Archive for the ‘Branding’ Category

Recession Aesthetics

June 20, 2009

DishSoapCompositeThanks to the tanking world economy, this year I suddenly found myself confronted by a perfect storm right in my very own kitchen: I needed to obtain the vast quantities of calories required by a ravenous teenager and his younger brother without having to declare bankruptcy. The blissful era of strolling around the local food co-op with a petite handheld basket containing a single grass-fed steak at $26 and a recycled-paperboard pint of $5.99 organic raspberries was over. And so it came to pass that in January I bravely pushed a doublewide chrome shopping cart into the land of excess that is Costco. I quickly realized that shopping there isn’t just about food, the experience is an education in the subtleties of how the graphic design of brands sells products to their intended audiences.




March 16, 2009

6a00d8341d417153ef0112791b457428a4As much as I’d rather eat fancy natural dark chocolate, I can’t help but be dazzled by the simplicity and effectiveness of Snickers’ Snacklish campaign. It seems the Snickers team at Mars have come up with many punny ads for the nougat, peanut-filled candy bar.  Here are some more samples from the Peanut Gallery (couldn’t help myself) from the Facebook fan page:


Coming or Going?

March 13, 2009


Gorillas Don’t Blog holds a steady spot in my rss reader. The author posts vintage photographs from Disneyland and the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. My recent favorite is this picture of the exit gate at Disneyland back in the 1960’s. It’s a far cry from the gate today…


Dazzled by Science

March 12, 2009


AceJet, a lovely blog of found art and typography, tipped me off to this amazing set of 1950s and 60’s magazine ads for science and techonology companies. More than 180 ads showcasing the beauty and abstract qualities of modernist design can be found here on Flickr, posted by BustBright. I clicked through every example, awed by the impact, simplicity, and straightforward intelligence of the graphics. They aren’t trying to sell a temporary disposable lifestyle, they’re previewing an entire future.

Who’s Sorry Now?

March 9, 2009

allsorrynowI’m going to move on to other topics, I promise. But first: look at the design de-evolution of Sorry. The game was first produced in England in the 1920’s as a modified version of Parcheesi. In 1934, at left,  it was licensed to Parker Brothers for sale in the United States. The board actually didn’t change much from then through the 1962 version at top right. Oh, but the box! The older typography was bold and striking. By 1962, the box had almost no design of its own, relying on a photo of the board and a couple of creepy disembodied hands to convey the game’s appeal.

It’s clear that the current look overall, at lower right—brighter candy colors, lots of transparency, lots of speed lines—is influenced by video games and motion graphics. This strikes me as a desperate attempt to attract a generation of players who expect their entertainment to move and crash and make sparks. A board game does none of those things; why pretend? It’s just a different animal. But still a fun one.

Branding the Recovery

March 4, 2009

aara_logo_2It’s official: the Obama Administration is embracing design in a progressive way that demonstrates how fresh and provocative new government can be. Although there are risks involved in developing logos and images for nations to stand behind, this movement to create many images that illustrate where the dollars of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) are going is refreshing.