In just a few weeks, Massachusetts voters will decide whether to legalize medical marijuana. If passed, the ballot question would make Massachusetts the third state in New England- and the 18th state in the country to legalize marijuana.
The MacArthur Foundation announced its "genius grant" recipients last week, four of whom live in Massachusetts. On Oct. 3 we spoke with Watertown bow maker Benoit Rolland about his award. On Oct. 9, we were joined by a local neurosurgeon, Dr. Benjamin Warf, whose pioneering efforts to treat intracranial diseases in very young children have earned him the $500,000 grant.
Many of us use Google on a daily basis, but what if there was an easier way to sift through the thousands of search results you get on Google? Kara Miller talks with an MIT professor who developed a way to winnow thousands of search results to a simple, personalized list.
Ben Letham: Ph.D. student at MIT
Cynthia Rudin: assistant professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management
WGBH's 30 Issues in 30 Days election coverage continues with a look at the middle class and changing our financial standards of living. Our financial expert Sheryl Marshall will join Emily Rooney today to talk about how the middle class is getting hit, who has had to change their living standards, and what people can do to relieve some of the financial burden.
There is an art to business. Though you may not realize it, that art, in the form of logos, has the power to affect you every day. How many logos can you identify without the name of the company to help you?
You might get more than you think: Apple, Nike, Starbucks, Playboy, and Mercedes are just a few of the brands whose logos instantly call their product to mind.
But as the economy shifts and changes, so do logos. Starbucks recently redesigned its signature mermaid to modernize its brand — it also dropped the words “Starbucks Coffee” from the logo’s perimeter. But why would a company like Starbucks, whose old logo was widely recognized, take a chance and make a change?
Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
According to Andrea Naddaff, a partner at the branding firm Corey, McPherson, Nash, the company wanted “to explain and enter Starbucks into more products and services, rather than just coffee.” Even a shift as subtle as removing the word “coffee” from its logo can help disassociate Starbucks from its beginnings as a Seattle coffee shop.
But Starbucks isn’t the only company removing words from its logo — Twitter, Nike, and Domino’s Pizza have also dropped letters. As with Starbucks’ decision, these brands hoped that removing words from their logo would help customers see them differently.
“It’s a call that we are simplifying, paring down, but also entering new markets,” Naddaff explains. “We want you to think of us in the way that you think of us, but we also want you to extend that equity into other areas.”
New Media, New Rules
Simplicity is the new standard, but in some ways the proliferation of technology has allowed branding to become more complex. 3-D modeling lets creative design teams create logos that look liable to jump off the page. Plus, logos no longer need to be identifiable in black and white so consumers can spot them in a fax or newspaper. Instead, new ways of accessing content have driven companies to rely on color — studies show that color can aid in brand recall up to 80 percent.
While you won’t see household brands like Coca Cola changing up its classic red, Naddaff notes that many start-up companies are using bold and experimental colors in hopes of gaining recognition.
But the shift to color has created a new challenge for global companies. Brands need to be careful when choosing their shade of the rainbow — the same pigment that sends a message of “trustworthy and reliable” in North America might have connotations of weakness or immaturity abroad.
“A well known color is red — on one hand red is love, passion,” Naddaff explains. “Well, in Europe red can be alarm, stop, danger, or ‘take note.’”
Becoming a Brand
But brand recognition isn’t all about a logo, or even the name of the company. Any well-known brand also carries a mental and emotional identity. In addition to its iconic swoosh logo, Nike also has a unique personality — one that’s recognizable to anyone who has seen the brand’s commercials.
“[Nike] is what we call a ruggedness brand,” says Michael McPherson, creative director at Cory, McPherson, Nash. “A brand that defines itself around toughness, around endurance, around persistence, around tenacity.”
Nike’s rugged ethos is evident in commercials that emphasize overcoming challenges, running through pain, and savoring victory. The mere mention of “Just Do It” brings to mind athletes pushing themselves to the brink in order to achieve greatness.
So who is the leader in this new world of streamlined logos and emotional branding?
“Apple has almost set a standard that’s unachievable,” says Michael McPherson. “I can’t tell you how many meetings have started out by people saying — when they wanted to redesign their website, or redesign their logo, or redesign the look and feel of their materials — that they wanted it to be modeled on Apple.”
McPherson thinks Apple leads because they’ve perfected the new branding standard of extreme simplicity. The company has pared down its logo, created a cohesive design strategy and removed its name from both advertisements and products themselves.
Get set for a wild week in politics. There are no fewer than six marquee debates on tap this week. Four Congressional districts will watch candidates face off, while Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown meet for their third round, and Vice President Biden faces off against Rep. Paul Ryan in primetime Thursday.
As part of our 30 Issues in 30 Days coverage we look at startups. Small businesses are called the lifeblood of the economy, the engines of economic growth. How much should we invest in entrepreneurs and startups? Should we plow government money into business development? Or are we already spread too thin?
C.A. Webb, executive director of New England Venture Capital Association.
Stephen Kraus, partner at Bessemer Venture Partners.
It’s been a heavy week for politicos, candidates and fact checkers, starting with the face-off between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown on Monday and hitting a high point with Wednesday’s presidential throw-down. Mitt Romney came out looking surprisingly strong, and he now has President Obama in damage-control mode.
It's about to get loud in Somerville's Davis Square. Brass instruments loud. Activist street band loud. HONK! loud.
This weekend, the seventh annual HONK! festival descends on Davis Square. The yearly festival gathers activist street bands who—over four days—will bring attention to causes near and dear to their hearts and—more importantly—blast loud, live music into the skies above the square.
If you've never been to HONK! and you're wondering what it's all about, expect it to be a little something like this:
Our personal finance expert Sheryl Marshall joined host Callie Crossley in the studio to discuss the rising costs of higher education and answer your questions about which colleges offer the best return on investment.
Everyone said it was coming. The Boston Red Sox fired manager Bobby Valentine Oct. 4, the day after the team ended its worst season in more than 40 years.
Former Major League Baseball arbitrator and Northeastern University Law professor Roger Abrams spoke with Boston Public Radio that day about the development. Abrams said the firing was no surprise considering the 69-93 season.
Bloviators, bloggers, the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald have unanimously declared Gov. Mitt Romney winner of last night's debate. The losers? President Obama ... and Big Bird ... and even, sadly, Jim Lehrer.
Dean Obeidallah is a lawyer. He writes a weekly opinion column for CNN.com. He’s appeared on MSNBC, PBS and NBC's Rock Center. He’s co-directed his first documentary, which is set to premiere later this month at the Austin Film Festival. All in all, he sounds like a pretty serious guy.
Except one thing: He’s a comedian. One that the Washington Post calls “an angsty Arab Chris Rock.”
As the curtain rises on this year's debates, candidates for office are trying to generate serious campaign buzz, get in a few zingers, and hopefully bring the audience — their voters — along for the ride.
It's a perennial spectacle — albeit a dry one — and as the stakes rise year after year, Hollywood has jumped in to offer its take on this political tradition.
On Oct. 2, the MacArthur Foundation awarded master bow maker Benoit Rolland a MacArthur "genius" grant . Rolland creates bows for violin, viola and cello in his studio in Watertown, Mass., using innovative materials and techniques. Rolland will receive $500,000 of grant money with no strings attached. Callie Crossley spoke with him about his craft on Boston Public Radio.
Last night Republican Senator Scott Brown and his challenger Elizabeth Warren met for their second debate. Their performances are getting mixed reviews in the papers and around the blogosphere. Tempers flared, there were testy exchanges and questions about Elizabeth Warren’s Cherokee heritage are still in play. Among those ringside last night was WGBH political reporter Adam Reilly. Adam joined Kara this afternoon on Boston Public Radio to score last night's rematch.
Americans are shifting the way they watch television. Products like Netflix, Hulu, DVR, and On Demand have made viewing television on your own schedule easier. One might think these products would send the networks scrambling to get the most people to watch their shows in the most ways, but bitter battles between the networks and streaming websites could be preventing progress.
Today Kara Miller looks at how much support the government should offer for medical and scientific research. Often, that support comes in the form of money — lots of money.
As Congress debates the impending "fiscal cliff," myriad programs are on the chopping block. On the one hand, taxpayers demand high return on the use of their tax dollars. On the other hand, medical and scientific research has yielded breakthrough vaccines, energy sources and new ways to communicate.
Credit Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States
The US Supreme Court in 2010. Top row (l to r): Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen G. Breyer, Samuel A. Alito, and Elena Kagan. Bottom row (l to r): Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John G. Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Today the highest judicial body in the United States returns to session. And if the Supreme Court's ruling on President Obama’s health care overhaul seemed huge, this term’s docket is studded with some equally enormous cases. Callie Crossley talks with Suffolk University law professor Renée Landers, who previews the high and low profile cases that the nine justices are slated to hear over the coming months.
We go behind the counter with multimedia producer Val Wang joins Callie Crossley on Boston Public Radio to discussPlanet Takeout — a web project and documentary about the Chinese takeout business as a cultural crossroads in Boston and beyond.
WGBH's 30 Issues in 30 Days election coverage continues with a focus on health care. It has been such a contentious issue — from death panels, to President Obama’s health care overhaul being tried by the Supreme court, to being kicked around like the political pigskin that it’s become on the campaign trail.
We no longer hear so much about death panels but we’re hearing a lot about Obamacare, Romneycare and Medicare.
Today on our Week in Review, Emily Rooney runs down the week's top stories.
—Former state crime lab worker Annie Dookhan has been placed under arrest. Her court appearance marks only the end of the beginning in the state crime lab scandal, an imbroglio that involves thousands of cases and will cost the state millions to unravel.
Let's all raise a glass (or a stein) and toast King Ludwig I of Bavaria.
It was around this time of year, back in 1810 (when he was merely a crown prince) that he decided to take the plunge and finally get married. The citizens of Munich were invited to celebrate the auspicious occasion and Oktoberfest was born. Today, Oktoberfest is an annual 16-day beer festival celebrated not just in Germany, but around the world, including right here in New England.