Google’s First Magazine.

Google has launched a new magazine entitled “Think Quarterly”. The magazines purpose is according to Google, “to create breathing space in a busy world.” This is a  limited-edition quarterly book for Google that brings together some of the world’s leading minds to discuss the issues facing businesses today.

This is the first installment of this quarterly magazine.  It features a bespoke cover tailored to the individual recipient, a slipcase, presentation box and a pop-up chart.

Using print on demand technologies and produced in collaboration with Google, Think Quarterly will be delivered to the UK’s leading chief executives. The magazine is curated by Google, designed and edited by The Church of London, it brings together world-leading data experts including Hans Rosling, Simon Rogers and Nigel Shadbolt to discuss how data is re-shaping modern business. The magazine is visually stunning and well put together, with solid layouts, photography, illustration and type.

In addition to the physical magazine,Think Quarterly is available as a rich Flash application with Google’s unique viewpoint and an in-depth writing style that you would expect to find in Business Week or Salon.

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My Company Missed the Boat.

I’m going to break some of my own blog rules. I am going to rant a bit about work. I’m going to do some minor self-promotion of my own design ideas, and I am going to say the company I work for missed the boat. (I’m not going to mention them by name)

I work for a company that makes the majority of its profit from ink on paper printed materials. Like most industries that use physical mail services, the art of actually writing with a pen or pencil, envelopes, stamps, etc. they have felt the impact of email, digital connectivity, and the shift to a more paperless society.

This item has been popping up around the internet for about 3 days. Pretty much every design blog and site has piggybacked off each other’s posts for a number of reasons, the primary one being that this is a really solid piece of design work. Clever, and unique, drawing old-world forms of communication, and new technologies together.

It’s relevant to me, because over a year ago I proposed a similar idea, centered not around Google, but around Twitter, and it was dismissed as impractical and having no relevance for our target audience. So I am a little torn here. Do I post about something that I feel would have been a smart move on my companies behalf, or do I just post this item and say, “Hey look, this concept is going viral on the web, and we could have had something just as cool in the market place 6 months ago.”

I’ll stick with the latter. While my wisecrack about what we could have done might get me in hot water at the office, posting visuals of my concept definitely would. None the less Google Envelopes is an awesome idea.

Designed by Rahul Mahtani & Yofred Moik from the Industrial Design program at Syracuse University, Google Envelopes allow someone to map the course the mail will travel, and help tell an extended story. All of this is linked back to Gmail itself tying snail mail and email directly together. This is just a concept, but a powerful one that people can immediately understand. I hope Google is smart enough to actually produce this because I really think it has serious possibilities.

Now if anyone from my office actually reads this post and is interested in seeing the concept and mock-ups that I finished over a year ago, shoot me an email. I’ll send you the PDF file.  And another thought, if these kids have graduated, we should hire them. They’re smart and talented.