Designers on acid: the tripping Californians who paved the way to our touchscreen world

  Next time you drag a document across your desktop and put it in a folder, spare a thought for acid. Organising your files might not seem like a psychedelic experience now, but in 1968, when Douglas Engelbart first demonstrated a futuristic world of windows, hypertext links and video conferencing to a rapt audience in […]

From Coke’s flower power to Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad – how ads co-opt protest

  It’s a unique skill to have #boycottpepsi trending among both the right and the left. It managed to alienate both sides of an increasingly polarised consumer universe,” says Nicola Kemp, trends editor at advertising trade magazine Campaign, who points out that the ad was made by an inhouse team at Pepsi, which may be […]

The UK’s inflation foot soldiers: how the ONS measures the CPI

  In a shop stacked to the ceiling with toys, Brenda Cleaver is searching for a very specific car. “I am looking for a modern road vehicle, and I am checking the price. Here it is. It hasn’t changed,” she says, comparing the price sticker on the toy car with the information on her handheld […]

Sydney Opera House: the designs that didn’t make it (thank god)

The Observer has published some fascinating (and, quite frankly, awful) ideas from the 1950s for the Sydney Opera House that thankfully didn’t get built. The one that did was controversial at the time (and still is) but it’s certainly iconic. I can’t imagine Sydney harbour with any of the monstrosities you can see here. Some […]

The potato solution: how the Guardian switched to biodegradable packaging

Some background on The Guardian’s recent decision to begin using plastic derived from potatoes to wrap its supplements: Last year we used approximately 25 tonnes of plastic for wrapping, which is about half a tonne a week. We knew we had to find an alternative. The newsprint we use for newspapers, however, is more than […]