Friday, January 31, 2014

What the Color of an Egg Yolk Can Tell

Consumers prefer eggs with a rich, bright-yellow yolk, and some places, like Southern Europe, they prefer them even darker orange-red. Meanwhile some markets, like African villages, are used to pale off-white egg yolks. How do the living conditions, diet, and external manipulations of hens bring about the desired rich colors in egg yolks, and do the rich colors really add more flavor and nutrition? It's more of a complicated equation than you might think.
Hunter Communications Original News Source:  
Dutras' The Paper

Link to article: 
Modern Farmer: Marketing Colored Egg Yolks

Excerpt: "Ask a backyard chicken farmer what the best part of owning hens is, and you’ll probably hear something about the egg yolks. Their chickens’ yolks are a rich and satisfying shade of orange, and the yolks of those $1.79-a-dozen commodity eggs literally pale in comparison.

To hear such crows of superiority, you’d think that hipster hen keepers invented brightly-colored yolks. But consumers have shown a preference for strikingly colored yolk for at least a century, and egg producers have been catering to this trend for just as long.

In a 1915 paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Dr. Leroy Palmer identified the chemical culprits behind yolk coloring.

'The consumer demands highly colored yolks in ‘fancy’ eggs throughout the year, and the eggs with pale colored yolks, so frequently found on the market during the winter months, are the object of much complaint, particularly in cities,' Palmer wrote. He found that yolk color is determined by a class of carotenoids called xanthophylls. Nearly 100 years later, this conclusion is still widely accepted.

Carotenoids are pigment molecules produced primarily by plants, and are only available to animals via diet. They include precursors to vitamin A, and many have been shown to have antioxidant capabilities.

Historically, pale egg yolks were often taken as a sign of sick or malnourished hens. But it’s not always the case. In many African countries, white corn is typically a part of chicken feed. White corn (or maize) is low in carotenoids and hens that eat it can produce eggs with yolks so pale they’re almost off-white, despite the chickens being well nourished and healthy.

And contrary to what you may learn at the farmers market, richly colored yolks are not universally preferred. Consumer demand for various yolk colors varies by region. According to the UK website 'Where the color of egg yolks is concerned, Europeans are not unanimous. A real North-South divide can be observed. While the northerners prefer pale yellow yolks, the preference of consumers for golden-yellow yolks grows as we go further south. On the shores of the Mediterranean, only bright, orange-red yolks stand a chance of reaching the plate.'

In Italy, eggs are named according to the color of their yolks, with yellows being referred to as giallo dell’uovo, and the orange yolked eggs called rosso d’uovo.

There is an egg yolk color identifier, called the DSM yolk color fan. Formerly known as the Roche Yolk Color Fan, it looks similar to the paint color fans from the hardware store, and contains 15 shades along the yellow-to-orange spectrum, and is the industry standard for assessing and comparing yolk color.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Don't Scrimp on a Company Logo

Startups and small companies may consider the time and expense of designing a logo for their business to be a lot of money wasted on vanity.  But the mistake in that kind of thinking is ignoring the big picture in the little picture. That little logo, if well-designed and thought-out, can encapsulate paragraphs worth of associations and messages in a tiny package.  Don't underestimate the value that your logo can add to your long-term branding and marketing.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:

Link to article:

Excerpt: "Your logo is the face of your brand 
Branding is central to marketing success and the ultimate recognition of your brand name as a leader in your field. Conveying a powerful message, emotion and personality to your customers is what defines your business in your industry. Your logo is a central component of that branding message.

Without a logo that conveys the branding message for your business, you’re missing a vital component. You’re throwing away the face of your company, and giving up one of the best opportunities you have for creating a visual bond between you and your customers.

Your logo can speak volumes when there isn’t room for words 
A logo does more than just looking pretty. When your logo has been tightly associated with your branding efforts, just a glance at that design will invoke feelings and thoughts associated with your brand.

Imagine trying to accomplish this within the space of a postage stamp – without using images. It’s virtually impossible. A great design will convey more than words can in limited space.

A powerful message behind your logo means that you can leverage your strong brand name to work your message into all kinds of places – in tight ad spots, on products and merchandise, clothing, and much more.

Images speak louder than words
 A powerful visual image can convey a lot more than words can in a brief period of time. Obviously, words are a powerful tool that your business needs to incorporate into your branding and marketing efforts – but when you’re limited to a glance, or a five second window to capture someone’s attention, words aren’t going to cut it.

A powerful image will catch people’s eye, and “hook” them into reading your content and following through."

Your logo is the face of your brand

Branding is central to marketing success and the ultimate recognition of your brand name as a leader in your field. Conveying a powerful message, emotion and personality to your customers is what defines your business in your industry. Your logo is a central component of that branding message.
Without a logo that conveys the branding message for your business, you’re missing a vital component. You’re throwing away the face of your company, and giving up one of the best opportunities you have for creating a visual bond between you and your customers.

Your logo can speak volumes when there isn’t room for words

A logo does more than just looking pretty. When your logo has been tightly associated with your branding efforts, just a glance at that design will invoke feelings and thoughts associated with your brand.
Imagine trying to accomplish this within the space of a postage stamp – without using images. It’s virtually impossible. A great design will convey more than words can in limited space.
A powerful message behind your logo means that you can leverage your strong brand name to work your message into all kinds of places – in tight ad spots, on products and merchandise, clothing, and much more.

Images speak louder than words

A powerful visual image can convey a lot more than words can in a brief period of time. Obviously, words are a powerful tool that your business needs to incorporate into your branding and marketing efforts – but when you’re limited to a glance, or a five second window to capture someone’s attention, words aren’t going to cut it.
A powerful image will catch people’s eye, and “hook” them into reading your content and following through


Your logo is the face of your brand

Branding is central to marketing success and the ultimate recognition of your brand name as a leader in your field. Conveying a powerful message, emotion and personality to your customers is what defines your business in your industry. Your logo is a central component of that branding message.
Without a logo that conveys the branding message for your business, you’re missing a vital component. You’re throwing away the face of your company, and giving up one of the best opportunities you have for creating a visual bond between you and your customers.

Your logo can speak volumes when there isn’t room for words

A logo does more than just looking pretty. When your logo has been tightly associated with your branding efforts, just a glance at that design will invoke feelings and thoughts associated with your brand.
Imagine trying to accomplish this within the space of a postage stamp – without using images. It’s virtually impossible. A great design will convey more than words can in limited space.
A powerful message behind your logo means that you can leverage your strong brand name to work your message into all kinds of places – in tight ad spots, on products and merchandise, clothing, and much more.

Images speak louder than words

A powerful visual image can convey a lot more than words can in a brief period of time. Obviously, words are a powerful tool that your business needs to incorporate into your branding and marketing efforts – but when you’re limited to a glance, or a five second window to capture someone’s attention, words aren’t going to cut it.
A powerful image will catch people’s eye, and “hook” them into reading your content and following through


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

With legalization comes shift in language and branding for cannabis

The path to legalization and acceptance of cannabis in the US is beginning to track the Prohibition era giving way to the modern market for alcohol. Pejoratives like "hooch" and generic terms like whiskey slowly transformed into respected brand names and less loaded descriptions as the product is recognized as less of a threat and social evil. We are now seeing the same with "weed" and "marijuana", as such references disappear in favor of the less judgmental "cannabis" and recognized strain names and artisanal branding. In 20 years even "getting high" may sound like a relic of the Cheech and Chong past.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Boston Globe

Link to article:

Excerpt: "Back in the 1990s, when my parents tried to talk to my brother and me about marijuana, the word they used was 'dope'—which for us meant either 'heroin” or 'Hello, I am a clueless baby boomer.' Slang terms for drugs are notoriously hard to pin down: Pity the poor ethno-linguist with her notepad, trailing kids through schoolyards and back alleys to quiz them about the etymology of 'crunked.'

These days, though, marijuana language is beginning to come clean. Starting this year, Colorado and Washington state have legalized recreational use; meanwhile, Massachusetts and 19 other states, plus the District of Columbia, now allow the prescription of medical marijuana. As this underground economy goes legit, language is moving along with it, serving as a kind of barometer of the drug’s political fortunes. In 20 years, calling marijuana 'weed'—or even, some say, 'marijuana'—may sound about as antiquated as asking for a glass of 'hooch' after Prohibition.

For many of the drug’s defenders, the word 'marijuana' has a pejorative meaning that dates back to the birth of the American antidrug movement. Until the early 20th century, the plant was generally known as 'cannabis,' its Latin genus name, or 'hemp'; it shows up on early American prescribing records and was dispensed as a cure-all. 'Marijuana,' a Mexican Spanish term with obscure roots, began to take over during the prohibition efforts of the 1920s and 1930s, spearheaded by Federal Bureau of Narcotics head Harry J. Anslinger and given popular voice in the newspapers of William Randolph Hearst. Like 'reefer,' a slang term associated with African-Americans, 'marijuana' was used to gin up racial fears of the drug’s social effects. NPR’s Codeswitch blog recently quoted one 1925 headline from The New York Times: 'Mexican, Crazed By Marihuana, Runs Amuck With Butcher Knife.'

Jack Herer’s 'The Emperor Wears No Clothes,' a seminal text for the medical marijuana movement first published in 1985, lays out a somewhat sensationalized version of the racist history of prohibition and refers to cannabis as 'the plant we denigrate with the slang name marijuana.' Since then, and particularly as legalization battles spread from California in 1996 across the country, 'marijuana' has become a shibboleth. 'If somebody uses "cannabis" it means he’s more or less pro-normalization, and someone who uses "marijuana" is anti,' Mark A.R. Kleiman, a drug policy expert at UCLA, told me. When Ricardo Baca became The Denver Post’s first-ever 'marijuana editor' last fall, he received a flurry of e-mails and Reddit messages begging him to change the title to 'cannabis editor' and alter the Post’s style guide accordingly. He and the Post’s copy chief decided not to, because marijuana is still the more common term. But, given activists’ energy, he said, 'I do think we’ll see more of the word "cannabis" in the coming years.'

The shift toward 'cannabis' has been accompanied by a slow creep of medical language into the lexicon. Dale Gieringer, a researcher and the California state coordinator of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, known as NORML, said that in his social circle, 'Let’s get high' has been replaced by a semifacetious 'Let’s medicate!' Dispensary names in medical-marijuana states offer a glimpse of the drug’s new quasi-medical, quasi-legal landscape, in which providers’ need to be vague (to avoid federal prosecution) meets the need to promote to a wide-ranging clientele. In Denver, names run the gamut from direct ('Discount Medical Marijuana') to white-coat-esque ('Medicinal Wellness Center') to woo-woo ('Greener Pasture Compassion Center')—each selling an image of marijuana, as well as the product itself."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Starbucks Adding Online Pre-Ordering

No, Starbucks customers are not just online hogging the bandwidth of the chain's free wifi.  They are also pretty tech-savvy and used to dealing with online- and mobile apps.  Over 10 million Starbucks customers use the company's mobile app to pay for their purchases.  

So the company, now adding more food items and pastries requiring a bit of preparation time before serving, is getting ready to add another capability.  Soon you will be able to peruse the menu of the Starbucks location you prefer, order and pay in advance, and pick up your finished order without the long wait in line. There are marketing considerations to keep in mind, but the policy certainly dovetails with the coffee giant's business plan of concentrating on building more drive-through capacity.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:

Link to article:

Excerpt: "For its next trick, Starbucks may have your order ready before you enter the store.

After reporting strong fourth-quarter earnings yesterday, CEO Howard Schultz confirmed plans to allow customers to place orders through Starbucks’s mobile app and pick them up later. 'I can tell you that we understand the value that that will create for our customer base,' Schultz said in reply to a question on the company’s conference call. He added, 'You can assume that over time we will lead in this area.'

Starbucks first mentioned 'mobile ordering' to investors in 2012, but didn’t elaborate on its intentions.

Pre-ordering would make sense for Starbucks as the coffee giant increasingly focuses on food, which is its fastest-growing segment. ”Everything we’ve seen so far encourages us that we’re just beginning to go after what is a big, big food opportunity,” CFO Troy Alstead said yesterday. Food is more complicated to prepare than coffee and can slow down service in Starbucks stores. 'We’re definitely looking to increase the speed of our lines,' spokeswoman Linda Mills told Quartz today.
Some restaurant chains, like Chipotle, already allow mobile pre-ordering. Starbucks’s big advantage in this area would be that so many customers—over 10 million—already use its mobile app to pay for their orders."

Monday, January 27, 2014

Top Ten Brands in Consumers' Eyes 2013

There are many measures of a company's stature, like raw sales, market share or brand recognition.  YouGov has conducted an annual survey which measures the public's perception of top brands by what they know and have heard from the media, positive and negative.  Bad news, such as Target's data breach and Google's aggressive collection of user information, can knock a company out of the top list.  And positive publicity for a brand's sales and innovative products can rocket it up the list, as Amazon did this year. The e-tailing giant shot past last year's top-performing Subway to become the nation's most highly regarded retail brand.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:

Link to article:
The Best-Perceived Brands of 2013


Friday, January 24, 2014

Football As Football? Reimagining NFL Logos as Soccer Team Crests

In the weeks leading up to the Big Game (which must not be mentioned by name at the risk of angering the copyright gods), one of the popular memes that popped up is redesigning the logos of the 32 NFL teams in different styles.  We have seen them done as stuffy British prototypes, obese American symbols, and snobby hipsters.  Now a clever bunch of designers has taken each team and set out to reimagine its logo in the style of British, German, Italian or Spanish soccer teams.  Eventually each team will be done over in all four styles.  For now the results are cool and beautiful.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:

Link to article:
NFL Logos as European Soccer Badges

Excerpt: "The best thing on the internet right now is Football as Football, a site that redesigns NFL logos as if they were crests for European soccer teams.

(If the site's down for you right now, try back in a bit.)

It's the work of six designers and developers based in Minneapolis, and it doesn't seem to be a commercial enterprise—there are no posters or prints for sale. But even for a labor of love, the designers' commitment here is stunning. The logos are sorted into styles from four different soccer nations, each with their own distinctive tendencies. The NFC and AFC East teams have been reimagined as German club crests; the North divisions as Italian; the Souths as English; and the West teams as Spanish.

The best part is this: it's just getting started. Yesterday's release was Part 1 of 4. But the time it's all said and done, Football as Football hopes to produce four crests for each NFL team, one in each European style."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chicago Artist Projects Typographic Letters to Transform Urban Landscape

1960s Pop Art often relied on "supergraphics", words and pictures blown up to gigantic proportions that  spilled over past their chosen space.  In a minimal approach to the same idea, Chicago artist Audra Hubbell uses projection of single typographic letters and numbers on various roads, walkways, buildings and other locales to transform the urban landscape with the pure power of the letter's shape.  The results are striking and beautiful.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
The Huffington Post

Link to article: 
Artist Transforms The City Of Chicago Into A Giant Typography Playground

Excerpt: "It's strange to think that although we encounter letters and numbers all the time, the little guys are normally confined to a page or a screen. That is, until one bold MFA student dared to take her ABCs out of the two-dimensional world and into her environment -- the urban playground of Chicago.

Audra Hubbell embarked upon this artistic endeavor for her MFA thesis, in which she explored the power of large-scale typography. By projecting gigantic, single letters onto Chicago's buildings, streets and art installations, Hubbell illuminates how surrounding space shapes her letterforms, and how they in return shape space. It turns out, the relationship was quite amicable. 

'The three-dimensional space transformed the letterforms into completely unexpected shapes,' Hubbell explained in an email to the Huffington Post. 'The project became about finding the perfect harmonies in the formal qualities of the letter and the visual themes of the space itself.'

Cast in noir-style darkness, the minimalist letters radiate an ominous and powerful air, showcasing their power to stand alone -- outside language -- as pure shapes. Projected alongside everything from rural train tracks to Anish Kapoor's 'Cloud Gate,' the letters turn Chicago's landscape into a stunning and cryptic message."

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Impress Your Friends--the Code Behind IKEA Product Names

Do you sometimes get the feeling that IKEA is playing a wry Scandinavian joke on all of us non-Swedish speakers, and piling up a bunch of letters and odd symbols into completely random, meaningless "names" for their products? Well, sorry to disappoint you conspiracy theorists out there, but there is an actual organized system behind the names. 

When Ingvar Kamprad started the company, I guess he realized that flat-pack, do-it-yourself furniture and housewares was enough of a radical idea already, so he rejected the idea of just assigning a stock number to each item.  He instead gave each a name based on a Scandinavian place, man's or woman's proper name, or other common expression.  And here is the breakdown of how the names are classified:

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Business Insider

Link to article:

Excerpt: "Where do these crazy names come from? It turns out they are part of a system created by dyslexic founder Ingvar Kamprad, who wanted to avoid relying on numbers.
Here's the system:
  • Upholstered furniture, coffee tables, rattan furniture, bookshelves, media storage, doorknobs: Swedish placenames
  • Beds, wardrobes, hall furniture: Norwegian place names
  • Dining tables and chairs: Finnish place names
  • Bookcase ranges: Occupations
  • Bathroom articles: Scandinavian lakes, rivers and bays
  • Kitchens: grammatical terms, sometimes also other names
  • Chairs, desks: men's names
  • Fabrics, curtains: women's names
  • Garden furniture: Swedish islands
  • Carpets: Danish place names
  • Lighting: terms from music, chemistry, meteorology, measures, weights, seasons, months, days, boats, nautical terms
  • Bedlinen, bed covers, pillows/cushions: flowers, plants, precious stones
  • Children's items: mammals, birds, adjectives
  • Curtain accessories: mathematical and geometrical terms
  • Kitchen utensils: foreign words, spices, herbs, fish, mushrooms, fruits or berries, functional descriptions
  • Boxes, wall decoration, pictures and frames, clocks: colloquial expressions, also Swedish place names
Fascinating, right? Unfortunately, this system is so complex and has so many exceptions that even Swedes may be mystified — though they will find it easier to understand the humor in many names."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Google Glass? Try Google Diabetic Contact Lens!

How's this for a futuristic device? Google is testing a contact lens that performs real-time testing every second of a wearer's blood glucose level and transmits the information.  Diabetics equipped with the lens (a soft contact lens with a sensor, chip and antenna embedded inside layers of plastic) would never need to perform the messy, inconvenient and painful pricking of their finger and drawing blood to test their levels of blood glucose.  The constant updating of information could also help diabetics to know exactly what triggers rises in their blood glucose.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:

Link to article: 

Excerpt: "This isn’t Google Glass in a contact lens, but it may just be Google’s first step in this direction. The company’s Google X lab just teased a smart contact lens on its blog that is meant to help diabetics measure their glucose levels.

The company says it is currently testing prototypes of this contact lens that use a tiny wireless chip and a miniaturized glucose sensor. These chips are embedded in between two soft layers of lens material.

In its announcement, Google notes that scientists have long looked into how certain body fluids can help them track glucose levels. Tears, it turns out, work very well, but given that most people aren’t Hollywood actors and can cry on demand, using tears was never really an option.

According to Google, the sensor can take about one reading per second, and it is working on adding tiny LED lights to the lens to warn users when their glucose levels cross certain thresholds. The sensors are so small that they 'look like bits of glitter.'
Google says it is working with the FDA to turn these prototypes into real products and that it is working with experts to bring this technology to market."

Monday, January 20, 2014

Starbucks Thinks Local With New Design Strategy

When Starbucks grew from a local Seattle coffee shop company into a worldwide conglomerate, it learned the hard way that planning and designing everything from the central HQ in the Pacific Northwest was not the optimal way to adapt to local customs and conditions. So in a new strategy, the company is sending the design teams out into various regions to come up with individualized approaches that fit their environments. That's how the chain has come up with every kind of adaptation from a doucle-decker train car Starbucks in Switzerland to a jazz-inspired cafe in New Orleans with brass instruments hanging from the ceiling in a makeshift chandelier.  And a new concept for a Starbucks drive-through pre-fabricated from shipping containers has already grown to 11 examples, and may be the model for the 60% of new construction that the coffee giant plans to devote to drive-through locations.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:

Link to article:

Excerpt: "There was a time when Starbucks really was the coffee shop next door, but that was a long time ago. The company opened its first shop in Seattle in spring of 1971 and stayed relatively small (under 100 stores) for the next 20 years. Of course, since then Starbucks has boomed to be the largest chain of coffee shops in the world. Today, there are more than 18,000 shops worldwide.

But let’s go back in time a bit. In the mid 2000s, the chain was doing great, opening a store a day, branching into new territories like Asia and South America. The design team had opening new shops down to a science—or at least a kit of parts that made it easy to launch a cafe with as little risk and time as possible. Come 2007, the economy went south, and so did some of Starbuck’s business. In 2008, the company closed around 600 shops, prompting a change in senior leadership, and ultimately a change in design thinking.

The company polled customers to find out what they thought of their not-so-little local coffee shop. It turned out that for a lot of people Starbucks was becoming synonymous with fast food. 'The customers were saying, "Everywhere I go, there you are," and not in a good way,' Sleeth says. 'We were pretty ubiquitous.' Ubiquity isn’t a bad thing; it meant people wanted what they were selling.

But what’s good for the bottom line (mass production makes things cheaper) isn’t necessarily good for the brand. Starbucks execs wanted to transition from the singular brand they’d been working to establish worldwide, to focusing on more locally relevant design for each store. 'There are lot of reasons people come to us; we know people come to us because of consistency quality, speed,' says Sleeth. 'But we need to do something that felt authentic.' But how?

To Design Local, You Have to Be Local  
They began by getting people out of Seattle. In 2008, nearly all of the company’s designers were stationed at the company’s headquarters in the Pacific Northwest. This meant someone who was designing a new store for a neighborhood in Houston or Chicago or New York had maybe never even been to the city they were creating a store for.

'We couldn’t design locally relevant stores, stores that would resonate with our customers from Seattle,' Sleeth explains. So they began relocating their design team, pushing them out from the headquarters into the actual communities where they would be designing stores. Today, Starbucks’ more than 200 designers are working out of 18 design studios around the world, with 14 of them stationed in the Americas."

Friday, January 17, 2014

Autos Become Like Smartphones in New Models Shown at CES

Not everything shown at CES 2014 was a device for home entertainment or a new internet-connected appliance. Attendees noticed that the Electronics Show this year turned into a pop-up auto show, with nine automakers touting their self-driving or "smartphone-inspired" models. A new alliance between Google, GM, Honda, Audi, Hyundai, and chipmaker Nvidia will bring a unified standard for connected automobile operating systems based on the open-source Android OS. And several automakers plan to introduce 4G internet connectivity to their vehicles.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Los Angeles Times

Link to article:

Excerpt: "When it comes to CES, most people think of small portable devices and other electronic gadgets.
But this year the hottest new gadget at the giant consumer electronics show may well be the car.

Automakers are embracing smartphone and mobile computing technologies, and looking into ways to safely integrate our digital lives into our driving experiences.

The big news from nine of the big automotive firms appearing at the show is a plan to make new vehicles a little more like the smartphone with a big push toward 'an industry standard' for connected cars and 'in-vehicle mobile app ecosystems.'

Many of the car companies showcasing at CES say they have opened up their in-car systems to encourage outside developers to create apps that add functionality to their cars – similar to the way apps let users do so much with smartphones.

BMW demonstrated a way of controlling its new i3 electric car with Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch, using Bluetooth wireless technology.

But don't count on sending voice commands through the watch to blast the air up in the i3. That feature is still in the works.

General Motors executives say the company will offer weather and music apps, viewable on an in-dash screen, plus a vehicle health app for troubleshooting problems with the car. Executives say they have plans to give their vehicles built-in 4G high-speed broadband.

Ford also said it's putting intelligent systems in its cars and trucks that work with smartphones to enable drivers to listen to music and stay in touch while on the go."

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A perfect gift for the kids of your design-oriented friends?

They say that with the disappearance of cursive and other handwriting, the importance of typography will be even more important to future generations.  Choosing attractive and distinctive fonts will be a way to distinguish oneself and express your personality.  So why not introduce your kids to the fundamentals of typography at an early age?  That's the concept behind a new children's book called "The Clothes Letters Wear", aimed at three year olds. Everything in the world of typography, from X-height to serif, is explained in the context of clothing that language wears to decorate itself for any occasion.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:

Link to article:
A Picture Book to Teach Children Typography

Excerpt: "They say necessity is the mother of invention, but new parenthood isn't bad for coming up with new ideas either. 'After my son was born, I found that his very simple books started me thinking about a lot of basic concepts that I would have normally taken for granted,' says designer Jeremy Dooley.

One concept in particular was typography. Dooley designs typefaces for a living--almost two years ago he worked on a Chatype, a custom font created for the increasingly techy city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. 'Despite type’s ubiquity, most people don’t really think about how we have to "dress them up,"' Dooley says of his work. 'Since this is such an essential part of our communication, I wanted to do something special for my son to help him recognize fonts and understand why they’re important.'

Which is how Dooley came up with The Clothes Letters Wear. The picture book, for kids up to three years old, teaches tots about serif, sans serif, and all the nuanced iterations for type through illustrations of letters playing dress up. In The Clothes Letters Wear, a wedge serif version of the letter A isn’t some esoteric set of angles--it’s an adorable character wearing shoes.
'I want children to understand that letterforms represent creative possibilities for them' Dooley tells Co.Design. 'How we write letters has shaped and is shaped by technology.' Indeed, it’s not so hard to imagine that this generation of kids will skip penmanship in favor of studying type design. As if to add emphasis to that point, Dooley even created a custom typeface for the book: Cabrito, which means 'little goat' in Spanish. It’s based off of Bookman Old Style, which is often used for kid’s books. To make Cabrito even more legible for little eyes, Dooley pulled from the latest in research in legibility and made the the x-height (type talk for the height of lowercase letters) taller."

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Holiday 2013 Sales Rough on Many Retailers

Year-end reports from retailers paint a disappointing picture. Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Well, at least Macy's did well... With the success of online holiday shopping and the bottom-line mentality of shoppers that forced brick and mortar retailers to discount their holiday offerings earlier and deeper than they would like, it was not such a happy holiday for most of the US' big retailers.  Among the worst-off was Sears' Holdings, owner of Sears and K-Mart. Shortly after it announced that sales for the holiday period had dropped a shocking 9.2 percent from 2012, its stock price tumbled by 13 percent.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
The New York Times

Link to article:

Excerpt: "Sears Holdings released bleak holiday sales figures on Thursday, as year-end reports and company data from other retailers painted a disappointing picture of the overall season, with little growth over the year before.

Sears stock plummeted more than 13 percent in after-hours trading, after an announcement disclosed that sales at its Sears stores in the United States dropped 9.2 percent during the nine-week period that ended Jan. 4. Sales at Kmart stores that have been open at least a year fell 5.7 percent during the same period.

'The results that we posted are not nearly what we want them to be,' Edward S. Lampert, chief executive of Sears, said in a company blog. 'They also overshadow all of the work that’s being done by our associates, our vendors and the other businesses we work with, along with everyone who is developing better ways for us to serve our members.'

The company has been struggling to retain its core customer base, and had announced that it would spin off its auto centers and its in-store Lands’ End sections.

For retailers more broadly, little hard data had been released before this week that gave an overall picture of the 2013 holiday season. Now it appears the season was lackluster for many retailers, occasionally even grim.

Analysts warned that even where the sales numbers were decent, this season’s extraordinarily aggressive discounting had most likely taken a bite out of stores’ profit margins.

'I would categorize it as a season most retailers would prefer to forget about,” said Ken Perkins, founder of Retail Metrics. In contrast to improving employment, a rising stock market and increasing home values, he said, “it was a tough holiday season.'

The research firm ShopperTrak found that brick-and-mortar store sales in November and December were up 2.7 percent over the same period last year, while foot traffic fell 14.6 percent as more customers researched their purchases ahead of time online.

Thomson Reuters said on Thursday that December sales for nine major retailers, largely in apparel, that reported results this week, grew 2.4 percent over the previous year. That was better than the 1.9 percent analysts expected, according to Reuters, but not much to celebrate. The two teenage apparel stores in that sample, The Buckle and Zumiez, did especially poorly.

'The landscape overall wasn’t great, but teens took it on the chin the most, if you had to pick a sector,' said John D. Morris, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets."

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New Sculptural Bulb Can Make Us Forget About Incandescent

One of the changes that 2014 ushered in is the further encroachment of LED and compact fluorescent lighting, and the elimination of more incandescent bulbs.  For those of us who worry about aesthetics, most of the new generation of lightbulbs are garish and graceless.  Fluorescents are harsh and unnatural, and LEDs can have an odd-colored cast and not work well with dimmers.  So when someone invents a new concept in bare bulbs that are sculptural and beautiful on their own, and also give off a soft, pleasant light that works well with dimmers, it's almost enough to make us forget those lovely old energy-wasting incandescents.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:

Link to article:

Excerpt: "As we have noted previously, the bare bulb has become a permanent fixture of the 21st-century interior, a design object in and of itself that no longer needs to be covered but can shine on its own, naked and unadorned.

Many of the bare bulbs hanging in style-conscious lofts and hotel lobbies are of the energy-guzzling Edison variety. But British company Plumen provided an ecofriendly, design-forward alternative with the release of Plumen 001 in 2010. It was the kind of game-changing object that produced a light bulb moment when you first saw it, with its fanciful twisting glass tubes that looked more like a sculpture than a bulb. It is now sold in 47 countries and belongs to the collections of MoMA, the Cooper-Hewitt, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

But if the Plumen light bulb was exciting to look at, its bright light, which was designed as an alternative for the 60W incandescent light bulb, wasn’t as easy to live with. Yesterday, the company introduced Plumen 002, a new iteration of the bulb designed to work on a dimmer and create cozy ambient light for 'wind-down rooms and spaces.' The Plumen 002 uses 75 percent less energy than a 30W incandescent bulb.

In a press release about the launch, Plumen pointed out that while the 001 bulbs are sold worldwide, 'the company is a minnow in an industry selling billions of light bulbs a year.' In an effort to keep their prices competitive (around $35 according to current projections), Plumen launched a Kickstarter campaign yesterday to draw on support from its worldwide fans; twenty-four hours later they are already halfway to their goal.
'The world needs beautiful energy efficient light bulbs just like it needs Tesla’s gorgeous electric cars,' reads the Kickstarter pitch.' Reducing our energy consumption should feel like a positive, life-enhancing choice, not a compromise.'"
Plumen 002 was inspired by the sculptures of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The ten best gadgets on display at CES 2014

The annual Consumer Electronics Show, which finished last week in Las Vegas, s a showcase for new directions and big ideas in the world of technology.  

But not everything that comes out of CES is a 105" curved-screen 4K television like the ones that G and Samsung just demo'ed.  For every giant leap for mankind at CES, though, there are a bunch of small steps as well.  Wired Magazine was on hand to document them, and here's their list of the top ten gadgets that caught their attention during the week of the Show. (We'll show you the first three to whet your appetite, so click through to the original article and see the full ten.)

Hunter Communications Original News Source:

Link to article:
We pick the ten best gadgets at CES

Excerpt: "Of all the consumer electronics (and other products of varying origin) we saw at CES 2014, these are our picks for the most interesting, the most important, and the most awesome.

Oculus Rift

For the second year in a row, the Oculus Rift was one of the coolest things we saw at CES. The company's new Crystal Cove prototype has unbelievable head tracking, letting you lean in and out and look at objects from multiple angles. For example, you can now lean forward, angle your head and peer around a wall. They've also come very close to licking the immersion-quashing latency issues (lag time) of the previous prototype with some innovative new tricks. There's basically no discernible motion blur.

This year, nearly every member of our CES team got a demo, and we all had the same post-Oculus reaction: giddy, wide-eyed amazement. It's one of those rare products you know will change everything when it finally gets a consumer release.


Sony Handycam FDR-AX100

It's always great when a company figures out a way to make brand new tech affordable (see the Vizio P-Series TVs). At this year's CES Sony managed to do it with a 4K camcorder. Well, sort of. The $2,000 FDR-AX100 is still kinda pricey, but it's more than half the cost of last year's massive FDR-AX1. Even better, it has the same size sensor found in the insanely excellent RX100 and RX10 cameras: a 1-inch-type Exmor R CMOS to be precise. Throw in built-in Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities -- which let you transfer footage wirelessly and pair the AX100 easily with NFC-enabled mobile devices -- and you have something we weren't expecting for a quite some time: a legitimately awesome prosumer 4K camcorder.

Sony 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector

This was one of the most mind-blowing devices we saw at the show this year. It's a projector that sits on the floor and fires upwards, turning your blank wall into a massive 147-inch 4K screen. It is the home theater device of the show. It's got a gorgeous, sleek, minimalist design that looks like a work of art. But then it comes alive to fill the room with a true theater-quality visual and audio experience. Sony says its Ultra HD movie machine will ship this year, but the company hasn't announced any pricing yet. You should count on it being expensive."

Friday, January 10, 2014

Shopping Malls Adopt the Feel of Downtown to Lure Shoppers

Shopping malls are no longer the next big thing, now that web shopping is more immediate and economical than a trip to the local shopping center.  So the most recent meeting of the ICSC in New York focused on the necessity to lure shoppers back into traditional enclosed malls again. Inviting exterior storefronts, outside dining and entertainment areas, luxury retailers and high-end restaurants are a few of the elements that create a downtown shopping experience at your nearest shopping center.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Refinery 29

Link to article:

Excerpt: "At the International Council of Shopping Centers' conference, held earlier this week in New York, WWD reports that the group stressed the need to revitalize traditional, enclosed shopping centers. The plan is to expand malls with more street-facing storefronts and outdoor space for dining and entertainment and to attract higher end luxury tenants. Investors are also looking to bring the mall in from the suburbs, with developers eyeing disused, urban industrial spaces in New York, Chicago, and other major cities.

Interestingly, the definition of 'luxury tenant' has changed, too. Real estate investors are increasingly looking to anchor their shopping centers with upscale restaurants, which, in these everyone's-a-foodie days, often do a brisker business than department stores. 'The average restaurant does $13 million a year,' one investor reports. Again, placing the restaurants at the shopping center's perimeter is an important part of this strategy. Developers want luxury shoppers and diners to go directly to the stores and restos they like, without having to walk through the center of the mall (and past the huddled masses at the traditional Taco Bell food courts, we presume).

Even if you're not in the market for a new Burberry trench or 2.55, the mall 2.0 offers the benefit of being more pedestrian-friendly and revitalizing former industrial zones and other off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods. Anyone who's visited New York's Chelsea Market — formerly a Nabisco factory and now an urban food court, shopping center, and tourist destination par excellence — can attest to the power of the fancy food-and-shopping combo in helping to revive an entire neighborhood."

Thursday, January 9, 2014

CES 2014 Focuses on Internet-Connected "Things"

The International Consumer Electronics Show comes to Las Vegas this week, and as usual starts the year off by defining the theme of the consumer market in electronics for 2014.  After the past few years of smartphones, tablets, and ultralight portable laptop computers, this year's focus is both more streamlined and simple, and potentially more all-encompassing and game-changing.  

2014 is the year where everything you use and buy begins to be internet connected.  Pundits call it "the internet of things". The last few years we have seen the connected "smart home", where home security, a/c and heating, power usage and video surveillance all come under the control of internet and smartphone apps.  That spirit has taken hold and soon everything from sports and fitness equipment to home appliances and light bulbs will be connected to the internet.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Los Angeles Times

Link to article:

Excerpt: "Gadget by gadget, people are coming to expect that even the most common things will be more useful when they are connected. Pets. Livestock. Sports equipment. Watches. Power meters. Light bulbs. Washing machines. Thermostats. If you can think of it, someone has probably stuck a sensor on it and connected it to the Internet.

'I think a lot of this is going to start with the smart home,' said Kelly Davis-Felner, a representative of the Wi-Fi Alliance, whose members have played a key role in enabling this connected world. 'The smart home is going to be built brick by brick until 10 years from now we're going to be looking back and saying, "Wow, I can't believe there used to be a time when everything wasn't connected.'"

This type of connectivity is already widely embraced by businesses, which use sensors to wirelessly track supplies, packages and the performance of machinery. But big drops in the cost of computer memory and sensors, coupled with dramatic improvements in battery life, are pushing the spread of connected devices to consumers.

'We're seeing an acceleration of uses with the consumer Internet of things,' said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst for Moor Insights & Strategy. 'You could have done many of these things before. But the battery life might have been one hour. Now it lasts a week.'

Thanks to the mobile computing revolution, these connected devices don't need big computer screens and buttons to be useful. And they never need to be plugged into a desktop computer to be synced. Smartphones and tablets increasingly serve as the dashboards to control them.

For instance, a Fitbit wristband that tracks the user's physical activity and calorie intake needs only a tiny LED screen. The information is beamed to a smartphone app, where it can be stored, processed and tracked.

'On many of these devices, sensors pull off the unique information and feed them to your smartphone,' said Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and director of research for the Consumer Electronics Assn., the trade group that runs CES. 'These devices don't need to be computers by themselves.'

There is no single killer app driving this adoption. Many of the devices have only a single purpose or function, which, given their low cost, seems to be fine with consumers.

Connectivity has also become laden with tremendous hype created by a consumer electronics industry that needs to continuously find new gadgets to sell. Many of the industry mainstays, such as televisions, PCs and even smartphones and tablets, are seeing their growth slow or sales decline as it becomes harder to produce breakthroughs that inspire people to replace older devices.

As a whole, connected gadgets are being marketed as devices that will help consumers lead healthier, happier and safer lives. Smart homes will use less energy. Connected cars will prevent accidents and be more fuel efficient. Wearable computers will help users stay fit and improve their moods, proponents say."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Notegraphy takes Instagram Approach to Typography

A new app for iOS and the web, Notegraphy takes your text and adds any of a dozen "styles", Instagram-type filters that give a custom typographic treatment to your notes. The simplest statement or personal poem takes on a grand, sweet, funny or austere edge when the Notegraphy app applies typography fonts, styles and composition.  You can share to your Notegraphy social media contacts, or, more likely, post your creations on other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
The Next Web

Link to article:

Excerpt: " If you sit down with any experienced graphic designer, they’ll happily talk to you for hours about the importance of typography. It’s everywhere you look, from huge billboard ads to the front of your favorite t-shirt. Type can reflect many emotions, but most of us rarely notice its profound impact.

Notegraphy is an iOS and Web app that wants everyone, regardless of their experience in Adobe Illustrator, to have fun with typography and create vibrant, sophisticated examples that can then be shared with their friends online. Just as Instagram made photo-editing dead simple and accessible, Notegraphy wants to do the same with type.

The iOS and Web app are almost identical in their functionality, but for the purposes of this review we’ll just be running though the mobile incarnation. For starters, you’ll need to tap the pen icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen, and then write out your chosen quote or phrase, just as you would in a traditional text editor.

Notegraphy then offers a number of different templates, referred to as Styles, to transform your text into a beautiful piece of typography. They’re lined up from left-to-right along the bottom of the screen, and tapping each one will show you an updated preview near-instantaneously. The app offers three different color combinations for each Style, but otherwise that’s all there is to it."

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Year of Starbucks Eating and This Women Has no Regrets

Granted, Starbucks has broadened and "beefed up" its food offerings in recent years, nd since teaming up with La Boulange has offered fresh hot pastries as part of the menu.  But have you ever considered living on nothing but the food you can buy at Starbucks?  Seattle woman Beautiful Existence (yes, really) takes each year as a challenge to complete a year-long personal goal.  For 2014 it will be to take up 80 different recreational sports.  But last week Existence finished 2013, her year of eating only food on the menu at Starbucks in her hometown.  Aside for a bit of sticker shock at the price of eating out at retail prices ($7000 for a year's meals) she is in good health and not even bored with the offerings.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
The Huffington Post

Link to article:
Yep, This Woman Ate Only Starbucks Food for a Year

Excerpt: "One year ago, we wrote about Beautiful Existence, a Seattle woman who vowed to eat only food from Starbucks for an entire calendar year. Well, folks, Ms. Existence successfully completed her endeavor.

The 40-year-old woman spent from $500 to $600 per month on meals. We're guessing Beautiful Existence is grateful that Starbucks vastly improved its food offerings this year with items from La Boulange. She was a big fan of Evolution Fresh smoothies (a brand that Starbucks owns).

At the end of the 365 days, Beautiful Existence celebrated with fish and chips.

Curious as to why she decided to attempt this challenge in the first place? In an early blog post, Beautiful Existence writes:

'So again, WHY? am I doing this challenge? Or WHY? will I do any challenge in the future? Because I LOVE being human and I LOVE the privilege of being able to ask the question WHY? in the first place! I love the question WHY? because sometimes I find that the answer leaves me with even more questions about life… and then, my circle starts all over again and I wouldn’t want my WHY? any other way.'

While the Starbucks year might be behind her, Beautiful Existence has a new challenge for 2014. She's going to try to learn 80 recreational sports."

I lived Starbucks by only eating and drinking their products for 365 days. As depicted in this video...

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Words Enter the Language in 2013

Every year has its distinct contributions to colloquial American English.  News stories, celebrities, and popular culture trends all have their lingo, and often a word from those realms escapes its shackles of anonymity and is taken to the world's heart.  The following list lays out which words were newly minted, portmanteau'ed from a pair of existing words, or simply acquired a whole new meaning this year.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Wall Street Journal

Link to article:
The Words Which Popped in 2013

Excerpt: "Rather than bemoaning the frothy and fleeting nature of new words and phrases, however, we can embrace it. The effervescence of language, the constant churning of those bubbles, serves as evidence of something more enduring: the always-present creativity of our word-making faculties, innovating in ways both serious and playful to find novel ways of labeling social phenomena and experiences.

And at a time plagued by anxieties over how our communications are being monitored, with our data perhaps stashed away in some secret National Security Agency facility, there is great solace to be found in ephemerality. As my Wall Street Journal colleague Farhad Manjoo wrote in his tech column last week, services such as Snapchat are taking advantage of a newfound interest in 'ephemeral messaging': interactions that leave hardly a trace. Let us pause to look back at some of those ephemeral messages that bubbled up in 2013.

Where better to start than with the words we use for online chatter? Since the way we converse with each other electronically is very much in flux, the metalanguage we use to talk about such talk is changing too. Those keeping track of the latest Twitter trends, for instance, would have noticed the rise of the 'subtweet': Short for 'subliminal tweet,' it is the equivalent of talking behind someone's back, tweeting about a person without including his or her Twitter handle.

A more malicious kind of online interaction goes by the label 'catfishing,' which hit the news back in January, when Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o was revealed to have been the victim of an elaborate online hoax. When someone is 'catfished,' a love interest turns out to be nothing more than a fabricated identity on social media. MTV continues to air a reality series called 'Catfish,' spun off from the documentary that gave the phenomenon its name, but interest dropped precipitously after the Te'o story passed.

The Internet meme of the moment goes by the name of 'doge' (a whimsical misspelling of 'dog'), in which images of the fluffy Shiba Inu breed of dog are overlaid with enthusiastic, if ungrammatical, exclamations—heavy on words like 'such,' 'much,' 'very' and 'wow.' The 'doge' meme may have already run its course, though, as it has already seeped into the halls of power. Earlier this week, Rep. Thomas Massie (R, Ky.) tweeted, 'Much bipartisanship. Very spending. Wow. #doge.'

Politicians appropriating the latest in online slang is nothing new, though. Back in April 2012, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton played along with a satirical blog called "Texts from Hillary" by sending her own text to the blog. 'Nice selfie,' she wrote, referring to a photo that one of the blog's creators had taken of himself.

Mrs. Clinton (or rather, whichever young staffer helped her compose that text) was clearly ahead of the pack, as 2013 became the year of the 'selfie.' As a slangy term for a cellphone self-portrait, 'selfie' originated more than a decade ago in Australia, where the '-ie' diminutive suffix runs rampant. But when even Pope Francis is posing with well-wishers for a 'papal selfie,' the word has clearly arrived. President Obama may wish the word never existed: After Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt snapped a casual photo with him at Nelson Mandela's memorial service, it sparked a mini-controversy dubbed 'Selfie-gate.' "

Friday, January 3, 2014

Post Mortem on Holiday Retail 2013: Net Gains, But Lower Profits

On paper, the picture of 2013's holiday retail sales seems healthy enough.  Gains over last year are about 2.3 percent when measured in sales.  But beind those relatively rosy numbers are a few caveats that make the picture more muddled.  Aggressive discounting and cutthroat sale pricing meant that even a boost in sales meant lower profits.  It also turns out that the strength of this year's sales was in the weeks between Black Friday and December 12th, then the last two weeks of the holiday season were lackluster in sales volume as well as profitability.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Link to article:

Excerpt: "Things were stacked against retailers this holiday season, and it seems they may have pushed too hard to please. Consumer demand was anemic, and there were fewer days to shop because of the late November date for Thanksgiving. Foot traffic in stores dropped off in December. Retailers responded with aggressive discounting, then tried to force through more last-minute shipping deals than UPS (UPS) could handle. The result? Unhappy customers and concern about ever-narrowing profit margins.

Sales of holiday items increased 2.3 percent compared with last year, according to Mastercard (MA) data cited by the Wall Street Journal. But retailers got there by lowering prices, continuing a reliance on discounts that has had many industry observers nervous since the financial crisis. This takes the luster off what gains were made, says Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore (SCOR). 'I think we’ll look back at this online holiday season as one where absolute dollar sales gains in consumer spending were held back by heavy retailer price discounting that occurred in an attempt to stimulate consumer demand,”' he says in a statement.

Then there were the shipping problems. UPS has been planning for the last-minute crush for a year, but admitted that it couldn’t keep pace with a wave of orders. FedEx (FDX) had trouble, too, and customers from retailers such as (AMZN), Kohl’s (KSS), and Walmart (WMT) were left empty-handed Wednesday. Amazon passed out gift cards and offered refunds to customers whose last-minute purchases didn’t arrive in time for Christmas. It blamed the fiasco on UPS. But it also looks like retailers may have left UPS in the lurch as they tried to entice shoppers by pushing the limit on how late they could order items."

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Ins and Outs in Interior Design 2014

Trends in design and home furnishings are almost as volatile as those in fashion.  What bubbles up one day for the super trendy catches on and is mainstream within a year, and then by the next year is out of style again for a decade.  If you have any interest in what's "on the bubble" of new style for your home, and what is already played-out and cliche, check out Wall Street Journal's roundup of what is in and out for home or office decorating for the coming year.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Wall Street Journal

Link to article:
Top Ten Interior Design Trends for 2014

Excerpt: "IN:
1. Macramé and fiber-art wall hangings:' It's sculpture for your wall that adds texture and replaces wallpaper or fine art you can't afford,' said Ms. Burnham. 'And we haven't seen it since the 1970s. I think it's time.' Early adopters include the Ace Hotel chain and architect Barbara Bestor.
2. Window sheers: The popularity of heavy drapes is drooping. 'Everyone wants greater transparency and more light,' observed New York designer Celerie Kemble. And 'sheers are no longer granny-ish and polyester,' said Los Angeles designer Kim Alexandriuk. 'The new ones in linen and wool look rich.' For her part, Ms. Showers is partial to'limousine cloth, a sheer wool voile,' while Ms. Burnham dresses up sheer panels with inverted box pleats 'for a more tailored, masculine look.'
3. Corduroy upholstery: 'It's the casual alternative to velvet and the preppy version of chenille,' said Ms. Burnham, whose library sofa is olive-green corduroy. Mr. Harte, who used Etro's 'hip and vibrant' purple corduroy on a gold-leafed bergère, is also a fan: 'It looks really cool on formal chairs.' The wider the wale, the gutsier the statement.
4. Venetian marbled-paper prints: Found on the end papers of old books, these intricately swoopy patterns evoke 'the romanticism of a bygone, pre-digital era,' said Mr. Wood. Mr. Bullard noted that the prints are seeing a renaissance on 'everything from the chicest of wallpaper to finely silk-screened linens and gold-leafed porcelain.'
5. Deco hues: Color has been nudging gray and greige out of the picture, but, for many decorators, bright primary shades can still feel uncouth. 'My favorite palette is anything muted and Deco-inspired: rose quartz, amethyst, topaz, olive, whiskey and raisin,' said Los Angeles designer Michael Berman. 'Colors that appear to be filtered through smoke and sunlight.' One exception: Several designers expressed a creeping fondness for hits of acid yellow, especially to jolt an otherwise mellow color scheme."