Highlights of the October 2009 issue: Fast Company Masters of Design

cite {display:none !important;} .timestamp {display:none !important;} Why Coke’s David Butler Is The Real Thing, by Linda Tischler, page 90


Why Coke’s David Butler Is The Real Thing, by Linda Tischler, page 90
David Butler has a nearly uncontainable design challenge: making Coke even bigger – and staying ahead of Pepsi. Butler, Coke’s first in-house VP of Global Design, has risen to the challenge by applying design principles to a multibillion-dollar operation – using whiz-bang initiatives such as a Ferrari-inspired beverage dispenser and sexy aluminum versions of the classic contour bottle – to help refresh the once-stodgy Coke. “I understand that there are some people who would like to hear the words ‘design-driven’ come out of our CEO’s mouth,” says Butler. “Honestly, I don’t care. We’re leveraging design to drive innovation and to win at the point of sale, which is fundamental to our business. Full stop.”


The Chosen One, by Jeff Chu, page 98
Tapped to create the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African-American History, David Adjaye – at the age of 43 – is already considered one of the world’s top architects, an accomplishment that makes him a young man in “an old man’s field,” Jeff Chu writes. His belief that high design shouldn’t be exclusive to rich people has helped him deliver more project variety than any other top-tier architect. “What’s the point of building if you’re just doing the same thing over and over again?” he says. “That would kill me.”

Confessions of an Infomaniac, by Linda Tischler, page 108
Pentagram’s Lisa Strausfeld is a visual force on the web. Now she wants to redesign government. “I’d love to do a project making government activity a spectator sport,” says Strausfeld. “If we could be as obsessive with government data as we are with baseball stats, maybe it would change the form of democracy.”

The Five Tenets of Designing for Woman, by Kate Rockwood, page 120
The Femme Den -Whitney Hopkins, Agnete Enga, Erica Eden, and Yvonne Lin – “is an internal collective at Smart Design that’s devoted to thinking about the bodies and brains of women and how to design – smartly – for them,” writes Kate Rockwood. By pushing for designs that reflect what women really want, The Den is helping companies, from Target to BP to Nike, tap the $2 trillion female market. “When most people think of designing for women, they automatically think of tampons and birth control,” says Lin. “Even when companies think that a product is for both genders, in reality they’re just designing for men.” According to Lin, “designers are working with male procedurals, probably going back to the beginning of time.” Fast Company presents the five rules that animate the Femme Den – plus an array of best-in-class products.

Creative Leaps at Best Buy, P&G, and more, by Kate Rockwood, page 27
How big brands are venturing into unexplored turf, from Reebok’s Cirque-du-Soleil-inspired exercise gear to Mr. Clean Car Wash, and McCafé coffees.

Viral Loop, by Adam L. Penenberg, page 55
“Some of the most iconic companies of our time – Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, Twitter – have attracted millions of users practically overnight,” Adam L. Penenberg writes. They have accomplished this by tapping into the power of viral loops to build massive audiences in record time. “Now, they’re using these growth engines to create the future of online advertising.”

The Best-Performing Restaurant Stock of the Decade, by Kate Rockwood, page 69
No, it’s not McDonald’s or Darden. It’s St. Louis-based Panera Bread – and Panera is “on a roll,” as Kate Rockwood reports. The company, which “opens a new bakery-café every five days,” is thriving by selling to an audience that is more “Food Network than fast food.” “The recipe,” Rockwood writes, “is succeeding.”


For more of the October 2009 issue of Fast Company, please visit beginning September 16.

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