Thursday, January 29, 2009


While watching Helvetica Tuesday, I saw something interesting in the background of Sagmeister's office. It was a bunch of sentences of short wisdom. There were so many that they were framed in 3 panels, side by side. I kept reading them as Sagmeister was talking. Phrases like, "If you live simply there is nothing to worry about," and "Push yourself to the limit as much as possible." I love these type of things and was glad to see that Sagmeister may find inspiration or wisdom within them too. I looked it up online to find that this list called Truisms started in 1977 by Jenny Holzer. Here they are:

a little knowledge can go a long way

a lot of professionals are crackpots

a man can't know what it is to be a mother

a name means a lot just by itself

a positive attitude means all the difference in the world

a relaxed man is not necessarily a better man

a sense of timing is the mark of genius

a sincere effort is all you can ask

a single event can have infinitely many interpretations

a solid home base builds a sense of self

a strong sense of duty imprisons you

absolute submission can be a form of freedom

abstraction is a type of decadence

abuse of power comes as no surprise

action causes more trouble than thought

alienation produces eccentrics or revolutionaries

all things are delicately interconnected

ambition is just as dangerous as complacency

ambivalence can ruin your life

an elite is inevitable

anger or hate can be a useful motivating force

animalism is perfectly healthy

any surplus is immoral

anything is a legitimate area of investigation

artificial desires are despoiling the earth

at times inactivity is preferable to mindless functioning

at times your unconsciousness is truer than your conscious mind

automation is deadly

awful punishment awaits really bad people

bad intentions can yield good results

being alone with yourself is increasingly unpopular

being happy is more important than anything else

being judgmental is a sign of life

being sure of yourself means you're a fool

believing in rebirth is the same as admitting defeat

boredom makes you do crazy things

calm is more conductive to creativity than is anxiety

categorizing fear is calming

change is valuable when the oppressed become tyrants

chasing the new is dangerous to society

children are the most cruel of all

children are the hope of the future

class action is a nice idea with no substance

class structure is as artificial as plastic

confusing yourself is a way to stay honest

crime against property is relatively unimportant

decadence can be an end in itself

decency is a relative thing

dependence can be a meal ticket

description is more important than metaphor

deviants are sacrificed to increase group solidarity

disgust is the appropriate response to most situations

disorganization is a kind of anesthesia

don't place to much trust in experts

drama often obscures the real issues

dreaming while awake is a frightening contradiction

dying and coming back gives you considerable perspective

dying should be as easy as falling off a log

eating too much is criminal

elaboration is a form of pollution

emotional responses ar as valuable as intellectual responses

enjoy yourself because you can't change anything anyway

ensure that your life stays in flux

even your family can betray you

every achievement requires a sacrifice

everyone's work is equally important

everything that's interesting is new

exceptional people deserve special concessions

expiring for love is beautiful but stupid

expressing anger is necessary

extreme behavior has its basis in pathological psychology

extreme self-consciousness leads to perversion

faithfulness is a social not a biological law

fake or real indifference is a powerful personal weapon

fathers often use too much force

fear is the greatest incapacitator

freedom is a luxury not a necessity

giving free rein to your emotions is an honest way to live

go all out in romance and let the chips fall where they may

going with the flow is soothing but risky

good deeds eventually are rewarded

government is a burden on the people

grass roots agitation is the only hope

guilt and self-laceration are indulgences

habitual contempt doesn't reflect a finer sensibility

hiding your emotions is despicable

holding back protects your vital energies

humanism is obsolete

humor is a release

ideals are replaced by conventional goals at a certain age

if you aren't political your personal life should be exemplary

if you can't leave your mark give up

if you have many desires your life will be interesting

if you live simply there is nothing to worry about

ignoring enemies is the best way to fight

illness is a state of mind

imposing order is man's vocation for chaos is hell

in some instances it's better to die than to continue

inheritance must be abolished

it can be helpful to keep going no matter what

it is heroic to try to stop time

it is man's fate to outsmart himself

it is a gift to the world not to have babies

it's better to be a good person than a famous person

it's better to be lonely than to be with inferior people

it's better to be naive than jaded

it's better to study the living fact than to analyze history

it's crucial to have an active fantasy life

it's good to give extra money to charity

it's important to stay clean on all levels

it's just an accident that your parents are your parents

it's not good to hold too many absolutes

it's not good to operate on credit

it's vital to live in harmony with nature

just believing something can make it happen

keep something in reserve for emergencies

killing is unavoidable but nothing to be proud of

knowing yourself lets you understand others

knowledge should be advanced at all costs

labor is a life-destroying activity

lack of charisma can be fatal

leisure time is a gigantic smoke screen

listen when your body talks

looking back is the first sign of aging and decay

loving animals is a substitute activity

low expectations are good protection

manual labor can be refreshing and wholesome

men are not monogamous by nature

moderation kills the spirit

money creates taste

monomania is a prerequisite of success

morals are for little people

most people are not fit to rule themselves

mostly you should mind your own business

mothers shouldn't make too many sacrifices

much was decided before you were born

murder has its sexual side

myth can make reality more intelligible

noise can be hostile

nothing upsets the balance of good and evil

occasionally principles are more valuable than people

offer very little information about yourself

often you should act like you are sexless

old friends are better left in the past

opacity is an irresistible challenge

pain can be a very positive thing

people are boring unless they are extremists

people are nuts if they think they are important

people are responsible for what they do unless they are insane

people who don't work with their hands are parasites

people who go crazy are too sensitive

people won't behave if they have nothing to lose

physical culture is second best

planning for the future is escapism

playing it safe can cause a lot of damage in the long run

politics is used for personal gain

potential counts for nothing until it's realized

private property created crime

pursuing pleasure for the sake of pleasure will ruin you

push yourself to the limit as often as possible

raise boys and girls the same way

random mating is good for debunking sex myths

rechanneling destructive impulses is a sign of maturity

recluses always get weak

redistributing wealth is imperative

relativity is no boon to mankind

religion causes as many problems as it solves

remember you always have freedom of choice

repetition is the best way to learn

resolutions serve to ease our conscience

revolution begins with changes in the individual

romantic love was invented to manipulate women

routine is a link with the past

routine small excesses are worse than then the occasional debauch

sacrificing yourself for a bad cause is not a moral act

salvation can't be bought and sold

self-awareness can be crippling

self-contempt can do more harm than good

selfishness is the most basic motivation

selflessness is the highest achievement

separatism is the way to a new beginning

sex differences are here to stay

sin is a means of social control

slipping into madness is good for the sake of comparison

sloppy thinking gets worse over time

solitude is enriching

sometimes science advances faster than it should

sometimes things seem to happen of their own accord

spending too much time on self-improvement is antisocial

starvation is nature's way

stasis is a dream state

sterilization is a weapon of the rulers

strong emotional attachment stems from basic insecurity

stupid people shouldn't breed

survival of the fittest applies to men and animals

symbols are more meaningful than things themselves

taking a strong stand publicizes the opposite position

talking is used to hide one's inability to act

teasing people sexually can have ugly consequences

technology will make or break us

the cruelest disappointment is when you let yourself down

the desire to reproduce is a death wish

the family is living on borrowed time

the idea of revolution is an adolescent fantasy

the idea of transcendence is used to obscure oppression

the idiosyncratic has lost its authority

the most profound things are inexpressible

the mundane is to be cherished

the new is nothing but a restatement of the old

the only way to be pure is to stay by yourself

the sum of your actions determines what you are

the unattainable is invariable attractive

the world operates according to discoverable laws

there are too few immutable truths today

there's nothing except what you sense

there's nothing redeeming in toil

thinking too much can only cause problems

threatening someone sexually is a horrible act

timidity is laughable

to disagree presupposes moral integrity

to volunteer is reactionary

torture is barbaric

trading a life for a life is fair enough

true freedom is frightful

unique things must be the most valuable

unquestioning love demonstrates largesse of spirit

using force to stop force is absurd

violence is permissible even desirable occasionally

war is a purification rite

we must make sacrifices to maintain our quality of life

when something terrible happens people wake up

wishing things away is not effective

with perseverance you can discover any truth

words tend to be inadequate

worrying can help you prepare

you are a victim of the rules you live by

you are guileless in your dreams

you are responsible for constituting the meaning of things

you are the past present and future

you can live on through your descendants

you can't expect people to be something they're not

you can't fool others if you're fooling yourself

you don't know what's what until you support yourself

you have to hurt others to be extraordinary

you must be intimate with a token few

you must disagree with authority figures

you must have one grand passion

you must know where you stop and the world begins

you can understand someone of your sex only

you owe the world not the other way around

you should study as much as possible

your actions are pointless if no one notices

your oldest fears are the worst ones

Jenny Holzer was born July 29, 1950 and is considered an American Conceptual artist. She works with type and finds different ways to display her work in public places, such as through L.E.D. signboards, xwnon projections, and engraved on marble benches, cast in bronze plates, or etched in copper. Truisms were printed on posters and put up around Manhattan. Pedestrians scribbled responses and comments to these on the posters and sometimes Holzer would even stand and listen to conversations they envoked on the street. She's been in the Guggenheim Museum and participated in the Venice Biennale in 1990 and the first Florence Biennale in 1997.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


The Tate galleries, often referred to as The Tate, consist of four galleries in the U.K. (Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, and Tate St. Ives). It was named after its founder, Sir Henry Tate. The original Tate Gallery opened in 1897 at Millbank in London. It was affiliated with the National Gallery until 1955. The latest branch of the Tate (The Tate Modern) was established in 2000.

Also at this time, due to the recent launch of the Tate Britain and Tate Modern, it was decided that a rebranding was necessary for this new start. Wolff Olins designed the new brand, making it fresh and colorful. He created four different type treatments to go on his custom-designed typeface which blurred the letters and played with different amounts of visual focus. There is a standard logo, a blurred logo, a faded logo, and a halftone logo. "Allowing flexibility within a unified identity, the design conveys transformation and nonconformity. Tate's luminous and expansive color palette is unpredictable and fresh," (Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler, p. 253). There are 18 colors in the palette which are divided into strong hues and subtle hues.

The brand is very successful. It is unique in the way that the type is handled. As designers, we're constantly striving for clearness and legibility. If someone is trying to blur type and make it look out of focus, it can easily mess up legibility. However, the Tate logo is still easy to read and is different from most other brands, making it stand out and remain recognizable. It is consistent in the look and feel, yet dynamic and flexible enough to be shown in different ways, with different colors and still remain within the identity of the brand. It clearly "Expresses the theme, 'One Tate, yet many Tates'."

It also helps give a different view of the institution side of art. Art is changing eveyday, just as the logo allows for change. It gives a modern look. The new brand has significantly helped the gallery: "In 1999 Tate galleries recorded 4 million visitors. Between 2000 and 2001 more than 7.5 million visited the newly branded Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool, and Tate St. Ives," (p. 253). In 2003 it won Cool Brand Leader for the second year running ( The website is very organized as well, clearly linking all 4 galleries, but keeping them seperate and clear at the same time.

I love this brand. It clearly identifies what the galleries stand for and works sucessfully to introduce viewers to (what I think is) the greatest galleries in the world.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Martha Stewart

I do not particularly like Martha Stewart, but she shares the same birthday with me. Aside from that, she has a decent coherent branding for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO). Her line of products include everything from kitchen utensils to garden tools. Specializing in subjects from weddings to cooking, to entertaining, Martha has been an inspiration to millions of housewives across the country. "My founding big idea was that the subject of living is indeed a limitless subject, one that can be expanded and expounded upon, and enlarged and extolled," Stewart states about her inspiration.

Profound deduction, Martha.

I am impressed, however, that the marketing can consistently be carried across all forms of her media- on the internet, television, home products... including the various subjects focused on. The design works and represents her company well. The brand identity was done by Doyle Partners with MSLO. It features bright colors and simple design, conveying a pure, clean, and practical look for consumers.

I thought the description in Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler describes it well:
"In every category the design is unified by a coherent expression of whiteness and brightness that allows the product itself to dominate. The packaging and environments are now designed exclusively in-house and encompass an intelligent yet whimsical feel."

Martha's product line, whatever it may be, stands out on the shelf automatically because of the bright and cheerful colors, done in a tasteful, organized way, giving a sense of class and organization, rather than tacky bright colors paired with a gaudy typeface. The website for Martha Stewart Living is adequately organized for all the information it supplies. Like her series of magazines, the website features wonderful photography that displays a featured item in an interesting, creative, and compelling way.

"Towey (Creative Director of MSLO), brought in a cadre of world-renowned photographers to glorify the beauty of everyday objects, an approach that became intrinsic to the soul of the brand... featured photographs of flowers, herbs, or vegetables held in a hand to give the consumer an immediate sense of scale," (Designing Brand Identity, p.231).

I think the photography is clever. It is simple and not too distracting, but engaging and warming. It's a great idea to glorify everyday objects- that's essentially what Martha Stewart does- glorifying methods in everyday life from cooking to gardening. It includes the everyday person and gives a new look to the mundane.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Gatorade rebranding

It makes sense when you find out that Gatorade is a division of Pepsi Co. Mountain Dew got shortened to "Mtn Dew", and they're going even further with labeling Gatorade simply "G" (with a smaller version of their lightning bolt logo). A commercial was released on January 1, 2009 advertising the new G without even mentioning "Gatorade":

"For Gatorade, G represents the heart, hustle and soul of athleticism and will become a badge of pride for anyone who sweats," according to a press release. With new slogans printed on the bottles such as "Bring It" for Gatorade Fierce, "Be Tough" for Gatorade X-Factor, "Shine On" for Gatorade AM, "No Excuses" for Gatorade Rain, "Focus" for Gatorade Tiger (after Tiger Woods), and "G2" for Low Calorie.

Their goal is to market toward the various types of athletes and active people. "You can't speak to [them] with a 'one size fits all' mentality," said Craig Horswill, a senior research employee.

I have mixed feelings about the new design. I like the taglines, and I think the typeface gives it a sporty competitive feel, but I don't like how the words are divided up. It makes it harder to read and leaves me wanting something more from that kind of order than merely the title (it could be better if the words spelled something vertically as well?). I don't like how they shortened Gatorade to one letter. I think a lot of people will be confused. It just doesn't sound right.

"Hey Mom, could you pick up some G at the store before practices begin?"

"Oh, I'd better put my G in the fridge so it gets cold before I go to the gym."

"Did you see after the game when they dumped the whole cooler of G on the coach?!"

At least the plastic bottle shape and the lightning bolt logo still identifies the drink as Gatorade. I think this design could grow on me if I get past the little annoyances.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

These are some of my favorite logos from

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bad Logos

1. Connecticut Sun- This logo was unveiled in 2003 for the WNBA team. The design includes the modern interpretation of the ancient Mohegan symbol for the four corners of the earth. Apparently, "numerous designs were developed with the focus on simplicity, imagery and inclusion of a Mohegan Tribal symbol". It was developed by Outthink, a marketing agency and NBA Entertainment and Essex.

I can deal with most of the logo, but the word "Sun" is hideous. It's tacky and unprofessional. It doesn't scream fierce. The only way that it hints the sun in the word itself is by the color.

2. Stanwood Free Methodist Church- a church in Stanwood, Michigan. They have a terrible website too. Let's hope that their passion for God far exceeds their passion for design. I don't like the typeface or the way it is bent around the image. They tried a little too much to combine the heart and bird image. It looks like bad clip art.

3. CPW, Greenwood, SC- This is the company that handles water, natural gas, and electricity for Greenwood SC. I especially love that "W". This is an example of a logo that tries to fit every imagery of what they stand for, but failing when it comes to combining them successfully. It ends up confusing and cheesy.

4. Dean Hunter & Co. Pest Control- found in Anderson, SC. This is a pest control place, but you can't tell it from the actual logo with the lovely yellow explosion. If Dean Hunter is one name, it should function as one style so it looks uniform. Dean is totally different from Hunter. To make matters worse, the "H" is huge, and the remainder of the word is in smaller caps. "Dean" is divided in attempts to make the negative space connect with the explosion to the side, but it looks terrible in this way. Company is shown with the O inside of the C. I mistook this for an odd symbol like a swirl, but realized the & would be missing "company".

5. Procter & Gamble- the manufacturer of many different products such as Febreze, Charmin, Puffs, CoverGirl, Ivory, Herbal Essences, Vicks, Swiffer, Crest, Gillete, and other brands. This company was started in 1837 as a family-operated soap and candle producer.

I think the logo needs some kerning. Some letters touch and some don't. The words as a whole look too squished together.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

UK Mac commercials

I stumbled upon these a couple years ago and found the characters very funny and British.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Logos I like:

1. Paramount Pictures: Owned by Viacom, Paramount Pictures has been the longest existing American film studio (97 years). The mountain and stars have been with the company the whole time. It was said to have first been doodled during a meeting with Adolf Zukor by W. W. Hodkinson, based off of a childhood memory. Paramount has 4 more variations of this logo since the beginning.

I like it because it works with the name, but makes it more grandiose, just as Hollywood makes things more illustrious. To me, the stars reiterate movie stars, above the clouds, held above regular life.

2. USA Network: Owned by NBC Universal, USA Network was started in 1977. It is an American cable network that shows original and syndicate television shows, as well as edited movies. Their slogan is "characters welcome". I first noticed their logo while watching "Pirates of the Caribbean" last year, and found it to be simple, but clever and eye catching. They use figure-ground relationship to their advantage to create the "s", making the logo interesting and memorable.

3. MTV Network: Started in 1981, the first logo showed a hand holding a music note (see right). Later, the current logo was designed by Manhattan Design (Pat Gorman, Frank Olinsky, and Pat Gorman). It came from an idea on a crumpled piece of paper about to be thrown out with the rest of the ideas said not to work. The designer said the M was too fat, but the Vice President of Warner-Amex SatelliteEntertainment Company thought the design would work. Fred Seibert (VP) considered the M to be "classic" and the small tv "daring". He states, "A good ID must have shape, size and simplicity, but it also must stand out from the 30 other channels competing for attention."

I like this logo because of its versatility. The designers are constantly thinking of new ways to "dress" the M. The logo is unmistakable, but is interesting because it is also static and ever-changing. Designer Alan Goodman states that the logo "has movement even as it sits there. It already has action because something is always being done to it." I like the nature of it and I think it works well with the identity of the company. This channel displaying the current music trends is targeting the young adult demographic. This is a static age, and trends are constantly changing, therefore the logo parallels with the nature of this while also being bold.

4. National Basketball Association (NBA): This league of men's basketball was formed in 1946 as the Basketball Association of America. The name was changed in 1949 when they merged with their rival league, the National Basketball League. The logo that is still used today was designed around 1971-72, depicting the silhouette of Jerry West (a.k.a. "Mr. Clutch"). I like the logo because it displays the kinetic energy of basketball with a simple figure set in the colors of the U.S.A. flag.

5. MasterCard: This company began in 1966 as the Interbank Card Association, going global in 1968. The logo was designed to represent the merging of commerce between two hemispheres: the "golden" West and the Eastern world (red). The world unites under the trusted name of MasterCard. This logo is current since 1996, but they have recently rebranded their corporate identity, now calling themselves "MasterCard Worldwide". Hopefully they will keep their old logo on the cards and ads. The new one was said to "reflect the company's unique, three-tiered business model as a franchiser, processor, and advisor", but I don't see it as being as successful as the old logo.



Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pepsi rebranding?

Recently, in the Fall of 2008, Pepsi underwent a rebranding of many products such as Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Max, Sierra Mist, and Mountain Dew. Pepsi has not had this much of an identity change since 1987. The design firm responsible for this change is Arnell, whose clients include big names such as M&M's, McDonald's, Dodge, Chrysler, Bank of America, and many others. It took about 5 months for them to develop the new design.

The Vice President of PepsiCo.'s marketing, Frank Cooper, is positive in this new action. "We felt like, as we move out of this traditional mass marketing and mass distribution era into today's culture, there's an opportunity to bring humanity back, both in terms of the design but also in the way we engage consumers. By making the logo more dynamic and more alive ... [it is] absolutely a huge step in the right direction."

The new Pepsi logo includes a sequence of "smiles", according to the type of product. Diet Pepsi has a smile, Pepsi has a slightly larger grin, and Pepsi Max has a laugh. The design is simple, but with the added variation in the degree of the white shape. The font is reminiscent of Diet Pepsi in the 70's.

Mountain Dew, which is now being called "Mtn Dew", and Sierra Mist also changed their design. The new Mtn Dew is different on the bottle compared with the can, as if they couldn't make up their mind. The can looks dramatic and sharp, and has green icicle-looking shapes. Sierra Mist is set on a green background of trees. Sierra is the same typeface as the pepsi products, but mist is edged in blur, to create a mist look.

The general reaction to the new branding is disapproval, but there are mixed opinions, of course. Change at first can often bring uproar, but the public may settle down once they become more used to it. People have said that the new Pepsi logo is reminiscent of Obama's recent campaign.

Personally, I hate the new design. I don't like Pepsi, and I feel that they've always tried to be better than Coke, but this time is proving to be disastrous. Coca-Cola has changed their look a little bit over the years (I've especially noticed frequent changes in Cherry Coke) , but they have always had consistently great design. I think the new Pepsi look is going toward simplicity, but trying to appeal to a younger generation, using sleek, simple shapes and a more modern, but soft looking type treatment. I absolutely hate that Mountain Dew decided to abbreviate to Mtn. Maybe they were trying to appeal to all of the younger generation by tapping into the txt language? Is everything going to be shortened now, just because people are too lazy or busy to write an entire word? The can, on the other hand, looks angry to me. It's sharp and dramatic. Sierra Mist... ugh. The first thing I think of is urinating in the middle of the woods. I can't get past that. It also reminds me of some horrifying haunted woods.

Bottom line: Pepsi can't top Coca-Cola.