We were finally able to enjoy some culture this weekend with the viewing of Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, 1923-1937 on view at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale. As someone who did not know much about Steichen’s career beyond recognizing a few photographs it was interesting to find out more about his life and work.
The layout of the exhibit starts in the early 1920’s, where many of the portraits have a sepia and faded palette to the prints, from there it chronologically follows his career through the 1930s. His photographs of the 20s seem (at least to me) to be more straightforward and less dynamic than his later works. As the 20s gave way to the 30s Steichen’s photos have more depth, both in the blacks of the grayscale and the human interest displayed within the frame. His film noir treatment of light and the Art Nuevo, and especially Art Deco styling of his backgrounds, subject mater, and overall aesthetic really began to take shape as his career progressed.
Though probably known best for his female subjects, the way he shot his male figures are both epic and timeless. The photo of Gary Cooper in the late 20s reminds me of the Don Draper character from the AMC show Mad Men (see images above). My favorite photo out of the entire exhibit was probably the smallest on display. It was of a movie director or producer taken in 1930. The man (who I really wish I could remember who it was) is seated in a director’s chair with lighting and grip equipment serving as the background. The camera is positioned lower that the subject and the lighting is of an intense key light with mild fill …exceptionally powerful and stunning.
After viewing the exhibit you see how Steichen was able to influence fashion photography from that point on. The texture and shape he could create through the natural curves of his models coupled with the lines of the fabrics they wore were both dynamic and simplistic. Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, 1923-1937 was on display at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale from February 28 through April 11th, 2010. From Fort Lauderdale it makes it’s last scheduled stop at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO from May 15 – July 25, 2010.
Amidst the debate of national healthcare reform, one television commercial really stands out. Regardless of your opinions on this controversial topic, this commercial has the perfect metaphor for AARP’s message; an ambulance running lights and sirens, getting cut-off at every turn – brilliant. I didn’t even listen to the words the first few times I saw the commercial, I watched the imagery and instantly got it. Maybe I connect with the spot because of my brief stint as a state certified Emergency Medical Technician and 8 years as a part-time health and safety educator, or maybe the symbolism is just that strong. Either way I though it was well done.
In the past few days this commercial has stirred more controversy than most advertisements ever will, here’s some comments:
From AARP.org on August 17th & 18th:
“My first impression was laughter. I thought all of those cars were rich ambulance-chasing trial lawyers fighting to get a new client.”
“The AARP commercial looks pretty good – it takes on the myths and facts. Take a look.
I love the comments about the use of American cars in the commercial (some people reallllllly have too much time on their hands to look for conspiracy theories. They’re probably disappointed that black helicopters aren’t featured as well.)”
“WE WERE MASSIVELY OFFENDED by the commercial we saw tonight showing an ambulance being cut off by expensive cars at every turn. SHAME ON AARP for thinking that we are so gullible as to be influenced by such obvious tripe.”
I didn’t know the Dodge Caliber, the car most visible throughout the commercial, was considered an “expensive car”, but okay.
From YouTube on August 17th:
“This video is awsome it really shows how good the government has got at sponsoring propaganda!! 2 thumbs up!!”
“I hope AARP paid enough to make this commercial because I definitely think less of them after having seen it.”
Pretty strong opinions for a commercial sponsored by a non-governmental organization (and interest group). Whatever your feelings about the healthcare reform bill are, you have to admit that this is a strong commercial with unmistakable symbolism – people getting in the way of healthcare.
There are four “C’s” that you are told to look for when you pick out a diamond – Clarity, Color, Cut, and Carat – but no one tells you what to look for when you decide (or design) what logo will represent you and your company to the world…until now.
The need to address this came to me today as I was trying to incorporate a client’s, shall we say underdeveloped, logo into a design. This logo is so bad it hurts my brain, but what can I do? I have to incorporate it into the prescribed design requested by the client. In order to ease my future pains, I present to you – clients and designers alike – a simple guide to the five “C’s” of logo design:
Color: The colors chosen for your logo can say a lot. Think about the feel that you are looking for in the logo design. If the look is “retro” maybe look at movie posters from that era. If you’re looking for something in a specific field, check out what colors other companies are using – to stand out use colors that contrast with your competitors. Colorcombos.com is also a great resource if you already have a color in mind and need some help with color harmonies.
Always design your logo with two color schemes in mind – full color & black and white. This applies for you web people, too. Yes, your company is online only, but one day you may need to photocopy something with your logo, or maybe decide to sponsor an event that requires you to dumb down the colors to only black and white. Do it at the beginning so you don’t frustrate yourself later on.
Clarity: Whether your logo is text based, graphics based, or a combination, you want your message heard, or read, with understanding. If your message is lost within itself no one will get it. This doesn’t mean you have to shy away from a complex logo if it is the right solution to your branding goals, just keep the focus on what your message will be. Have you seen the logo for the 2012 Olympics in London? Look at it closely and you can see that the logo shape actually forms “2012,” but don’t look to long or you might start convulsing. The metaphor is lost in the goat rodeo of color and shape.
Composition: Balance. Balance. Balance. Design 101 comes into play here. Your design does not need to be symmetrical, but it does need to be balanced. Think of a balance scale with weights on it. If you have a one-pound block on one side, and one 1/4 pound block, two1/8 pound blocks, a 1/2-pound block on the other side, it will have more pieces on one side, but still be balanced. The same is true for your design; juxtapose a large single element with a quantity of smaller elements to achieve aesthetic equality.
Compatibility: What is the final output for your logo? Logos get reproduced in arenas that we tend to forget about. Sure your company is solely web based, but one day you may want a sign, a t-shirt, giveaways, awards, billboards, vehicle wraps, or even corporate sponsorship with your prized logo on it. Think about the logo going on these items and ask yourself: What colors look good behind my logo? What color is horrible behind my logo? Should I have a vector logo instead of a raster logo? Hint: always choose vector unless there is a really good reason not to.
Content: What does your logo say – literally and metaphorically? There are some fantastic logos out there that are pure text, and there are some logos that a gorgeous by just being metaphoric. Some of the strongest logos choose to combine these elements. For example look at amazon.com’s logo. Simple text based logo with a yellow metaphoric swoosh. What does that swoosh mean? Well it might be smile, or is it an arrow pointing from a to z?
Now you are ready go forth and choose (or design) a competent logo. With every logo you look at, remember the five “C’s”: Color, Clarity, Composition, Compatibility, and Content. Good luck, and happy branding!
When you think of the Nickelodeon television station a familiar splat may come to mind, but not anymore. Nickelodeon has decided to rebrand for it’s 30th anniversary eliminating all signs of the splat that reminded us of so many shows from our youth – Double Dare, You Can’t Do That On Television, etc. That’s right, the fun, iconic, dare I say sophomoric splat that defined more than one generation of TV audiences is now circling the drain.
The reason for this as explained by Nick and MTV Network’s Kids and Family Group president, Cyma Zarghami, is:
“The decision to streamline the network identities came after they started putting all of the channels’ logos on the same business card—and decided that it looked like a mess. We wanted to clean it up and allow Nick to be the stamp on all of these channels… In asking ourselves if everything could live under the splat, we decided that the splat was dated. It just couldn’t be done in a streamlined way”
Now that we’ve heard from the brass, lets hear some critiques from their target audience:
Eleven-year-old: “I think the old logo is more exciting for kids. I like the splatter because it looks alive. The new logo is too boring and lacks detail. Being lower case it doesn’t stand out on the poster examples. I do like the Teen Nick look a lot though.”
Fourteen-year-old: “The old logo is more kid friendly and represented who Nick is much better. The new logo is too plain, boring and not as much fun. Does that mean they are doing away with sliming? The Teen Nick logo is better than the new Nickelodeon. At least Teen Nick shows personality.”
And there you have it, out of the mouths of babes…
There has been much debate over what the connection between the lower case “i” and it’s dot is meant to represent – Is it an abstraction of a child? Is it a lame attempt to incorporate the splat somewhere? If you read through some of the comments from other blogs you will see the humorous outcries from the public; it seems this new “arcade retro” logo is a little too web 2.0 trendy for most people, and overall lacking in a more timeless and child friendly design aesthetic.
In the wake of the transitioning brands for Nickelodeon one thing should not be overlooked; that is the childlike simplicity in the 1984 logo design by Scott Nash and Tom Corey for Fred/Alan Inc. It was adapted, developed, and refined for 25 years, one thing is for certain – this new logo will not last nearly as long.
Roaming the aisles of Target over the last few months you may have noticed a “new” brand on the shelves. Target Corp is adding “up & up” to their list of exclusive brands, which already include Archer Farms, Market Pantry, Choxie, Sutton & Dodge, and Wine Cube. According to a May report by Nicole Maestri of Reuters this rebranding will affect the Target brand line used for sunscreen, tissues, diapers, and other household products.
Reuters also reports:
“According to a study commissioned by the Private Label Manufacturers Association, three out of 10 consumers said they are “buying more store brand products” compared with a year ago.”
The redesign has taken the old bulls-eye logo, normally seen in white or red, and morphed the entire brand to feature bright colors, a soft-edge arrow, and the new name, “Up & Up.” The newly repackaged products started hitting shelves in March. By the time the rebranding is complete, some time this autumn, it will include roughly 730 items across 40 product categories.
I think the rebrand will help Target Corp get market share. The old bulls-eye logo was a little anti-climactic for current packaging trends. This new branding vision adds a fresh look to the packaging and a more upbeat look to the brand. Let’s hope that the name is just reminiscent of the phrase “on the up and up” and not a foreshadowing for the pricing structure.
Cats love cardboard; people love cats doing cute and funny things. Combine these two principles and you have a creation like the Cat Playhouse Tank, Plane, and Fire Engine from SuckUK.
That’s right, you can order cardboard military vehicles and a fire apparatus for your favorite feline. It ships flat, so there is some assembly required – think of it as a bonding experience between the two of you.
Having three cats, we understand the mesmerizing and nearly magnetic draw that cardboard has on cats. Also having three cats we know how long cardboard lasts in an excited barrage of claws, teeth, and playfulness…usually not long.
The idea for these structures is great, and the designs are fun and entertaining. Best of all they used non-toxic ink, so your cat won’t look like he has a milk mustache of printed metal – and of course they are recyclable.