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Let's all just sit back as Amazon takes over the world.

It started small, sure. A place with cheaper books than bookstores slowly grew into the behemoth online marketplace it is today. It knew its customers better than any mom and pop shop: mastering data collection, mining product reviews and ratings to analyze what the world wanted and how they wanted to buy it.

First an e-reader, the Kindle, selling out five hours after it was launched. Then Amazon Prime, the frontrunner of loyalty programs and shipping ease. Then they added movies and television shows available to stream, and then grcerieos and now drones. What? Drones?!

They're slowly  creeping into every market, and they're dominating. We wouldn't be surprised if Amazon added a travel component in the next few years. There's even been rumor that they're working on a credit card reader similar to Square, released as soon as August 13th.

But yesterday, Amazon opened a storefront of a brand new kind.

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You want a bobble head that looks like you?

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You want a model of a caffeine molecule?

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A bracelet with your name on it in Braille?

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A crazy lamp?

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Then Amazon's Creative Expressions is the place for you. A new marketplace of three-dimensional products offers dozens of customizable goods, made to order.

They're upping the ante on products on demand. With the freedom of 3-D printing, there's theoretically no end to what Amazon could sell. From a  business perspective, it's a genius move. No storage of goods, customers pay up front and then the product is made. From a customer perspective, it's also great– the largest online retailer in the U.S. opens the doors to customizable 3D printing, which might mean complete customization in the future. Upload a file, Amazon prints it. With the type of power they have, any moves towards new storefronts and product offerings prompt competitors to do the same.

We could all be living in a 3D printed world soon. What do you think?

Posted: 7/30/2014 2:51:29 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


In the world of travel, there has been no speedier up-and-comer than Airbnb. In their entire seven years of partially unofficial existence, they've grown into a multi-billion dollar company, leaving travelers everywhere unable to avoid the suggestion, "Oh, you should check Airbnb. I know they'll have a great place you could stay." And these people are right. The site has the visual appeal of a boutique hotel's with the simplicity of Google.

People are intrigued by the idea of 'living like a local'– knowing a local's favorite restaurant, bars, hangouts, and being able to return to a homey environment at the end of their day. In a way, it's very intimate. You're often renting someone's actual home, their real living space, and as we all know the importance of our homes, you're essentially immersing yourself in someone else's life. You're belonging. And this is why their new tagline is "Belong Anywhere."

Symbol

Airbnb launched a brand new redesign yesterday, and decided to jump in riiiight in the spot where community meets individual. Their introduction to the new branding puts it nicely:

"For so long, people thought Airbnb was about renting houses. But really, we’re about home. You see, a house is just a space, but a home is where you belong. And what makes this global community so special is that for the very first time, you can belong anywhere.

That is the idea at the core of our company: belonging."

Meet the Bélo.

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It stands for four things: people, places, love, and Airbnb, and it was created specifically for the company. Metaphorically, it's a very versatile symbol. It can stand for the continuous nature of community as one large entangled connection. It can reflect a person being introduced and newly involved in an existing network, or it can represent a physical location in the middle of a neighborhood.

It's simple, easy to reproduce, and Airbnb has truly incorporated it's customer community by providing a way to make your own Bélo. Airbnb isn't a detached company, strictly defining its branding guidelines. It is the community, and the community is it. Without people, Airbnb couldn't exist.

The site also got a bit of a facelift, with a lot of the existing structure staying the same. The new homepage really lets the experiences do the talking, with a video header background, and phenomenal photographs of Airbnb locations below.

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Seems like it's become less of a site for executing accommodation reservations and more of a place to find a crumb of inspiration to visit a place. That's what it's all about, right? Someone on Airbnb says, "Come live my life. Here's what it looks like." and we get excited and say "Okay, we'll be there. See you soon!" It's this really fascinating little community.

We're loving the new redesign, but what do you think?

More information (and the photos above) on Airbnb's blog.

Posted: 7/17/2014 2:39:55 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


It's after the 4th of July, and you know what that means– it's the middle of summer. We're right in the thick of it, and you're probably well aware that Boston has lots to do come summertime. There are markets, and more markets, movies, music, the list goes on!

We wanted to make it easy for you to find some good free things to do, so we've gathered a list of a few of the best, ongoing free events in Boston this summer.

No remembering specific dates, no "when is that happening again?" These things happen. Every week:

MOVIES

SomerMovie FEAST! // Davis Square
Thursdays at sunset

July 17 -Fried Green Tomatoes
July 24 -Soylent Green
July 31 -Chocolat
August 7 -Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
August 14 -Julie & Julia
August 21 -Ratatouille
August 28 -Viewers’ Choice

Free Friday Flicks // Esplanade 

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Fridays at sunset

July 11th: Despicable Me 2
July 18th: The Goonies
July 25th: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
August 1: Men in Black 3
August 8: The Lego Movie
August 15: Beetlejuice
August 22: Frozen

Classic Movie Fridays // Harbor Hotel

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Fridays at 8pm

July 11: Wizard of Oz
July 18: Citizen Kane
July 25: Swiss Family Robinson
August 1: Vertigo
August 8: A Street Car Named Desire
August 15: Cool Hand Luke
August 22: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
August 29: West Side Story

MUSIC

Concerts in the Courtyard // Boston Public Library
Wednesdays at 6pm, Fridays at 12:30 pm

July 11: Erika Van Pelt
July 16: Amaryllis Chamber Orchestra
July 18: Lindsay Straw
July 23: Patrick Coman
July 25: Cardamom Quartet
July 30: Susan Cattaneo
August 1: Properly Unprepared
August 6: Darlingside
August 8: Boston Lyric Opera
August 13: Caitlin Canty
August 15: The Jason Palmer Quartet
August 20: Fernando Holz Band
August 22: Bill Lowe
August 27: The Ron Murphy Band
August 29: American Century Music

Summer in the City // Boston Harbor Hotel 

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Soul // Tuesdays at 8pm 

July 15: Pulse of Boston
July 22: Soul City
July 29: Soul Sound Revue
August 5: World Premier Band
August 12: Good Will & Them Apples
August 19: Pulse of Boston
August 26: Young Love & The Thrills

Rat Pack // Wednesdays at 8pm

July 16: Chris Jason Band
July 23: John Stevens Band
July 30: Justin Beech Band
August 6: Alex MacDougall Band
August 13: Steve Memmolo Band
August 20: Mike Dutra Strictly Sinatra Band
August 27: John Stevens Band

Blues // Thursdays at 8pm

July 17: Bruce Marshall
July 24: Greg Burroughs
July 31: Racky Thomas
August 7: Toni Lynn Washington
August 14: James Montgomery
August 21: Bruce Marshall
August 28: Jeff Pitchell

Summer Music Series // Bella Luna Restaurant

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Wednesdays at 6pm

July 16: Erin Harpe and the Delta Swingers Back Porch Blues Series (Americana)
July 23: Creek River String Band (Delta Country Blues)
July 30: All of the Animals (Acoustic/Hawaiian/Fusion)
Aug 6: Houston Bernard Band (Country)
Aug 13: Brian Friedland Trio (Jazz)
Aug 20: Jah-N-I Roots Band (Roots/Reggae)
Aug 27: All of the Animals (Acoustic/Hawaiian/Fusion)

Harborwalk Sounds // ICA

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Thursdays at 6pm

July 17: Wambura Mitaru – “Groovy tunes with catchy lyrics”
July 24: LowTone Society – Eclectic Soul
July 31: Latimbop – Cuban jazz
August 7: Sarah McKenzie – Jazz
August 14: Song Yi Jeon Quintet – Contemporary jazz
August 21: Oyinda + Bigfoot Wallace – Alt electronic pop + indie rock/electronic
August 28: Common Thread – Funk, R&B

No excuses, everyone– there's something to do almost every night of the week (we've all shunned Mondays from the week anyways, right?). Who knows, maybe we'll see you at some of these events!

Posted: 7/11/2014 9:33:52 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


You may have noticed the increased presence of soccer in... just about every bar, restaurant, and home lately. The World Cup has been great! The U.S. survived the Group of Death, fighting tooth and nail to scrape through. We did the improbable, and then in Tuesday's game against Belgium we fell flat. Though the U.S. is now out of the World Cup (in a very bittersweet way – go Tim Howard!), it got us thinking about the importance and social following of soccer in many countries, including our own.

Designers often fill their time with projects surrounding their own interests, so we figured we'd find a lot of work inspired by the sport of soccer. Sure enough, lookit. We did.

Stanley Chow

You may recognize him from his Mad Men posters (or the controversy surrounding them), but a huge chunk of Stanley Chow's work is footy-related.

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Cristiano Siqueira

Created for an ESPN campaign, with a stylistic nod to superhero comics, Siqueira's work is dynamic and energetic.

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Daniel Alcorn

8-bit soccer stars? Sign us up. These are the brainchildren of football club Aston' Villa's digital designer, Daniel Alcorn. They're a playful homage to vintage video games, are simplistically brilliant.

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Geo Law

Geo's work has much less structured style, embracing the colorful and erratic nature of soccer.

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Zoran Lucić

The most contemporary of the bunch, Lucić's posters combine muted colors, found imagery, and typography. They're a bold kind of charming. He's made so, so many– they're worth checking out.

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There are a huge number of soccer fans in the world, and fortunately several of them are designers! Did we miss any?

Posted: 7/5/2014 9:10:43 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments