The verbal tic of the day is “kinda.” Back in 2014, the New York Times called it out as weakness since the Internet is forever and you may have to stand by your words down the line: 

“Sometimes I think of epic declarative statements, and wonder how they might be rendered in today’s hedge-speak. ‘It was sort of the best of times, it was sort of the worst of times.’ ‘I came, I saw, I kind of conquered.’ ‘I sort of have a dream.’ Sound kind of weak? Definitely.”

That was 2014. It’s 2018, and we’ve swung the other way. We’ve shifted from hedging to hellfire. Our world feels black and white, with strict borders and padded walls. Many are shouting in extremes and thinking in tunnels. The polarity isn’t just political—it comes to life in where we live, how we live, what we watch, the paychecks we take home. 

And yet, I still hear “kinda” used all the time in everyday scenarios. Because when you’re living in the real world, grey is undeniable. So what if we all focused on living in the grey instead of just talking in grey? What would it mean to embrace both the black and the white, but adhere to neither? What if we saw power in grey instead of weakness? 

At W&W, we do this all the time. We seek out the spaces in culture and in the world where there is tension to then build brands that live in that grey—because it’s in the grey that there is the nuance, edge and intention that gives you story, direction and purpose. Living between worlds, you can spark with both. Seeing both sides, you can choose more powerfully. Grey lives in the middle, but also at the edges. We have to expand our view to take it all in. 

This year’s edition of HOWL will explore grey, as a concept that invites self-definition, sparks reinvention and instills balance. What might the world look like if we could all see more grey? How might the world change if we all lived more in the grey? What would we lose? What would we gain? 

HOWL itself is also getting more expansive. We’re evolving from our bi-annual printed magazine format to a year-long exploration of one theme that comes to life in many different ways, from content across our social platforms to events to a single printed volume that sums up the year’s exploration. The first chapter of this adventure will focus on identity, but there will be more to come. Be sure to jump on the mailing list to stay updated, but we’ll probably run into you on Instagram or Medium as well.