Yesterday was World Population Day, an annual event to raise awareness of global population issues. This year, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund chose the day to kick off a yearlong push to improve investment in adolescent girls. Girls around the world face greater challenges than their male counterparts. Yet with the largest percentage of youth in history, we - as a global population - have a great opportunity to improve the future of humanity by improving the fortunes of girls around the world right now.
3D printing - or additive manufacturing, as it's officially called - is still in it's infancy, especially for anything beyond prototyping. But with our launch of Mymo a little over a year ago, we've been considering possible applications to finished products, and have learned a lot along the way. I shared some wisdom in the recently-published book How to Become a 3D Printing Entrepreneur.
To honor Earth Day this year, our friends and longtime clients Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost decided to do a little more for the environment by planting trees in urban areas across California. To help them commemorate the occasion, we made a short video in honor of California, home to some of the most iconic trees in the country.
UVC had a great year in 2011, working with clients we love to create design and branding for meaningful campaigns, products, and companies. One of our favorite projects was the UN's 7 Billion Actions campaign, which encouraged people to take action to help the other 6,999,999,999 people on Earth. So, we were thrilled to see the banner we created for the campaign appear in Google's Zeitgeist 2011 Year In Review video. With over 7 million views on YouTube (not to mention over 300,000 people who have seen the banner in person in front of the UN headquarters in NY), it might just be our most-seen project to date. Check out the video to see our work (at the 0:10 mark) and the other events and campaigns that changed the world in 2011.
As of today, according to the United Nations Population Fund, the global population has reached 7 billion people. It's a difficult number to comprehend. For example, when we were creating the 24 foot banner that is hanging outside the UN headquarters in New York (and other countries around the world) my first thought was to use the extra-large canvas to create a grid of 7 billion dots and recolor them to create the message. Until I did the math, realizing it would require 352,254 dots per square inch. To me, however, the number is just an abstract figure anyway, and not what is important about the milestone. What is important are the 7 billion individual people that it represents.
I'd like to think that one of Apple's biggest announcements recently is one of the smallest, most overlooked ones. I'm loving that they just came out with a well-thought-out AA battery charging system. Not that I need a new one. But Apple has a way of making rabid fanboys out of even the simplest things. If they can successfully make rechargeable batteries seem cool to the tech set - like they do with almost everything they touch - it could be one of the best things they have ever done for the environment.
Our officemates at HWKN just launched a cool new web site: Architizer - social media for architects and architecture enthusiasts. Go poke around and learn about some great architecture from around the globe - like Rem Koolhaas' amazing CCTV headquarters in Beijing, or the undulating Aqua Tower which I watched go up in Chicago last year. And of course, I'm partial to this one.
We are strong believers in the power of design to shape the ability to comprehend information. We have been known to get as excited about designing an infographic or clinical form as we have about a logo or brochure. Which is why I love the Op-Ed piece from Design for Democracy that appeared in the NY Times this weekend. It parallels the need for clear information on Credit Card disclosures with the design of Nutrition Facts on food packaging. These days, financial health is just as important as physical health, but the choices have gotten infinitely more complicated.