The things my colleagues and I do to get unstuck

Everyone’s been there, that moment on a creative project when it feels like you’ve just hit a wall. But no matter how frustrating, even anxious-making, that can be, sooner or later it’s something you’ve got to learn to love if you want to be in this business.

Just exactly when you realize you’re stuck can vary. It may, for instance, be after you’ve taken your initial pass at research. The beauty part of research, though at first blush it may not seem so, is methodology. You can lean into the structure it lends to the process without losing the creative…


The opportunities and obstacles of recording observations and getting to insights while working from home

One of the special rewards this job offers comes only once in a while in the form of an insight, a simple truth that describes the “why” behind certain behavior. Discoveries like those are the product of systematic research methods, many of which have been struck from our toolkit now that so much of our work happens behind a screen at home.

Most of the research we do at ThoughtMatter starts by simply observing the world and looking for patterns. To do this we have several tools at our disposal, an indispensable one being ethnographic research. In short, observing people…


How the ThoughtMatter Staff Adapted to Major Change Over the Last 12 Months

On the evening of March 12, 2020, we all packed up our laptops, left the office and headed home. We haven’t worked a day there since.

That Friday, March 13th , was intended to be a work-from-home trial run. We’d see how things went, and all come back on Monday to discuss what worked, and what didn’t. Instead, on that day, a new way of working, living and thinking officially began.

Now, with more than 50 Spotify playlists and virtual happy hours and countless Zoom meetings under our belt, we wanted to reflect on everything this year of confinement has…


The women of ThoughtMatter share their history of bad career advice, from the outlandish to the inappropriate.

Opinions are like a**holes; everybody’s got one. And it became clear after a quick office poll that this is something the women of ThoughtMatter are more than aware of. Following a lively, all-staff conversation about career advice, we sent the team a prompt to share the most outlandish advice they’d ever received. Among those who answered, a pattern emerged. For the most part, the men had received helpful, thought-provoking advice, while the advice the women received in their pre-ThoughtMatter days was more problematic — antiquated comments on appearance, attire and ambition that have no place in a professional work environment.


A new breed of blondes on TikTok challenge what it means to be intelligent and sexually empowered

Wondering why Juicy Couture sweatpants are back? Thank ✨ Bimbo TikTok ✨, the shiny, bejeweled corner of the internet devoted to the cult of the bimbo. Think platinum blonde pigtails, long lashes, gold hoops and push-up bras.

Ironically, bimbo was first used in the American context in 1919 to describe “an unintelligent or brutish man.” Ring a bell? …


As more of us feel the blues while being cooped up, the idea isn’t just to cope but to create.

Change of season got you down? You’ve got plenty of company. While SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is known to affect only 5% of US adults every year, the symptoms — pervasive sadness, undue fatigue, difficulty concentrating, lost interest in normally enjoyed activities — may well be plaguing many millions more as a result of life under quarantine. And if doomscrolling panic, Zoom fatigue, SAD szn, remote work burnout and pent-up post-election hysteria aren’t already enough, with a second wave of coronavirus starting to hit and more stay-at-home orders sweeping the nation seasonal depression could soon get a whole lot worse.


Quilting Past to Present by artist Bisa Butler

Starving for cultural experiences during these pandemic times could be seen as the sign of a deficiency affecting one’s current mental health. But a visit to the Katonah Museum of Art to encounter the beautiful textile creations of Bisa Butler turned out to be an immediate cure for any such anxiety.

My first impression was an overflow of emotion in the face of these colorful life-scale portraits. The subjects of these pieces all face front, intricate collages of fabrics skillfully stitched together in a reinvention of the technique of quilting.

The exhibition opened with an explosion of color in which…


Fighting Anti-Asian sentiment in the age of COVID-19

What happens when one race becomes the face of a global health crisis?

Spit on. Yelled at. Attacked. Horrifying accounts of racial discrimination against Chinese-Americans are on the rise since the pandemic began. Even worse, east Asians from Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines have also become the target of hate crimes, revealing harmful racial biases at play not unlike what Muslim-Americans experienced post-9/11.

Anti-Asian sentiment in the age of COVID-19 should come as no surprise when the sitting President openly refers to it as “the Chinese virus” in White House press briefings, blaming the Chinese government for unleashing…


Presidents are temporary. USPS is forever.

Was “Trump undermines the United States Postal Service” on your 2020 bingo card? Didn’t think so. An institution so vital to the American way of life is under attack as mailboxes disappear from street corners and mail-in voting becomes an unexpected major issue of the presidential campaign.

We could tell you all about USPS’ historic and cultural significance to society at large, but instead we wanted to investigate the personal role of the post office in our daily lives. We asked members of our staff to tell us what mail means to them.


Three women at ThoughtMatter look at Beyoncé’s new visual album through the lens of belonging

A Perspective from Maya Braunstein

Watching Black Is King for the first time I was astonished by the beauty of its visuals. But I also was confused by the references. Beyoncé and I are both descendants of the African Diaspora, yet I wondered how either of us could relate to, let alone understand, the African cultural references depicted throughout the film, given that we’re not from that culture. The truth is, I don’t know where my ancestors came from or anything about the world they belonged to before they were enslaved, forced to cross the Middle Passage and arrive in Trinidad. …

ThoughtMatter

ThoughtMatter is a creative branding, design and strategy studio with an artful perspective www.thoughtmatter.com | thinking@thoughtmatter.com

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