Thursday, September 26, 2013

This Week's Crap On the Street Award

The Golden Deuce 

goes to...


For this improbable promotional poster for the School of Visual Arts (yes, an ART school), as seen in a city subway station. I am not sure what it means, or what it is intended to do, other than creep people out.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Yahoo Indeed!

Nothing to Shout About

Apparently Yahoo CMO Kathy Savitt and CEO Marissa Mayer believe the best rebranding strategy is an in-house, throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks approach.

And the idea of polling the public for votes on the different designs is as stupid as the idea of letting the designs be done internally. Let's just call this the 'American Idol Approach.' Marketing peeps feel this 'engagement' creates buzz. But the public are not arbiters of good design.

And in the ramp up to the 'big reveal' they let virtually every runner-up design have its one 'day in the sun' to create momentum, in what ended up being a font parade of blah.

If the idea was to make the winning design look great by comparison to the multitude of losers, this was a 'brand fail' from the get-go.

Here are some of the runners up...

Drum roll please.

And the winning logo is...

Yep. And when you log on to Yahoo! the logo has a cute and tiny animation whereby the exclamation mark gestures or does a little dance. Whoo hoo Yahoo! — an effect wasted at such a small scale.

That's it? Really?
Yep. That's what we waited 30 days for.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Rocky Mtn "Are You High?"

Just the Tip

Earlier this month Colorado launched it's new brand. Why they needed a brand is not known. Other than the fact that others have done it (and why not?). An investment of nearly a million dollars netted a staid and boring icon and a tagline.

The new brand has not been well received by the state's residents so far. But the state's CMO is hopeful and expects people to come around in 6 months to 3 years after they get used to "seeing it on things," as the state prepares to brand products made in Colorado with the new logo and integrate it into tourism advertising.

Some comments were that it "looked like a street sign." Perhaps they should have used yellow instead of green, which after all is the color "owned" by the state of Vermont, in a way. Maybe it will be mistaken as a 'Danger: COBALT' sign, given that Co is the symbol for that element.

Perhaps one of the most heinous state brands ever is the now ubiquitous and eternally co-opted Milton Glaser piece of 70s crap: The <I Love(Heart) NY> logo.

Replete with the gaudy (even then) American Typewriter Bold, this little turd can be bought on any object or article of clothing in every damn souvenir shop in New York City and beyond. It has even found it's way into the broader lingua fraca with often feeble results. e.g. Why is the company called 'iHeartRadio' when it is meant to say: iLoveRadio. [message and usage lost]

Uncle Miltie revised this bastard child after 9/11/2001 when he felt compelled to comment (and capitalize) on the lives of hundreds to sell t-shirts to the bereft and mourning (I don't care where the money went: bad idea). Clever little smudge there. Genius!

The CO triangle both benefits and suffers for it's own simplicity. I am attracted to and respect it's pared down economy, and yet am disappointed with it's dry utilitarianism.

It essentially looks like the tip of a pencil more than a mountain top.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Rain Delay

U.S. Open: The Brand
Some years ago, in the modern/Open era, the U.S. Open ball/flame logo was introduced. It was a refreshing, very hip, almost prescient, tattoo approach to a 'ball in motion' graphic. It was successful in its absence of extraneous, precious detail (even eliminating the periods after U and S). This logo/icon lockup held up solidly in may sizes and applications. 

Then at some point in the modern, Nike era, (that being the dark times in branded America when the Nike swoosh became the hip-vernacular graphic) the swoosh began to make its ubiquitous appearance as an attachment/add-on to many existing brands (this the subject of a later, more detailed post).

So, yes, the US OPEN too, just couldn't help themselves, tacking on a swoosh/half oval that wrapped around the right side of what was an already pleasingly balanced brand. (below)

To add insult to injury, other elements were added in the absence and violation of any clear space criteria, often with a multitude of fonts, making matters worse for the clutter.

Because the swoosh tail is thinner, and it is connected to and running into the ball, the implication is that it is the trail of the ball as it zoomed up from that thinner arc. But if that were the case the arc would be on the flame side...

The more the merrier...

Perhaps the worst offense to the original, core brand element, was the insertion of a flag motif into the flame, eroding it's look/feel and, especially on a white background, negating the flame shape entirely. It begins to look like a New England Patriots logo that exploded. When will they learn: it is best to leave well enough alone?