The Design Block

If you're looking for the latest in advertising and marketing, design related technology and lifestyle tips, and art or design highlights then you're in the right place. Find all this and more with the Design Block blog.

HBO & Oreo recreate Game of Thrones opening with 2,750 cookies

To celebrate the final season, Oreo has released a special line of limited-edition GoT cookies embossed with the last remaining houses.

The #InstaGiftGuide, based on popular 2018 hashtags

The #InstaGiftGuide matches six popular hashtag trends from 2018 with gift-worthy products.

Volkswagen’s ad about avoiding advertising bans ironically gets banned

Volkswagen’s “Too powerful for TV“ commercial was, apparently, too powerful for television in Australia. The humorous commercial was banned in the country for breaking advertising codes of conduct and for being “unsafe”.

Organ donation ad featuring Jesus at the crucifixion sparks controversy

An Australian group has released a new ad to promote organ donation. And as they point out in the ad, organ donation can save lives. However, the number of people who register for organ donation remains relatively low.

Burger King’s AI-written ads prove tech can’t substitute great ideas

Using artificial intelligence (AI) to revolutionize the future of marketing might be a threat to certain jobs, but Burger King isn’t buying into it yet.

Over-the-top Toyota ad replaces Chuck Norris with a truck

Chuck Norris is so tough that there’s no chin under his beard, only another fist. But this new commercial by Toyota sees the roundhouse kicking actor being replaced by a truck.

Art installations appears like pixelated Photoshop effects

German artists Thomas Granseuer and Tomislav Topic—together known as Quintessenz—have recently created a site-specific art installation as part of the Paxos Contemporary Art Project. Taking place on the island of Paxos in the Adriatic sea, the duo have created colourful displays that look like pixelated Photoshop effects.

Burger King highlights gender discrimination pricing with ‘Chick Fries’

Have you heard of the Pink Tax? It’s a term for the routine practice of charging more for products and services targeted to women than those targeted to men? Gender discrimination pricing has been around for years, but has gained more prominence lately thanks to a…

How to remain calm and composed under pressure

Regardless of your profession, many people around the world have felt under pressure at one time or another. Yet, somehow great leaders always seem to remain calm during situations that make others fall to pieces.

Watch: How to better present logos and branding to clients

As designers, we know that we need to motivate people through communication. However, sometimes we forget that when it comes to our own work. Great design poorly presented can kill an idea. So how best to present logos and branding to the client to win them…

AI uses wireless technology to sense people through walls

For decades, scientists have been looking to create x-ray vision to see through walls. And, in the past few years, they’ve succeeded; they created technology that uses WiFi to sense people through walls.

Suntory’s non-alcoholic colourless beer lets you drink judgement-free

The colourless beverage trend in Japan includes drinks like yogurt drinks, milk tea, coffee, and most recently, beer. On June 19th, Japanese drinks giant Suntory is launching a non-alcoholic colourless beer; packaged in a plastic bottle, the company hopes it will be particularly popular with…

World’s first 3D-printed concrete houses are coming to the Netherlands

It appears that technology is finally catching up with the construction industry’s ambitions, as a handful of 3D-printed projects inch closer to fruition. The Dutch city of Eindhoven will be the first in the world to have habitable 3D-printed concrete houses.

Fruit of the Loom has a message for shirtless selfie men on Instagram

For men on social media, the shirtless selfie has become a ubiquitous calling card, shamelessly saying, “Here I am! See me! Notice me! ‘Like’ me!” Clothing brand Fruit of the Loom has taken notice and are worried that men’s lower-quality shirts are being #ripped and #shredded.

Cherry blossom tree made from over 800,000 LEGO bricks

Each spring, people visit Japan to see the cherry blossom trees in full bloom. And while they unfortunately only bloom for a short period, there’s one place where you can see a cherry blossom in constant bloom: LEGOLAND® Japan.

Volkswagen anti-texting & driving campaign turns crashed cars into phone cases

Taking your eyes off the road while driving, even for a second, could lead to disaster. When it comes to distracted driving, texting is becoming the number one concert. In fact, Canadians say that texting while driving is one of the biggest threats to their personal…

Artist transforms discarded aluminium cans into stunning sculptures

As the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”; which is the case with Detroit-born artist Noah Deledda. Most people don’t give a second thought to their used aluminium cans after tossing them into the recycling bin. Noah, however, has found a wonderfully creative way to turn…

Pantone car interior mood lighting that changes colours as you drive

Pantone and Korean automaker KIA have announced they’re collaborating to create a multi-coloured, dynamic mood lighting system for the 2019 K900 luxury sedan.

Lacoste replaces iconic crocodile logo with 10 endangered species

Fashion brand Lacoste has replaced it’s iconic crocodile logo to help save 10 endangered species in a new limited edition collection of polo shirts. In partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Lacoste will release 10 different polo shirts embroidered with animals who…

Burger King educates customers on Net Neutrality with the Whopper

The repeal of Net Neutrality is a major issue that will significantly affect the average internet user. However, many people still don’t fully understand what it means. So, how best to explain the repeal of Net Neutrality? Burger King has decided to help and explains it…

The top 5 commercials from the 2018 Super Bowl

By now you probably know that the Eagles upset the Super Bowl favourites, the Patriots. But, if you watched the Super Bowl mainly for the new commercials, you probably got to see the best and worst that money can buy.

KFC breaks gender barriers by introducing female Colonel Sanders

Last week, KFC launched its first ever female Colonel Sanders. In the chicken chain’s latest marketing campaign, they feature country singer Reba McEntire playing the iconic Colonel. However, rather than making Colonel Sanders a woman, they opted to have her dress up as a man,…

Find your painting doppelgänger with Google Arts and Culture app

The Google Arts and Culture platform hosts images of millions of pieces of art, ranging from prehistory to the contemporary. The app, which first appeared in app stores back in 2016, has mostly gone under the radar until now.

IKEA encourages you to pee on its ad

IKEA has come up with an ingenious way to get would-be parents into their Swedish stores. They’ve created a magazine ad that you pee on to determine if you’re pregnant.

KFC launches festive bucket designs created by 5 artist collectives

Just in time for the holidays, KFC has unveiled a series of six new limited edition festive bucket design. Forgoing KFC’s typical festive campaign, this year they’ve decided to put their iconic bucket in the spotlight.

A personal mini fireplace that’s powered by candles

With winter comes cold. This is the time of year when we want to sit by the fireplace and enjoy a cup of warm cocoa. In fact, the act of watching a fire lowers blood pressure, according to new University of Alabama research. This enjoyment may…

Treepex device transforms polluted air into fresh oxygen

Polluted air has grown 8% globally in the past five years. Now, billions of people around the world are now exposed to dangerous air; this according to data from over 3,000 cities compiled by the World Health Organization.

Burger King serves up an effective anti-bullying PSA

If you saw someone being bullied, would you say something? That was the premise of an effective anti-bullying experiment conducted by Burger King in honour of National Bullying Prevention Month.

Bring to life Photoshop and Illustrator images with Adobe Character Animator

Do you love creating characters in Photoshop or Illustrator, but wish you could make them come to life? Adobe has come up with a solution that’s now part of CC: Character Animator.

Rising Furniture inspired by transformations in nature

Much like how pop-up books give stories dimension, Amsterdam-based designer Robert van Embricqs‘ Rising Furniture gives poetic form to function. If your home has so much furniture it’s difficult to move, these designs can give you some extra space.

BK trolls McDonald’s with free Whoppers to those dressed as clowns

If you have coulrophobia (a fear of clowns), then you might want to stay away from Burger King this Halloween. Last year’s panic over creepy clown sightings and the recent success of the reboot of It have created a buzz around clowns, and now BK is getting in on the action.

Design studio tries to reinvents the zipper

We use it in out everyday lives and probably don’t give it much thought. The zipper is used in clothing, luggage and other bags, sporting goods, camping gear, and other items. The design hasn’t changed much in the last hundred years, but one design company is looking to change that.

A unique watch made of lightweight and durable concrete

Concrete may seem an unlikely design material when talking about consumer goods, but the Masonic aims to change this perception. This debut watch from Aggregate Watches is the first to utilize a traditionally industrial material in a refined way.

Facebook faces backlash after banning ad of a woman shaving her legs

We’ve all heard stories of Facebook and Instagram banning posts and advertisements that contain nudity. Their reasoning is that it’s adult content and not suitable for some of their users. Fair enough. However, sometimes it seems as though they pick and choose which posts they take down. The latest…

Swedish train passengers ditch tickets, opt to be microchipped instead

Gone are the days of fair collectors asking to see your paper ticket on the train. One Swedish train company is offering passengers the option of being microchipped by having a biometric chip implanted into their hand.

Heineken-owned craft brewer is making marijuana beer

These days, you can find marijuana infused in everything from bath bombs to pizza. In fact, once Canada finally legalizes it next year, expect to see a lot more edibles on the market here. However, already legal in California, marijuana beer has debuted.

Sculptor turns blocks of wood into intricately detailed pipes

For nearly two decades, Sidrit Vaqari has perfected the art of wood carving. He’s made amazingly intricate wood sculpture pipes that often take the form of mystical creatures and characters from movies and pop culture.

KFC teams with Huawei to release a limited edition smartphone

Who needs Apple and Tim Cook? Colonel Sanders is launching a limited edition smartphone with Huawei in China; a red smartphone that comes complete with a Snapdragon processor and fingerprint scanner.

Controversial KFC Whole Chicken ad will not face an investigation

We all know that the meat we eat used to be a barnyard animal. And as both an Art Director and a farmer, I know that not a lot of people like being reminded of that fact. That, however, is some of the criticism behind…

What if stock videos had subtitles telling a different story?

You know there are a lot of stock photos out there. They’re used when you either don’t have the time or budget to do your own photography. Did you know that stock videos exist as well with a similar purpose?

Google algorithm erases watermarks from stock images

As designers, when mocking up concepts for our projects, we tend to use plenty of stock images. Instead of buying images the client might not like, we use watermarked images to try before we buy. However, showing watermarks on our concepts look ugly and we…

Heinz creates Chicago Dog Sauce for the city that won’t use ketchup

People put a lot of things on their hot dogs in Chicago; the one thing they absolutely won’t put on is ketchup. Most Chicagoans opt for mustard, relish, onion and pickled condiments instead. Where this rule originated is a mystery, but one by which natives of the Windy…

Award winning ads show how humans are getting dumber

Our world is populated by different kinds of people, all with hugely varying levels of intelligence. And while most consider themselves intelligent, it can be very hard to get an accurate assessment of our own intelligence. After all, our thoughts tend to sound smart in…

Discover the art of aquarium decorating

Aquarium decorating, also known as aquascaping, is the design and arranging of aquatic plants, rocks, or driftwood within an aquarium; basically, gardening under water.

Add sparkle to your room with optical glass sculptures

Glass sculptures have been around since ancient Egypt. And although modern day glass art has advanced over the years, many artists continue to follow the same techniques used by ancient glass artists.

Creative apps that stole the show at the Apple Design Awards 2017

Each year, Apple honours the achievements of some of its most creative and talented developers at its Worldwide Developers Conference. This year’s Apple Design Awards comprise a variety of games that use the company’s hardware and rendering technologies in unique ways. It also showcased productivity apps with…

NakeFit stick-on soles let you go barefoot

A barefoot stroll on the beach is one of the life’s simple pleasures; unless the sand is scorching hot. To get people out of their flip flops, an Italian company believes they have the perfect solution: stick-on soles.

A brutally honest take on a graphic designer’s logic

The concept of the left and right brain has become a well-known part of human psychology. While we all use both sides of the brain, each of us has a dominant side; this dominant side makes up for a huge part of our personalities. For…

McDonald’s puts its drive-thru on wheels

If you’re in a hurry, getting lunch at the drive-thru is a convenient way to get your fast food. But what if that wasn’t convenient enough for you? Well, McDonald’s isn’t going to wait for you to come to its brick-and-mortar; rather, it’s taken the initiative…

MIXXTAPE is a portable music player that works like a cassette

If you want to feel old, consider this: there are currently high schoolers who’ve never heard music on a CD; let alone a cassette tape. However, “what’s old is new again,” is a saying that happens to be true. Dallas-based company Mixxim brought the cassette tape…