Designed Identities

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The United Kingdom has not historically been known for its quality and taste of foodstuffs, but such presumptions might be discarded in the rise to prominence of Pret a Manger, a mainly ‘to go’ café that appeals mainly to workers in need of a healthy and pre-made breakfast or lunch. Founded in 1984 in London, the industrial chrome interior bears shelves of assorted sandwiches, salads and soups, all of which are daily made and reasonably priced. As opposed to delis where a lunch might expire on the current date after having been in shop all week, Pret’s food is all made in-house with fresh ingredients, appealing to consumer desire for nutritionally rich fodder that is close to the source. The advertisements suspended in windows convey this light hearted devotion to nutrition well – clever characters are illustrated by vegetable bits, egg, bread, or any part of a Pret meal that might help to construe an entertaining shape. Should anything wrapped be left unsold at the end of the day it is donated to local charities (in accordance with laws which prevent the unwrapped distribution of food), a policy related to their ‘daily made’ principle which also works to appeal to their customer base. In 2001, 33% of the company was sold to McDonald’s, which transferred in 2008 to Bridgepoint Capital, neither change of which altered founding dogma. Although most of its franchises are based in London, several have opened in New York, and Boston’s first arrived this past November.


Wallpaper City Guides began as small colored books published by Phaidon, well known for their art and design publication. Aesthetically speaking, they are the most eye-catching of a bookshop’s travel section with their candy toned covers, each color specifying a unique city. Produced by Wallpaper, a well-regarded publication in the world of design, these guides are much trusted amongst those who value a well-curated experience of a given place. The move to electronic platform has made City Guides even more endearing – not only has the price been slashed by more than a half due to the relief from publishing charges, but the information available is infinitely more changeable and current. Designed for Apple products and mapped by Google, the flexibility of City Guides works in synthesis with the up-to-date photographs and reviews of various urban sites. Once downloaded and stored on the device (as many international travelers may not have roaming data packages), a consumer will have little worry, loss or complaint. 


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