5 links to think - on Japan, designing experiences, globalisation, and endorsements ~ Sounds + Food 'n' Retail

qualia.gifReally no shortage of interesting links this week, which is always nice. At the same time, it makes choosing 5 that much harder, but here goes.

  • An Alien in Japan: Charlie Stross describes his trip to Japan last summer. …From Yokohama to Tokyo to Kyoto; …about shaved cats, getting lost in shopping malls, to Hello Kitty, and extreme bathing, to monorails and re-building history. A very interesting read, which presents some insights into that alien world, Japan.
  • Blasting scents into coffee-consumers' brains: Roger Dooley explains the importance of environment to sensory experience, and describes how Nestle's Nespresso found their way into people's noses, brains, and hearts. In coffee, just as with good food and wine, scent is everything! Food for thought.
  • Can experience be designed? After reading Bob Jacobson's essay, I'm not so sure. He writes about placing human experience into the centre of the design process, about systemic relationship between information and the environments (see above link as an example), about the difference between user- and human experience design, and how you can probably never design an experience to completely meet a person's expectations. At least, I think that's what he writes. So much of this text is far above my head, but worth reading to guide your mind into new directions, and a must-read for anyone interested in creating experiences. It's all a pre-cursor to a book, which, judging by the range of material, I expect to be published in 2 to 5 years, but which will be well-worth the wait. In the meantime, check out Bob's great blog.
  • The downside of franchising: Richard Layman, in his artsy urban blog, writes about how franchises have transformed L.A.… into a clone of just about any other city. A little anecdote: I observed a similar trend when I was last in Belgrade, Serbia, which I hadn't visited since the war. It looks just the same as any other city, and that's sad because I remember there being a lot more authentic clothing- and food-venues. When I see this, I'm not sure I'm a fan of globalisation, or franchising for that matter.
  • A twosie on Human brand-carriers (Sounds like a disease, doesn't it?): Two articles discuss this, one, by the NY-Times, on rock-stars and their interaction with brands. As one artist put it: "The barriers are changing and we as artists are making less and less money, and we have to get creative." At the same time, I have great sympathy for artists like Springsteen, Tool, and N.I.N., who refuse to corrupt their art. And another article, by HBR, on endorsements in sports, which is, at last count, a 100 billion dollar industry. I'm fascinated by this phenomenon, so maybe I'll write something about it in the future.
Enjoy! As always, these and more can be found on my non-stop list of bookmarks (rss-feed).


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