Alternative histories

Part inspired by the invention of alternative facts, and part by reverse engineering thought experiments with design students, I’m playing with alternative histories that reveal flaws in some of the naive ways that we imagine our ideas developing.

  1. At Stanford University in 1996, after weeks of naming workshops, Larry Page and Sergey Brin devised and innovative colour pallet alongside their revolutionary ‘Google’ brand name. A play on mathematical words, and designed with an almost outsider art aesthetic, they knew they were onto something with this unique identity. Next, it was just a case of deciding which business sector the brand suited best. Sports clothing and children’s toys seemed like open markets for such an inspired and youthful brand at the time, but on a whim, they decided to take a bet on the trendy new world wide web that they had heard their friends talking about. The rest, is internet history.

  2. After weeks of tinkering with a web safe pallet in Photoshop in 2004, Mark Zuckerberg settled on a design that he loved, and knew that others would too. Opting for a soft yet strong blue, and deciding that a URL he once bought for another idea would suffice as the web address and brandname, he set about finding a developer to help him build his website. In no time at all, he met a guy that built a portfolio site for his friend, and he agreed to do the job. That original design, developer, and every initial idea Mark had, are still in place and working flawlessly, in what today we call simply: The Facebook.

  3. In 2007, innovative idea factory Apple Inc. released the iPhone. Unlike any phone that came before, it took years to design and cost billions of dollars to develop, but that time and money more than paid off of course, as now, 10 years later, that original version one design and technology remain at the pinnacle of the smartphone industry, unbeaten and unchanged. A bastion of good planning and budget spending.