Steve Kulp

Archive for the ‘advertising’ Category

who does he think he is?

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.


injury to insult – london 2012

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.

company name etymologies

In advertising, corporate naming, design, etymology, names, uncategorized on April 8, 2007 at 2:12 pm

Came across this great Wikipedia entry that lists the origins of different corporate names. I prefer the names seem to have naturally evolved, rather than being created from scratch. My favorites…

Blaupunkt — Blaupunkt (“Blue dot”) was founded in 1923 under the name “Ideal”. Its core business was the manufacturing of headphones. If the headphones came through quality tests, the company would give the headphones a blue dot. The headphones quickly became known as the blue dots or blaue Punkte. The quality symbol would become a trademark and the trademark would become the company name in 1938.


Red Hat — while at college, company founder Marc Ewing was given the Cornell lacrosse team cap (with red and white stripes) by his grandfather. People would turn to him to solve their problems and he was referred to as that guy in the red hat. He lost the cap, later the manual of the beta version of Red Hat Linux had an appeal to readers (anyone finding it) to return his Red Hat.

Thanks to Jason Kottke for bringing this to my attention.

big sister

In advertising, barack obama, democrat, hillary clinton, movies, news, obama, user-generated content on March 8, 2007 at 11:08 am

Here’s an interesting example of user-generated content in the political arena.
(Actually, it’s not “user-generated” as much as it is “user-adapted”.)

At first glance, it seems to be little more than political mudslinging, the likes of which I’m sure we’ll see more of as the 2008 primary races heat up. Upon further contemplation, it actually has an insightful point of view, and the execution of this video really helps get this point across. There is something a bit “Big Sister” about her announcement video, and she seems to be no stranger to Orwellian doublethink.

I lean pretty far to the left, but I’ve never been able to come to terms with my own reservations about Hillary. Something about this video resonates for me and makes things a bit clearer. Of course, her mysterious southern accent helps as well.

Thanks to Cord Silverstein at Marketing Hipster for bringing this to my attention.