Tesla CYBERTRK logo

(Image credit: Tesla)

Weren’t the ’90s great? Britpop! Girl power! Net-surfing in cyber-space over a dial-up connection! What a time to be alive, and we’re getting huge ’90s vibes off a new US trademark filing from Tesla and its accompanying logo design.

Elon Musk tweeted last week that Tesla would be revealing its latest electric vehicle on 21 November, near the SpaceX rocket factory in Los Angeles, and that it would be the much rumoured Tesla pickup truck. 

Musk also revealed its name: Cybertruck. Possibly the most ’90s name that’s ever been given to any sort of vehicle, it harks back to a time when adding ‘cyber’ to the beginning of any word instantly bestowed it with ultimate hi-tech cool (funnily enough, we didn’t mention adding ‘cyber’ to your logo in our guide to logo design).

Cybertruck unveil on Nov 21 in LA near SpaceX rocket factoryNovember 6, 2019

It gets better, though. The same day as Musk tweeted his announcement, Tesla filed a pair of trademark applications at the US Patents and Trademarks Office, which were uncovered this week by an online sleuth at the Tesla Motors Club.

Not only has Tesla filed a trademark application for the name ‘Cybertruck’, it’s also put in another for the name ‘CYBRTRK’, complete with a logo that could have come straight out of The Designers Republic during its imperial ’90s phase. That was back when it was responsible for the look of one of the coolest videogames on the planet, WipEout on the PlayStation. Seriously, get a load of that wordmark:

Tesla CYBERTRK logo

You remember CYBRTRK. Came third in the first series of Robot Wars

(Image credit: Tesla)

It’s not an entirely authentic take on that ’90s TDR look; back then we were still using entire words rather than removing half the letters for stylistic effect, but we’ll let that pass. What gives it that distinctive retro flavour is those totally pared-back letterforms, removing every single extraneous detail while still just about communicating each letter’s identity.

We also love the JPG artefacts on the version of the logo posted in the trademark filing, just because it gives the logo the appearance of having been sent by fax, back when sending images by email was still considered poor netiquette.

We should also mention the wordmark filed along the ‘Cybertruck’ application (below), just because it’s also really ’90s in its own way: ‘CYBERTRUCK’ in block capitals that look an awful lot like Times New Roman. Hey, everyone loved serifs in the ’90s, and Times New Roman was honestly quite cool back then; we also wouldn’t be surprised if Musk had deliberately chosen it to annoy the sort of non-pickup-driving people (i.e. us) who think Times New Roman is past it.


Now that’s just straight-up typographic trolling

(Image credit: Tesla)

As for the CYBRTRK itself, no-one knows what that looks like yet and you’ll have to wait until 21 November for the reveal. Could it possibly be as awesome as Simone Giertz’s Truckla, made from an actual chopped up Tesla?

Somehow we doubt it. But we’re pleased to note that Musk has invited Giertz and Truckla to the big reveal next week.

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Vacansopapurosophobia, or the terror of staring at the blank page, is an exotic name for a common affliction. The crippling, self-conscious sensation of not knowing how to begin a creative task is especially familiar to adults who attempt drawing.

Now, WeTransfer, the Dutch file transfer service that features unique artwork with every download, has introduced a service that helps people to draw. Called Paper Store, the service aims to erase the sense of dread that comes from putting pen to paper. It offers capsule drawing lessons from professional illustrators. For $2 a pop, one can doodle along with British illustrator Jon Burgerman or learn to draw mind maps with San Francisco-based artist Catherine Madden. The tutorials aren’t MasterClass modules, but simple drawing prompts to get people into the habit.

The Paper Store is a clever scheme for highlighting WeTransfer’s sketching app called Paper. In a quest to expand its business, the 10-year old company last year acquired FiftyThree, the Seattle-based studio that created Paper and a collaboration app called Paste. Compared to other tablet-based drawing apps geared to professional illustrators such as Procreate or Adobe Fresco, Paper’s interface is pared down. Its default settings help even the novice sketch artist produce good results. The blob tool for instance, has proven to be surprisingly effective brush for creating caricatures. The pencil tool responds to the velocity, and pressure of the user’s strokes, resulting in drawings that look almost like they were sketched with a real pencil. Apple named Paper “iPad app of the year in 2012.” Seven years later, the app has been downloaded by 25 million people and WeTransfer hopes to increase the number of users by appealing to those who may not immediately identify themselves as artistic.


Doodle school.

On the surface, a digital app may seem like a roundabout way to get people to pick up a pencil or a painting brush. Why not doodle with a ten-cent pencil instead of a $1,000 iPad and stylus kit? The difference, it seems, lies in the confidence-boosting results possible to generate with computer-aided drawing software. Easy prompts create parameters that tend to free users from overthinking their artistic attempts, and the undo function instantly erases errant strokes. Mobile tablets, in general, have made drawing more accessible. The UK-based group iPad Engage for example, offered painting classes for elderly adults using mobile tablets.

Included in the 28 tutorials or “journals” currently in the Paper Store, is a lesson on improving one’s handwriting and one that encourages mindfulness by drawing patterns. “The idea is to give you some structure—something you can do every day,” explains Andrew Allen, WeTransfer head of product, who developed Paper with Georg Petschnigg, the company’s chief innovation officer.

“We really want to make tools to encourage everyone to be creative,” says Petschnigg. “The idea is to give people the essential tools to make it super easy to draw, sketch, color or write.” He explains that it’s been hard to sell the idea of picking up a stylus because of common insecurities about not being able to draw. Petschnigg is optimistic that the drawing prompts in the Paper Store will win over vacansopapurosophobics.

The feedback has been encouraging overall, says Allen. “We’ve seen so many people turn back to drawing as a way of expressing themselves. This includes people in their seventies who write to us to say that they hadn’t drawn since they were teens…there’s something powerful in its simplicity.”


Progressive Web Apps (often shortened to PWAs) are web apps designed to closely mirror the functionality of native apps, with features like offline support and notifications. Earlier this year, Google introduced a new technology for compiling PWAs into Android apps for submission to the Play Store, and now Samsung is inviting web apps to its Galaxy Store.

While there was nothing preventing developers from submitting PWAs to the Galaxy Store already (either running inside a Trusted Web Activity or a WebView wrapper), Samsung is treating web apps a little differently. Developers only need to submit the URL of their app to the store, instead of going through the time-consuming process of writing an APK. This might change as time goes on, but after spending hours creating a native wrapper for one of my web apps so I could publish it to the Play Store, I have to give points to Samsung here.

“To further integrate PWAs into the Samsung experience,” the company wrote in a blog post, “we have started adding PWAs to the Samsung Galaxy Store, placing Web App experiences alongside apps.” However, there doesn’t seem to be a way to actually install web apps from the Galaxy Store yet, only run them directly. Baby steps, I suppose.

If you’re a web developer, Samsung has instructions for submitting apps at the source link below. Web apps are only available in the US Galaxy Store right now, but the company hopes to “roll it out to the rest of the world at a later date.”


Most internet users understand the free content they consume is supported by data-driven advertising. Most people would prefer not to pay for content, but are also increasingly concerned about online privacy.

Google is seeking to navigate a middle path that balances privacy and user control over data and personalized advertising, which the internet has become increasingly dependent on. Building on announcements earlier this year at Google I/O related to Chrome and third-party cookie blocking, the company is initiating a standards discussion with the broader industry about how to support both user privacy and personalized, data-driven advertising.

The core principles. The guiding principles of the initiative are “transparency, choice and control.” Google’s Chetna Bindra, senior product manager, user trust and privacy, believes that this effort will potentially take several years to come to fruition. She also believes that the solution must be holistic and involve broad industry agreement about standards or it won’t work.

This ambitious effort to start an industrywide discussion is partly a reaction to the rise of ad blocking and partly to Apple’s implementation of “Intelligent Tracking Prevention,” designed to prevent third-party ad tracking across the internet on the Safari browser. Apple’s business model doesn’t rely on advertising and the company has sought to make user privacy a differentiated feature of its products.

Chrome is the world’s most used browser but Safari dominates on the iPhone and is not far behind in the U.S. market. But unlike Apple, Google sits at the center of a massive advertising ecosystem.

Blocking cookies isn’t the answer. In one of two blog posts this morning on the new standards initiative, Google cites internal data that argues when cookies go away so does revenue for publishers: “When advertising is made less relevant by removing cookies, funding for publishers falls by 52% on average.” The company says the revenue hit is even larger for news publishers (62%) in the absence of cookies and personalized ads.

Google argues that simply blocking cookies won’t work to deliver true user control because, according to Bindra’s blog post, “broad cookie restrictions have led some industry participants to use workarounds like fingerprinting, an opaque tracking technique that bypasses user choice and doesn’t allow reasonable transparency or control. Adoption of such workarounds represents a step back for user privacy, not a step forward.”

Illustrations of how user controls over data-driven ads might work

pdf), “Giving users more transparency, choice and control over how their data is used in digital advertising,” presents specifics on how to potentially implement some of these more abstract ideas. The document, created after feedback from stakeholders, says users should be able to see and have control over:

  • What data is being collected, by whom and why
  • Who is responsible for an ad, and
  • What caused an ad to appear

It presents hypothetical screenshots, disclosures and user controls. The document is intended to stimulate discussion among a broad range of industry stakeholders.

The following concepts are what Google ultimately hopes the industry can develop and agree upon:

  • A standard way to surface how data is being collected
  • A standard way to label ads with metadata
  • A standard way to surface the companies involved in showing ads
  • A centralized registry of participating companies
  • Shared understanding of how to address practices that bypass the standards arrived at through industry discussion

Google says in the proposal that it’s going to “launch an early, experimental, open-source browser extension that will display information for ads shown to a user and will work across different browsers. We plan to start with the ads that Google shows on our own properties and on the properties of our publishing partners.”

Google has also created a feedback form to respond to these ideas.

Why we should care. The reasons are obvious. The digital ads ecosystem has become more reliant on “behavioral advertising” and data-driven personalization over time. But as that system has gotten more sophisticated, users have become more concerned and various initiatives, including privacy laws (e.g., CCPA), have arisen in response. However, Google’s Chetna Bindra says the initiative is not a specific response to such laws.

While this effort is partly self-interested, Google is right in trying to find “a middle way” that empowers users but enables the advertising ecosystem to function effectively.

The industry’s previous “Ad Choices” effort is a dismal failure — because people don’t understand or engage with it. For this initiative to work, several things need to happen:

  • The entire ecosystem must participate in the discussion — and agree
  • The resulting user experience must be clear and accessible to “ordinary people” and truly deliver on its promise of “transparency, choice and control.”

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