Entries by Alan Dunn


If you’ve been around for a little while, you’ll likely remember a world without Amazon.com (though you may not want to admit it). When it launched in 1995, Amazon was a mere bookseller, albeit with the lofty goal and tagline to be the “Earth’s biggest book store.” Founder Jeff Bezos originally planned to name his […]

Coca Cola

It’s a widely known fact that Coke started out with coca—the extract of cocaine—as a key ingredient, along with the kola nut. Hence its name: Coca-Cola. While consumers today drink Coke “just for the taste of it,” back when it was first introduced in 1885, it was marketed as a health tonic certain to cure […]


If you were a kid at any point in the last 80 years, you likely have fond memories of playing with Legos, often for hours at a time. If you’ve got kids, you probably still play with them. And if you grew up with siblings or have more than one child, you’ve likely wondered at […]


Inventor Nikolai Tesla was more famous than his rival, Thomas Edison, in the 1890s, but he died in poverty and his name was relegated to near obscurity in school history books. As the man who gave us fluorescent lighting, the Tesla coil, the Tesla induction motor, three-phase electricity, the alternating current (AC) electric supply system […]


Starbucks and its logo is a classic example of something peculiar becoming so mainstream that it’s no longer questioned. So the next time you’re in a Starbucks (you’re in one now, aren’t you?), snap out of your mocha-induced haze for just a moment and look, really look, at the logo on your cup. Does it […]


Not all companies start out with the right name. A case in point is Nike, which was originally founded as Blue Ribbon Sports by University Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman and team runner Phil Knight in 1964. The company served as a distributor of Onitsuka Tiger footwear from Japan until 1971, when Bowerman came up […]


The FedEx logo story is a legend in the industry, with the simple design of a “hidden” arrow in the whitespace hailed as revolutionary at the time. Lindon Leader, then at Landor Associates, developed the award-winning logo in 1994 as part of his exploration into simplicity and clarity in design. There’s no need for complexity […]


So there we were, driving down I-95 to Florida to visit the in-laws and Disneyworld (the two birds/one stone method of vacationing), when we heard this tiny voice in the back of the car start singing “duh duh duh duh DUH.” We looked at our 18 month-old son and then outside the car and—sure enough—we […]


There’s perhaps no other fruit quite as imagery-laden as the apple: The story of the Garden of Eden, Isaac Newton and gravity, Johnny Appleseed seeding the land, New York City’s nickname. It’s evocative of knowledge, technology, creation, and more, with just a tiny bit of sin thrown in. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that […]