APPLE // INTENTIONS, Motion Graphics Advertisement
I saw this Apple motion graphics ad whilst waiting for my film to start at the cinema last weekend, and I became quickly entranced by the elegant circles and lines and the simple phrases being subtly animated. This reminded me of a project we did during our MA in Communication Design, where we dissected rhythms and used circles as a typographic language to represent the notes and sounds. It is such a simple and beautiful way to tell a story. And after all, storytelling is what design is all about.
Sterling Cooper ‘Ampersand’ Partners *SPOILER ALERT
After merging the two advertising agencies, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and Cutler Gleason and Chaough, the partners of AMC’s show Mad Men finally realised that SCDPCGC is way too many letters for any acronym. This resulted in simplifying the name back to its original members, Bert Cooper and Roger Sterling Sr. and calling the agency Sterling Cooper & Partners. As I am an avid fan of the series (and an avid fan of branding), I was excited to see a hypothetical press release launching the new agency brand and logo. Following this “press release”, several designers and design authors have shared their opinions on the new logo. One of my favourites was shared on the blog, Brand New:
“The new logo drops the seriousness of its predecessor with a custom monogram of the abstracted initials and an ornamental ampersand. The monogram letters are nicely executed with the same proportions and counter-spacing used in the taller letters (“S” and “P”) as in the shorter one (“C”). The supporting wordmark comes in a remarkably nice bulbed sans serif that hints back to the original sans serif but clearly points forward.”
Though I agree with most of what is said above, something about the ampersand bothers me. It may be the fact that it appears uncentered, with more space on the lower right side than on the top left. It is kind of filling the empty space underneath the ‘C’, but not quite. Another issue may be the fact that it is so close to the bottom of the ‘C’. My eyes want a bit of breathing room. However, this placement may have been an effort to cause the viewers’ eyes to visually connect the ‘C’ with the ‘&’, so that it reads SC&P rather than SCP&. In the press release, Jim Cutler says, “You have to agree the ampersand is funky.” I do think it’s funky, but I’m not sure it is the best fit for these symmetrically geometric letters.
I have to admit, The Shard isn’t my favorite building. I lived near Tower Bridge while they were building it last year, and I can’t deny that I moaned about the construction ruining our view of the London city scape everyday. Even when the construction was “finished”, I wasn’t sold on the way they left the top open/raw.
Regardless of my opinion of the building, this promotional video makes me want to go in it, experience the different floors’ themes and view the city through the Tell:Scope - a telescope that informs the viewers whilst using it. The style may be a bit too futuristic (especially with the “I want to win an Oscar” backtrack) but it’s not often that a mock-up environment engages me. Maybe it was the super modern logo at the beginning…?
London Underground 150th Anniversary - Promotional Posters
Anyone who has ever ridden The Tube in London knows how saturated it is with advertising posters. Some posters are traditionally framed prints and some are moving images on digital screens. As these screens are placed next to escalators, they can be hard to read for viewers whilst moving upward/downward. This limits the amount of variation that can occur, and usually all of the digital posters have the same design repeated, or two designs alternating.
One collection of digital posters that caught my eye recently was created to promote the 150th Anniversary of The Tube. This advertising campaign illustrates the story of commuters who have shared this journey through history. 10 people progress through the years, indicated by their evolving fashion and colour saturation. What I like about the digital posters is that they don’t simply repeat the printed poster (below). Each digital canvas focuses on one of the characters, showing them as they would look if they were riding next to you. They also occasionally look over to sneak a glance at the viewer. For me, this really brings the characters to life and engages me with the story.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year - Natural History Museum
Over the weekend, my husband and I went to the Natural History Museum to view the gallery of winning photographs from the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year. (The photographs below are all displayed on the website, but if would like to visit the exhibition before seeing any images, please don’t read any further!)
Though we don’t usually agree with all of the category winners, the overall winner this year was stunning (below). The depth, colours, and amount of detail were even more eye-catching on the back-lit prints that were displayed on black walls.
This photograph (below) was the overall winner out of the young photographers. Though I appreciate the ironic juxtaposition of the eagle with the plane, it actually didn’t do much for me - especially when backlit, as the contrast between the plane and sky was almost completely lost.
My favorite photographs are actually the ones that tell a story. I suppose I am more interested in photojournalism than photography as fine art, especially when it comes to wildlife. The photo below captures the process of cutting off sharks’ fins to make shark fin soup in Taiwan. As I lived in Taiwan (and tasted this soup as a delicacy at a friend’s wedding), this image really struck me. The amount of sharks that had to be killed to get this many fins is astounding, and the photo really communicates that.
I also like when photographs capture the animals’ humanistic expressions. This monkey looks absolutely terrified and the otter looks comically skeptical.
Though I love the otter (I even bought him on a postcard), my favorite image was the leaping fox. He is absolutely in his element, and the contrast with the beautiful blue background is so soothing. The cropping is also a little unusual and thus more interesting for me visually.
I have recently gotten into stamping. In fact, for my wedding invitations, I had custom stamps made from my designs and hand stamped over 500 items. Though my brother-in-law told me I was crazy whilst watching me do this around Christmas time, I insisted that I enjoyed the process and the effect so much that the time it took to create these invitations didn’t matter. I loved the texture of the ink and the authenticity that small mistakes created on each print.
The Montréal-based firm Caserne obviously agrees that a lengthly process can be worth it. Their beautiful stationery design for a sommelier (wine professional)involves hand stamping each piece with the bottom ring of a wine glass that has been dipped in red wine. Not only is it beautiful, but it is appropriate.
Last summer, I became overwhelmed whilst writing my dissertation for my Masters Degree and working on freelance design projects. Unfortunately this busy schedule was an excuse for me to stop blogging about my research and thoughts on Visual Communication. Though I am a little late, I have decided to make one of my New Years Resolutions to start blogging again.
So here goes (the first one is always the hardest)!!
What I love about this poster is how dimensional it is. It has a 3D effect on a flat surface. Though the photos are a little cheesy, it still caused me to stare as I passed it on the escalators everyday. Eventually this advertisement worked and my husband and I went to visit the museum. I had never been there before, and left feeling impressed with its branding - which was executed in 2010 by the same design firm that designed this poster.
The typeface that has been created for the logo and other headlines is modular and stacks together like a puzzle or code. Shapes from the typeface have also been repeated throughout the museum, on signage and informational displays. To me it is more ‘mathy’ than ‘sciency’, and maybe that is why I like it so much [closet math geek].
The only issue I have with the logo, which was also voiced on a forum of design enthusiasts (CreativeReview.co.uk), is the ligature between the ‘i’ and the ‘e’ in ‘Science’. It it obvious that the designers were trying to fit 13 letters into a space for 12. For me that is not a deal-breaker, but I am curious to hear what others think.
I love the idea of healthy + interactive smartphone apps for kids. This customizable app called La La Lunchbox allows children to design a healthy school lunch for themselves, including fun colours and monsters to differentiate their lunchboxes from siblings or friends.