helping us keep track of our bodies. Beginning with step counters, health apps now use smartphone metadata to track a range of fitness, sleep and nutritional factors, as well as the body’s vitals. However, until now, it has always been fairly difficult to track the body’s water intake with accuracy. All of this is set to change with the release of the HidrateMe water bottle and app this Winter.

The HidrateMe water bottle is a geometrically designed water bottle with a sensor in the lid that measures how much water a user has had to drink throughout the day. This sensor syncs up with the HidrateMe app to track this information and relay it to the user. The HidrateMe app takes the user’s age, gender, and weight to create a daily target water intake, and adjusts based on the humidity and elevation of his or her location. Additionally, the water bottle uses a gentle light to remind the user to drink more water throughout the day.

With just over a month to go on it’s Kickstarter, HidrateMe has raised over $214,000 in funding–six times what it was initially looking for. And with up to 75% of Americans estimated to be chronically dehydrated, the HidrateMe water bottle and app is poised to tackle this widespread health issue.

And for more info on how much water you should actually be drinking, please click here.

What Sparks Our Fire: Sleek design and creative technology pairing up to tackle one large health problem

Pixel Art and Post-its

office-mural-with-post-it-notesOver the past few years, there’s been a resurgence of pixel inspired art and pop culture of the 80s and 90s.  This trend has been spurred on by nostalgic Gen x-ers and first-wave millennials looking back to their youth and the joys of 8-bit gaming.

Last week, an SF based creative agency was looking for a way to spruce up their drab office walls.  After a couple of suggestions and internal discussions, designer Ben Brucker, found a cost effective solution to improve his office decor.


With a budget of $300, Ben and his coworkers purchased nearly 9000 multi-colored post-its to create pixelated murals of Wonder woman, Superman, Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Iron Man, Spiderman and Batman.


While it may not be a long-term solution, it’s a great exercise in creativity and team building.

Watch the entire process:

What Sparks Our Fire: Creative, cost-effective design solutions