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 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.
In account planning, advertising, christopher hitchens, random, rants, slate, uncategorized, words on April 18, 2007 at 4:19 pm
Found this very observant little article by Christopher Hitchens over on Slate called The You Decade. In short, Hitchens brings to our attention the overuse and misuse of the word “you”. The anecdote about Rite-Aid is perfect:
I suppose I started to notice it about two or three years ago, when the salespeople at Rite-Aid began wearing dish-sized lapel buttons stating that “YOU are the most important customer I will serve today.” It was all wrong, in the same way that a sign hung on a door saying “Back in five minutes” is out of time as soon as it is put in place. It was wrong in other ways, too, since it could be read from some distance (say, from 10 spaces back in a slow-moving line)…
His argument seems semantic and rhetorical, but I wholeheartedly agree with him. That sneaky little pronoun will henceforth be the bain of my existence.
In account planning, advertising, awesome, Contact, random, tarheels, unc, uncategorized on April 17, 2007 at 10:17 am
Those of you who know me personally know that I have spent the last two years at the University of North Carolina pursuing my master’s degree in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. As of last Friday, I am officially finished. I defended my thesis and handed in the final manuscript. While I don’t get my diploma until May 13th, my academic requirements are complete.
I want to thank my friends and family for all of their support during these last two years. I also want to thank my colleagues at both McKinney and Modernista! for putting up with with me as an intern. And to my classmates and professors at UNC, just know that I would not have been able to do this without you challenging me every day.
Let the job-hunt begin…..
In account planning, advertising, media ownership, movies, Network, rants, satire on April 9, 2007 at 8:58 am
I was watching the movie Network recently, and I realized that it is the finest satire ever made. I’ll tell you why.
The definition of satire is “Irony, sarcasm, or caustic wit used to attack or expose folly, vice, or stupidity.” (American Heritage Dictionary) At its best, satire toes the line between the realistic and the fantastic. It leaves you partially unable to discern the difference between the two. It turn something we see every day and tweaks it just enough that we begin to see just how silly it actually is. The absolute best satire is so rooted in real life and so incisive that it actually has a predictive quality. It brings to light a situation that, if not remedied, becomes reality.
Unfortunately, Network, high satire when it was released in 1976, has now come true. Most people know the movie Network based on this one scene, the “Mad As Hell” scene. It basically won Peter Finch an Oscar. (The movie was nominated for 10 and won 4.) There is another key scene, another of Beale’s rants, that is even more prescient. Just watch the YouTube video above an tell me that this isn’t a precise description of the media landscape thirty years later.
Oh, if you haven’t seen Network, put it in your Netflix cue today.
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.
In account planning, advertising, bruce nussbaum, design, graphic design, rants on March 20, 2007 at 3:35 pm
I came accross this great article by the great Bruce Nussbaum at Business Week. It’s the transcript of a somewhat provocative lecture Mr. Nussbaum gave at Parson’s a few weeks back, a call to arms for designers to start thinking about what it means to be a designer in the 21st century. While much of the text dwells on being green and sustainable, there is a bigger theme concerning simply being aware of the world around you and challenging assumptions.
For what it’s worth, I think this speech is a must-read. My favorite passage…
…Design has evolved from a simple practice to a powerful methodology of Design Thinking that, I believe, can transform society. By that I mean Design, with a capital D, can move beyond fashion, graphics, products, services into education, transportation, economics and politics. Design can become powerful enough to be an approach to life, a philosophy of life. But it can do so only when Design by Ego ends and Design by Conversation begins.
In account planning, advertising, electroluminescent, graphic design, homeland security, news, technology, uncategorized on March 19, 2007 at 10:47 am
When I heard this story about a new application of military technology to advertising on NPR today, I couldn’t wait to get home and see it. I was trying to imagine what it would look like. Glows in the dark? Blackhawk helicopters? Holographic? I mean, it sounds kinda cool on the radio.
Well as it turn out, it’s just and another example of urban spam, and in my opinion, a more egregious example than most. Why? Because it had the potential to be cool. This electroluminescent technology is visually interesting, but a ReMax ad hardly does it justice. It’s the same lame ad they run in the daytime, just tarted-up for the evening. There are plenty of brands that could use the technology as a part of the creative execution, not just as a bell and/or whistle. I’d love to see that trippy Lunesta butterfly glowing around town. It’s just a shame that my first exposure to it had to be so banal.
Let’s just hoe that Atlantans don’t mistake it for a bomb.
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.