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Slack Gets a Bland New Identity From Pentagram

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I don’t like this at all. It’s so generic. Slack’s old identity had at least three good things going for it: they owned the letter “S” (much like how Netflix owns “N” — something Netflix has doubled-down on as their identity has evolved), they owned the “#” hash mark, and most uniquely, they owned plaid. When you saw plaid with those primary colors on a white background, you thought Slack. And plaid isn’t part of any sort of design trend right now. Slack simply owned plaid, to such a degree that Slack company socks — which simply used colors and plaid, no “Slack”, no “S” were necessary to make it instantly obvious these were Slack socks — became coveted swag.

I guessed before this blog post even revealed it that their new identity was done by Pentagram. What Slack needed was a refinement of their existing design. Identify what was good, fix what was bad. What Pentagram seems to do these days, though, is throw babies out with the bath water. They only build new identies, they don’t tweak existing ones. There is nothing that says Slack to me about this new identity — no hash mark, no “S”, no plaid. And what they’ve replaced it with is generic. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, but there’s nothing quirky or charming or distinctive about it either. Just another sorta-Futura-ish geometric sans serif and a mark that doesn’t look like anything and makes for an utterly forgettable app icon.

Was there anything about Slack’s previous identity worth building upon? I say yes, quite a bit actually. Pentagram said no. Slack lost something very valuable today.

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emdot
1 day ago
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So glad my Slack socks still sparked joy when I Kondo'd my sock drawer. Now: collector's items!

Meanwhile, I agree with Gruber: they really owned plaid! You knew immediately: Slack! I don't mind their rebrand though. Rebrands happen. BUT, the other part no one seems to be talking about is their wordmark. I really loved that quirky typeface and the slight curves in the K.
San Luis Obispo, CA
steingart
2 days ago
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I’m with grubes on this
Princeton, NJ
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True Action

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“True action, good and radiant action, my friends, does not spring from activity, from busy bustling, it does not spring from industrious hammering. It grows in the solitude of the mountains, it grows on the summits where silence and danger dwell.”
Hermann Hesse

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emdot
2 days ago
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Sing it.
San Luis Obispo, CA
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Elysian Landscapes

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First day back and I’m already in the garden but who can blame me when my inspiration is provided by Los Angeles-based Elysian Landscapes. Whether a private oasis to escape from the mad L.A. hype or the public face (or should that be space) for high end retailers like Balenciaga, Balmain and Isabel Marant, the design/build firm believes “that landscape is a conduit for social engagement and can inspire meaningful connections between people, places, nature and the seasons. With an ambition toward creating dynamic environments, which join us to our context and community, our projects are vibrant, visible and integrated within our daily lives.” It’s about atmosphere, movement, colour and light, about the public and the private. (Kim’s post from over 10 years ago is here.)

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emdot
6 days ago
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I share because I swoon.
San Luis Obispo, CA
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Managing the leap reflex

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On my way to work, I need to make a left turn on a somewhat busy street.

If there’s no traffic, it’s easy. Stop at the stop sign, look and go.

And if there’s dense traffic, the decision is easy as well. Wait.

It’s interesting to note what happens when the traffic is intermittent, with a car every ten or twenty seconds. I’ll sit and wait, because the cars are on the edge of too close to each other. I mean, I could go, but it’s a high energy zoom to make it safely, and it’s easier to wait.

But… if the intermittent traffic continues, five cars, ten cars… all the same spacing… pretty soon, I’m more inclined to go for it.

This is a dumb strategy.

I shouldn’t let the persistence of the other cars push me to make a decision. Either it’s safe or it’s not.

Or consider the kid who climbs to the edge of the pool and stands there for a minute or two or five, toe in the water, thinking, waiting, being cajoled, and then, finally, jumping in.

Either it’s a good idea to jump in or it’s not. Skip the five minutes of discomfort.

And of course, this happens all the time with investing. Which is why so many investors end up buying high and selling low…

The smart self-management technique is to leap with intention. Don’t wait for a deadline. You pay a price for that. Don’t invite peer pressure. You pay a price for that. Don’t let the traffic wear you down–you might pay a huge price for that.

Managing our leaps is an essential part of innovation. In or out. Go or don’t go. But don’t hand the decision over to the market or to your peers. Professionals know when to leap.

       
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emdot
8 days ago
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This spoke to me. This speaks to me. Yes.
San Luis Obispo, CA
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Americans Greatly Overestimate Racial Economic Equality in Our Country

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One of the defining features of the United States is a deep and long-lasting economic inequality between white and black people in terms of wages, income, and especially wealth.

Average wealth for white families is seven times higher than average wealth for black families. Worse still, median white wealth (wealth for the family in the exact middle of the overall distribution-wealthier than half of all families and less-wealthy than half) is twelve times higher than median black wealth. More than one in four black households have zero or negative net worth, compared to less than one in ten white families without wealth, which explains the large differences in the racial wealth gap at the mean and median. These raw differences persist, and are growing, even after taking age, household structure, education level, income, or occupation into account.

Despite the magnitude and persistence of this inequality, Americans (both black and white) vastly underestimate racial gaps in income and wealth.

For instance, one question in the study asked: “For every $100 earned by an average white family, how much do you think was earned by an average black family in 2013?” The average respondent guessed $85.59, meaning they thought black families make $14.41 less than average white families. The real answer, based on the Current Population Survey, was $57.30, a gap of $42.70. Study participants were off by almost 30 points.

The gap between estimate and reality was largest for a question about household wealth. Participants guessed that the difference between white and black households would be about $100 to $85, when in reality it’s $100 to $5. In other words, study participants were off by almost 80 points. Participants were also overly optimistic about differences in wages and health coverage.

The full paper is here. Closing that gap will be challenging, in part because the often racist mythology around it is persistent. In a report called
What We Get Wrong About Closing the Racial Wealth Gap, the authors conclude “that the wealth gap is structural in nature, cannot be solved through the individual actions of blacks, and can only be solved through ‘a major redistributive effort or another major public policy intervention to build black American wealth’”.

Tags: economics   racism   USA
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emdot
9 days ago
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We've got a long way to go.
San Luis Obispo, CA
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Bill Bailey demonstrates major and minor keys with Star Spangled Banner

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The single best demonstration of the difference in emotional tenor between minor and major-key dominated variations of a tune -- and a great topical joke to boot, when it comes time to show the Star Spangled Banner in a different light.

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emdot
12 days ago
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Oh say can you -- WATCH OUT FOR THE FUTURE OF THE COUNTRY.
San Luis Obispo, CA
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