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235. Healthy Choice Logo and Packaging.

Looks like the folks at Healthy Choice have decided to redesign not only their logo but their packaging as well. I think that their look has been long overdue for a new approach, as the old logo - with its jogger - has looked quite outdated for awhile, especially in comparison to Lean Cuisine and all the other frozen entree companies.

Logo Comparison:

The new identity is curvier and uses fewer elements. Gone is the jogger. (And I don't think this is one of those elements that have a ton of equity like the straw-in-the-orange of Tropicana. So it's okay.) Gone are the upper and lower bars. And gone are the serifs. In their place is a very casual, two-toned, seemingly custom sans serif with a big exclamation mark serving as both the 'l' in healthy and the dot of the 'i' in choice. And it is the latter with which I have the most complaints. It just seems to be a little easy or cliche and it reminds me - and I hate to admit that I remember this - of a cheap perfume that was marketing to girls in the 80's called, exclamation. Look it up. I don't think it buys anything for HC other than a graphic gimmick to use throughout their marketing. But context is everything and maybe it will be handled well. Time will tell. I think the 't' gets a bit lost in the word healthy, but otherwise don't mind the custom descender and terminals.

Going with a lighter, cleaner approach on the packaging makes a lot of sense - though I'm not sure if it will stand out as much on the shelf as everyone seems to be going in this direction. The green gradient was easy to spot and they might be losing a bit of that instant recognition in lieu of an updated appeal. The food photography that I've seen does appear to be a step above that of the old boxes, and the callouts though maybe not elegant - do the job even if it's using the punctuation mark again. It also appears that the entrees have been reformulated to match current restaurant/grocery trends, and that makes the rebrand more important - as it is announcing their new items.

Overall, it appears to be a good progression from the old look strictly in terms of design. It literally feels like a healthier choice. I just wonder though, if everyone is going in this general 'Martha Stewart-esque' direction how one brand will stand out from the next in the freezer section. And I don't think the exclamation mark is the answer, which is handled a little differently on the boxes everytime I see it. Check out their site for a more comprehensive taste of the work. (Pun not intended.) I'm still trying to figure out what studio/agency is responsible, and would appreciate any tips.

Old Packaging:

New Packaging:

And for a more thorough comparison:


234. Flight 1549 Salvage Shots.

I normally don't so much as glance at photographers' emails until I need them, but Stephen Mallon sent a link to his portfolio from the salvage of Flight 1549 and it is truly stunning. And thankfully since everyone survived, it's easier to look at the images for what they are versus any tragedy involved. You can't help but imagine how terrible this event could have turned out – but instead, we simply have an incredible set of images taken by an opportunistic (in a good way) photographer. Amazing. (The rest of Mallon's industrial photography isn't too shabby either.)

3 sample shots, but many more worth seeing on his site:



233. SI's Swimsuit Issue Ad Ratings.

For the record, I'm not a fan of SI's swimsuit issue. Let's get that out of the way from the start. However, it provides advertisers with a unique context in which to run their ads, and they usually have a lot of fun with the opportunity. They know what the content of the magazine is going to be and much like during the Superbowl or Academy Awards – try to play off of the event. So, I thought I would pull all of the ads that made at least a minimal attempt to work with the issue's theme (ahem) and rate them according to creepiness (sexist? On a scale of -10 to 0, with -10 being the creepiest), creativity (1-10 with 10 being the best), and originality (1-10 with 10 being the best). Let's see how the scores ended up by clicking here. The worst possible score would be a -10. The best possible score a 20.

I expect a lot of comments questioning my arbitrary rating system and my judgment, but that's all part of the fun.



QuickPost 3: Tropicana goes "Oooops."

I hate to say I told you so – but, "I told ya so." (2nd paragraph after The Bad header.)


231. Design Viability: The infographics of a bailout.

I’m a car guy. I grew up amongst car guys and grease monkeys. My brother drove a bright orange 1974 Camaro that I always coveted. I am particularly a domestic car guy. My first new car was a 2005 Cadillac CTS (love that car), and I also drive a new Silverado truck for trips to the hardware store. Yes, I absolutely drool over the new Ferrari California, but if I had to buy a sports car it would be a new Corvette. So I am watching the troubles of the Big 3 with interest – not sympathy as they deserve to be in the situation they are in – but hoping they can figure out the mess. In my opinion, most of their cars are on par with the rest of the manufacturers making an exception for the usual stinkers all companies put out there.

But I’m also a design guy (obviously), so when I heard that both Chrysler and GM have submitted their viability plans to Congress, I was just as curious about what these documents looked like as I was to see which models were being cut and the financial information. My expectation: I would see lots of bad charts and graphs and poorly designed infographics pleading their case, and I wasn’t disappointed. Now, I don’t think it would have been beneficial for either company to walk in with super glossy expensive-looking slides when that could actually hurt them. However, these charts mark an important time in our history and are well worth exploring from a communication design standpoint, so I downloaded both presentations and pulled most of the charts for your perusal. I would say just for fun – but there is nothing fun about it.

Forgetting the context in which all of this is happening: Most of the charts could have been better handled by using a few sound design principles. They could more clearly illustrate a point all without communicating excess if put into the right hands. But honestly, they have bigger problems at the moment. (Sigh.)

I realize this may not be of interest to everyone...but here are the links: Chrysler  / GM. As well as a few teasers.

Nice use of the Starburst:

Another Beaut from Chrysler:


And a typical Big Blue Chart:


230. Boulton’s Designing for the Web.

I’ve been enjoying designer Mark Boulton’s blog for some time, especially a series of blog posts called 5 Simple steps. These posts discussed five easy ways to handle design elements in a more professional manner. They were quick and easily digestible and provided someone who teaches a nice resource to supplement classroom instruction. Now, Boulton has rewritten these topics from scratch and organized them into a book of five chapters with five sections each covering an aspect of design: Getting Started, Research, Typography, Color, and Layout.

This isn’t the most in-depth book you can find on the subject of design, but after perusing it’s contents over the weekend, I can say that it may be the most practical. So the full title, A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web, is fitting. I am a fan of the author’s conversational, almost casual approach – which may disguise the fact that there is a lot of good content inside the pages of this book. It’s available as a pdf download for a mere £12 here and is a nice addition to a designer’s library – particularly if you are an art director struggling with the transition from print to digital or if you are simply looking for a handy reference tool. (Boulton's background was in traditional graphic and typographic design before 'switching' ten years ago to interactive.)

Here are a couple of inside spreads to tweak your interest. You can download a preview section here. You can also go to this flickr page where Boulton has posted images from the process of putting this book together (always fun.)

The Rule of Thirds:

Type Anatomy:

The Types of Briefs:


229. Super Bowl Ad Live-Blog Recap.

Well, now that was fun. We just finished up a marathon five hour live-blog covering this year's Super Bowl spots and it was a blast. Special thanks to the expert panelists: Louie Moses, Kash Sree, Kevin Lynch, Cabell Harris and Josh Denberg. You guys were great. Also to all those who attended and commented.

I learned a lot, and think next time will be even better.

Tomorrow morning will bring the annual USA Today ad tracker - which I usually find to be a bit off, but i wanted to post my superlatives and links to the spots while it's all fresh.You can see all the spots here.

Best Overall Idea: Miller High Life's 1 second ad. It's a brilliant idea that I wish I had done. I do think the way it was leverage was a tad weak - most folks on the live-blog missed it. I thought they should have ran 30 of them throughout the game. I do hope they continue to run these spots, but in order for them to be effective you really need to run at least 15 in a given program or event. View the spot below and 'rejected' spots here. And while we're on this campaign, I really like the beer guy in these spots. I don't knowwhat it is about him, but I find him totally believable and likable.

Best Use of Musical Score: This is a tie between Bridgestone's use of House of Pain's Jump Around and Pepsi's use of Dylan's/Will. I. Am's Forever Young.

The Annual Let's Use a Monkey Award: Goes to Castrol Edge.

Most Epic: Audi's Progress is Beautiful spot using Jason Statham.

Most Controversial: Cheetos Spoiled Girl Spot. This spot generated a lot of responses on the live-blog but it was split down the middle for the yays and nays.

Tasteless Spot of the Game: We should just rename this the Godaddy category. Year after year they use the same lame approach. And it was soundly booo'd on the blog.

Prettiest: Coke has been doing some visually stunning work lately, and this spot is no different. I don't necessarily think it's great - but it's fun to look at.

Most Timely: Also goes to Coke. They always seem to have their pulse on what's going on in the world and even though it's a bit sweet for my tastes, it's something we all probably feel in the age of IM, txt, and well - live-blogs.

Best Regional Spot Not Everyone Saw: Jack in the Box's spot that showed Jack getting hit by a bus.

My Favorite: CareerBuilder's spot. It says it all. Though the repitition can be a bit annoying, it works to prove a point. It was generally very well received during the live-blog.


TODAY: Super Bowl Ad Live-Blog.

It's finally here – we're live-bloggin today at 5:45. I'll be doing the pregrame setup - so if you are a little slow to the party, no worries, it's just me. Ha. (You are able to comment, but not all comments will come through. I'll be selecting audience posts/questions for the panelists so as not to overwhelm their reaction to the spots.) Here's the schedule for today - I want to thank everyone for coming ahead of time. I think it will be fun.

Kevin Lynch - Partner + Copywriter, Zig, but departing in February and now found here.

Louie Moses - Executive Creative Director/President, Moses Anshell, Phoenix

Kash Sree – Executive Creative Director, JWT, NY

Josh Denberg - SR. VP/Group Creative Director, McCann Erickson, SF, CA

Cabell Harris - President, Work Labs, Richmond, VA



QuickPost 2: Super Bowl Ad Live-Blog.

We're getting pretty excited here at Graphicology for our Super Bowl Ad Live-Blog Event. It's going to be hosted here. You can sign up for an email reminder via the panel to the right, or you can join the Facebook event listed here. I will post more on this in the near future, but I wanted to list the top-notch panelists scheduled to participate:

  1. Kash Sree – Executive Creative Director, JWT, NY
  2. Louie Moses - Executive Creative Director/President, Moses Anshell, Phoenix
  3. Kevin Lynch - Partner + Copywriter, Zig, but departing in February and now found at: 
  4. Cabell Harris - President, Work Labs, Richmond, VA
  5. Josh Denberg - McCann Erickson, San Francisco

Help me spread the word on what should be a novel and fun way to experience the Super Bowl Ads.


QuickPost 1: 15 ideas / Kevin Lynch

Perhaps the funniest thing I've read in a long time - Kevin Lynch's 15 ideas blog, particularly the falling ice sign post, as well as his own personal bank pitch. Good stuff. (Kevin is a long-time friend, and a great writer - who will be a special guest 'expert commentator' for our little live ad-blog during the Super Bowl... but more on that later.)