22 January 2021
The Center for Brains, Minds and Machines (CBMM) is a multi-institutional collaboration headquartered at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT with managing partners at Harvard University. It aims to understand intelligence, how the brain produces intelligence and how we may be able to replicate it in machines—arguably one of the greatest challenges in science and technology.
As a flagship program of American's National Science Foundation, they needed a new identity that was more modern, professional and cutting edge. A particular problem with the existing logo was that many did not recognize that it was in fact a brain.
As is often the case with our science collaborations, complex and often abstract concepts can be a challenge to visualise. One of the tools we use is a series of questions that we have developed over the years that we find essential to get to the heart of a brand.
In this case, it was this question that provided a key: “If one could communicate one single message about the CMBB identity, it would be?”
The answer was: “The CBMM brings together computer scientists, cognitive scientists, and neuroscientists to create a new field—the Science and Engineering of Intelligence.”
This is also what makes the CBMM different.
During our design phase, we discovered that dotted circles create new patterns where they intersect. The three circles in the new logo represent the three types of science mentioned above, that come together to create the new field of the Science and Engineering of Intelligence. Where the types of science come together and intersect, new patterns of understanding are created.
See more here.
12 March 2020
Hi the MLE,
First, for those who don’t know, Miquela is a CGI virtual influencer.
“I’m a 19-year old musician change seeker taco truck expert.”
One of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People on the Internet 2018. Massive following on Instagram, of course. But what makes her even more bizarre is when she comes to life on YouTube all animated and human-like.
She is the primary product of a company based in LA called “Brud,” with over 40 employees. Of course the company who made her has gone to great lengths to remain hidden… What are they motivations behind creating Miquela? Well, it’s a business, so making money is the main objective. Brud is valued at 125 million dollars.
Like most influencers, she makes a lot of money selling products. Image above has her and Bella Hadid “Getting Surreal” selling Calvin Klein. She also makes a ton of cash promoting various events, like SXSW. Not to mention her music that garners a lot of attention, with hit songs with millions of streams. The list goes on…
Currently Brud has two other characters as well, Bermuda and Blawko, with more in the works. Of course, each addresses a different target market, rather than competing with consumers, together they appeal to a greater consumer base.
Altogether, it’s a brilliant business model, and it is not surprising that it is also extremely lucrative. One of the founders managed the musician Banks before the CGI musician Miquela - I would love to talk to him about his experiences with human vs CGI.
It seems that real influencers and CGI influencers are exactly the same in most ways. They are both carefully crafted into a particular character. They use the same tactics and scripts to make people feel really connected to them. Can you tell which of the below is from a human or from Miquela? And have you not heard influencers say stuff like this a million times already?
“I’m gonna tell you a story that’s super embarrassing and made me sad for a minute, but maybe some of y’all can relate.”
“The fucked up thing is that if sharing it can help someone else whose gone through something similar feel less alone, then it’s worth it.”
However, CGI characters like Miquela have many advantages. They are free from all the cost and hassle of a human celeb. Brud does not have to pay her a salary, they have complete control over her actions, and she can work around the clock. No need to worry about a troubled personal life, any health problems, or getting caught by the press doing something stupid, etc, etc. And, thank God, she will never grow old or get fat (well not unless it's part of the script).
So will CGI celebs replace real celebs in the future? My guess would be yes. In fact, it is already happening right now. A Fullscreen study found that 42% of Gen Z and Millennials have followed an influencer on social media who they did not know what CGI. But is this really that surprising with apps like Facetune making people look like CGI?
12 July 2019
Hi the MLE,
You know I'm known for liking identities that involve repetition, and here is yet another new example. You are correct, this logo is not for everyone. In particular, the circular logo does not work well very small (it would not be legible), or in certain areas with restricted real estate, such as the top of their brewery (fourth image above, where the circular signage would not be legible, hence the less interesting and more plain repeating pattern). But in application as a poster or on drink glasses, it works quite well indeed (second and third image above).
More info here.
25 May 2019
As you may know, Sears announced a new logo on May 1st. Are they still in business? Well yes, their Canadian stores closed a few years ago, but about 400 of their American ones will remain open following a narrow escape from bankruptcy. Of course it's a bit of a "no-brainer" that the new logo looks like the AirBNB logo (middle icon above). However, having just read the rationale behind the Sears logo, and it seems that this rationale has been copied from the Habitat logo (bottom icon above), yet not executed as well:
The new icon was created to represent both home and heart, this shape also conveys motion through an infinity loop, reminiscent of one getting their arms around both home and life.
Well, at least not many Americans are familiar with Habitat. I wonder if this new logo is a sign things to come for Sears...
4 May 2018Hi MLE,I’ve been thinking a lot about Lush Cosmetics lately… I’ve known this brand since forever, as there were always shops in the city where I grew up in Canada. However, I’ve never really shopped there, as I’ve never really bought things with fragrance. Well, now I am a big fan! There are so many things I didn’t know or appreciate about this brand until recently, and I thought I’d pass thing along to you, as you may not have known either.First, a little background. I had an epiphany (finally) last year: I buy things based on "price" and "brand" (order depends on the product). Now I buy things based on another variable: "ethics." And I've pushed "brand" out. Sometimes I put “ethics” ahead of “price,” and I think of this a bit like a donation to charity. Sometimes I put “price” first, but that’s okay. Often, however, I find I can shop ethically without it being any more expensive than what I was buying before.I have a good friend who works at Pepsi. I was discussing ethics with her one day, and she said something that may have lead to this epiphany. She said quite simply, “as long as consumers want to buy something, we will give it to them.” Our consumer dollar is very very powerful. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that where we put it has a significant effect on the world in which we live.Hence I have been doing a lot of research into the ethics of the companies I buy from, especially regularly. In terms of cosmetics, my buying has totally changed. No more MAC, Nars and Chanel. I buy from companies like Lush:Every Lush product is made by hand.Lush volunteers to pay the Living Wage (higher than the minimum wage) to all its staff.Lush has doubled maternity and paternity leave and will pay for 20 hours a week of childcare for primary care-givers who have been with the company at least two years and return to full-time work.Lush was awarded the Fair Tax Mark. It reports on tax paid in each country, showing an effective rate of 30.5 per cent, compared with UK standard corporation tax of 20 per cent.Lush refuses to open stores in China because of animal testing regulations. (Though the soap bar above is created to bring to China).Lush does not buy from companies that carry out, fund, or commission any animal testing. They test their products on human volunteers before they are sold to the public.Lush products are 100% vegetarian, while 80% are vegan.Over 40% of Lush products are sold packaging-free. Says Lush, “For most cosmetics, you're paying more for the packaging than you are for the product. Something like seven parts packaging and three parts contents is the norm, and that's just for a branded package of shower gel. I'd like [the cosmetics industry] to stop being subdivision of the packaging industry.”Lush has phased out its use of sodium palm kernelate, which is often derived from trees in the natural habitat of orangutans and home to tropical forests with overall endangered biodiversity. Since 2008, all Lush soaps have been made with palm-free soap base, and they have since removed all traces of palm oil from the products.In 2007, Lush launched Charity Pot. One-hundred percent of the purchase price goes into a Charity Pot Fund, which is donated to environmental, humanitarian and animal rights charities. In the first five years, the company donated $2 million to charities through the programme.The annual £250,000 LUSH Prize is designed to reward individuals working in the field of cruelty-free scientific research, awareness-raising and lobbying to help bring an end to animal testing. Recipients could be scientists, campaigners, lobbyists, training specialists and young researchers.Lush admits a lot of the campaigning it does has nothing to do with its own business. Far from carefully choosing a few business-friendly good causes, Lush has backed a plethora of controversial causes from Guantanamo prisoners, to hunt saboteurs and the anti-fracking campaign. Such blatant politicisation is a tactic few other businesses in the UK seem willing to replicate.But it is working for Lush. Worldwide sales in 2016 were £723 million, an increase of 26% over the previous year. The company is projecting 25% growth for fiscal 2017. Maybe more companies will follow suit?