In advertising, awesome, mac, microsoft, tattoo, uncategorized, zune on June 13, 2007 at 10:30 am
I can’t say I understand the motivation to get a corporate logo tattooed on your body, especially that of the Microsoft Zune. I’ve watched enough Miami Ink to know that the only worthwhile tattoo is one that tells a story about who you are, where you come from, or what you aspire to be.
I have to wonder – What association is this fellow trying to make between himself and the #4 mp3 player on the market? It is a product that can best be described by comparing it to another product, the iPod. It has no defining quality that makes it iconic, in the marktplace or on your arm. Quite simply, it has no soul.
That said, it is a nice tattoo. If it didn’t have such bland connnotations, it might be really interesting.
Thanks to my favorite music blog, Stereogum, for bringing this to my attention.
In account planning, advertising, books, psychology, research, stilgoe, uncategorized on June 11, 2007 at 12:14 pm
I just finished reading Outside Lies Magic, by John R. Stilgoe. Stilgoe is a professor of landscape history at Harvard, and as word has it, his courses are among the most sought after at the university. He must be relatively popular, since I first heard about him via a 60 Minutes profile back in 2004.
This is an amazing little book about the beauty and complexity of the ordinary world. Early in the book, Stilgoe describes himself as an explorer. Not an explorer of faraway places, but of the ones we see every day. His mode of exploration isn’t characterized by focusing on the rarely-seen, but on the oft-overlooked. He takes us through urban neighborhoods, suburban strip-malls and country roads with the intent of instilling within the reader a renewed curiosity about the world around them. The book meanders, but in the best possible way. It reads like a travelogue written by someone so curious and observant that they never felt the need to leave their hometown. You ultimately find that there is tremendous detail and history behind the ordinary environments we float through every day.
Another major theme is un-learning what we assume we know about the world. Stilgoe isn’t trying to educate you concerning matters of history and fact about landscape of the built environment. He is attempting to invigorate your sense of perception and curiosity that has been flattened by television, computer and the automobile.
Discovering bits and pieces of peculiar, idiosyncratic importance in ordinary metropolitan landscape scrapes away the deep veneer of programmed learning that overlies and smothers the self-directed learning of childhood and adolescence.
Anyone whose work involves intellectual curiosity or observation of the human condition (basically, everyone) can benefit from reading this book. At just under two-hundred pages it is a quick read. Thankfully, Outside Lies Magic provides a framework for looking at the world that resonates well beyond its pages.
In arcade fire, fresh air, interviews, npr, uncategorized on June 7, 2007 at 9:32 am
I’m happy to report that Fresh Air, my favorite NPR production, is now availble as a free podcast. Terry Gross may very well be the single best interviewer I have ever heard. She can take what would be a mundane chat with an entertainer and turn it into a dialogue that tells us something profound about that individual and their approach to their art.
I have to mention that some accuse Terry Gross of “flirting” with her guests on occasion. I think she’s just a genuinely nice person who doesn’t feel the need to browbeat her guests for no reason. She doesn’t throw softballs at guests Like Larry King, but she also doesn’t feel the need to make them cry like Barbara Walters. It’s alway clear that she isn’t the center of the interview. It’s all about the subject.
For evidence of the show’s greatness, download the Fresh Air interview with Win Butler and Régine Chassagne of Arcade Fire. She gets more out of them than I would have ever expected.
(Note: A little birdie told me that only the 10 most recent episodes will be avalaible on iTunes. Of course, once you download them, they’re yours.)
In advertising, design, graphic design, london 2012, olympics, sports, uncategorized on June 6, 2007 at 8:44 am
What was just another bad logo is now a public health problem. It seems the promotional video for the London 2012 Olympics mark (above) is capable of causing seizures. This logo has turned out to be an absolute PR disaster, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better. I even heard milquetoast Matt Lauer take a cheap-shot at it on th Today Show.
What worries me is the damage this debacle does for design in general. One of the fundamental problems that faces designers today is their (in)ability to explain their work to laypeople. The running joke is tha “even our parents think we sit in the corner and draw pictures all day.” It’s hard to build value in the eyes of the public around something that seems as simple as a logo.
I’ve already seen the public questioning the nearly $800,000 in fees that Wolff Olins commanded for the logo design and development. There’s actually some jerk on YouTube who has posted a video of themselves redrawing the logo in real time as a way of questioning its cost. What they fail to explain is the weeks and months of constant exploration and iterations that culminated with this logo. As a (reformed) designer, I understand the value of the work that goes into a project like this. To be honest, $800K seems like the “friends and family rate”. If a large, high profile privately-held corporation commissioned the same level of work, it would cost considerabbly more. So, let me be clear: I hat this logo on a gut level, but I understand it rationallly.
For a good overview of the reactions of the graphic design community to the logo check out this post over at SpeakUp. (Warning!!! They do attempt to defend the logo as a piece of design.) Be sure to take a gander at the riot that is going on in the comments section.