Search Archives




Powered by Squarespace

Entries by jj (280)


165. Ad of the Week: Rampenfest.

bmw.jpgAlthough I'm not necessarily a fan of faux-documentary advertising (there's a lot of it out there), Rampenfest by BMW is entertaining enought not to be missed. It's shot beautifully and manages to entertain throughout. I enjoyed the event marketer and his spiral-bound presentation that initiated the very literal product launch.The film is chock-full of interesting characters and fun little details making it worth all of the absurdity. Link to video at the bottom of the post.


bmw1b.jpg Here's the video.


164. Excelsior 1968 by Robot Johnny.

excelsior1968.jpgEasily one of the coolest illustration projects ever, John Martz, aka Robot Johnny, took his mother's 1968 yearbook and redrew all the student portraits. The artist said this about the project, "Good cartooning, to me, is all about simplification, and this was a fun experiment in distilling each person’s likeness down to a simple cartoon version and learning to draw efficiently, with both speed and as few details as possible." You can view the entire contents on flickr or even buy the book from his online shop. Incidentally, Robot Johnny is the editor of the popular illustration blog Drawn!. I think this would be a great excercise for students in an illustration/design program.


Here is a pic to whet the ol' appetite:




163. Ad of the Week: Absolut Mexico.

absolut.jpgBrand Managers sometimes need a reminder that we no longer live in the world of 1990. Today, we’re more connected to the rest of the world via the internet and what a brand does today in Beijing could just as easily come back to bite them tomorrow in New York. This fact requires more consistency, and dare I say character, for our global brands. You can’t be one thing here, and a completely different thing there. Our ad of the week is one such reminder. For part of their In An Absolute World campaign, Absolut has been running a print ad (below) showing the southwestern United States as part of Mexico, that some north of the border have found offensive. (Some would argue this border is more accurate, but I digress.) Amid a call for a US boycott, the Swedish vodka maker issued a formal apology and pulled the ad from circulation. Personally, I think it’s pretty stupid to act surprised that someone found this and passed it along to their friends in the states when email or facebook or flickr or whatever web 2.0 application is so readily available – but Absolut genuinely appears to be caught with their pants down. I think I would respect them more if they just told people to 'go get a sense of humor' instead of backtracking. They didn’t know that this would get around? Or maybe they did and it’s a way to get some pub, albeit of the mostly negative variety.

The campaign was created by Teran|TBWA.

Here it is: 




162. We. And Me.

we.jpgThe Alliance for Climate Protection, Al Gore’s non-profit advocacy group dealing with global warming, has launched their program identity and campaign. Produced by The Martin Agency (think Geico, UPS and now Wal-Mart) and design consultant Brian Collins, the program deals with the idea of ‘We’ and ‘Me.’ It’s an interesting concept – strong in its simplicity and execution much like the ongoing (RED) and One campaigns. That’s a good thing. However from a design perspective, I feel like the actual craft of the logo is somewhat unfinished. I am left wanting more balance between the we and the me - a better graphic resolution somehow. As it stands now – even if you rotate the logo it still doesn’t read perfectly. Generally, I enjoy giving the audience some credit for figuring things out, but when they figure this out they realize it never actually works. There must be a better visual solution for the concept. Maybe the logo simply needed another round of design? That being said, I think it is good enough to be a successful anchor to a campaign that is tackling one of the biggest issues humanity has ever faced. Here's the NY Times article that I found yesterday.




161. April Fools?

typo.jpgTHE online typography forum, Typophile has launched a redesign of their site. I’m hoping that it is an April Fool’s joke. I’m actually betting that it is, but I’ve been disappointed before (Baseline, anyone?). Can’t wait to come back tomorrow and see the ‘old design. Here's the justification (joke?) for the new look, straight from the site: "Another year has passed at Typophile, and as we are near our 8th year, we have completed another redesign. We moved away from the logo with the 7 animation (no one got it anyway). Also gone is the newsprint inspired design. The white on black text reflects the default state of the screen, where black is white. As we look toward the future and see that print is going the way of the dodo, we have redesigned our identity to include the futuristic electron blazing around the word mark in all of its probabilistic glory." I'm not sure that this is a funny joke at all. C'mon, futuristic electron? Ha.

New Identity: (seen above)

Old Identity:



160. Nationals Ballpark

nationals.jpgAh, it’s baseball season again and all is well with the world. I thought it would be appropriate to highlight the new stadium in DC, being baseball’s real opening day (games in Japan and on Sunday night really don’t count.) I had seen pictures of the new stadium before, but I didn’t realize that the surrounding national monuments were the inspirations for the project. It’s a great concept to pull monumental visual themes into the stadium; quarried stone blocks, differentiated layers, a focus on scale and sharp perspective. Nationals Stadium will not be mistaken for a real monument, with it’s prominent use of glass and the 4,500 square foot HD screen in centerfield, but this nice attention to detail give it just enough character to fit into the city. Designed by HOK Sport and Devrouax & Purnell Architects/Planners; it’s also the first LEED-certified stadium in the country. It does look like a great place to watch a ballgame and will no doubt revitalize the area in which it was built. (And for $611 Million, it should.) My only gripe would be for some of the non-architectural elements, like the signage to be more reflective of the overall design and therefore toned-down a bit. That’s asking a lot I’m sure, but I’ve seen where certain towns make McDonald’s and Wal-Marts alter their usually tacky exteriors to fit into the community – so it IS possible. Nonetheless, I can’t wait to cross this off my ‘MLB stadiums in which I’ve watched a game’ list. Here are a few pics below, but if you want to see more and larger versions go here.



Exterior 2:




Interior 2:




Capital View:



159. Publicis & Hal Riney.

riney.jpgHal Riney passed away on Monday, due to complications from a battle with cancer at the age of 75. He helped make the West Coast a creative hotspot – and San Francisco in particular. And although the agency isn’t quite where it was in its heyday, Hal Riney & Partners (now part of Publicis) was responsible for some of the most memorable advertising over the last 25 years. I can recall more Hal Riney work than maybe any other shop during the 1980's - 1990's; Those first folksy Saturn spots when it was launched, Bartles & James wine coolers, and even that 1984 spot for Ronald Reagan. All work that somehow managed to feel personal and genuine. When I heard about his death, I went to the shop’s website not realizing that I would be stepping into one of the best websites (especially for an agency) that I have seen in sometime. Its novel use of the webcam is great and makes you feel like Tom Cruise in Minority Report. If you spend a second and get your position right, it's as intuitive as the wii remote. Very cool site. So, in a time of sadness, there is a glimpse of hope for the shop that Hal built.


158. Ad of the Week: SABC.

I confess that I don’t know too much about this spot except that it is for the SABC, the South African Broadcasting Corporation and that things in South Africa have been pretty tough. It seems trite to say that this spot (or short film?) is clever, which it is, but more accurately it contains a powerful message and is produced flawlessly. Well, not quite completely flawlessly, as it gets a little heavy-handed at the 1:30 mark, but otherwise it's well done. (Can anyone out there shed some light on the usage of the word mzansi at the end?)


157. Chuck Close.

chuckcloseI had the opportunity to visit the Met this weekend in New York, though for not nearly long enough as it would take a solid year to give each piece adequate attention. Some of the modern art might be a bit too pretentious for my taste – as I still have trouble grasping the magnitude of a canvas painted solid blue – there was of course a lot of amazing work on display. Perhaps my favorites were the portraits of Chuck Close. I’ve seen his stuff before in books, but his creations really need to be experienced in person. The sheer size of the paintings are impressive and provide a chance to see all the little details – impossible if simply viewing on a page. I watched many a visitor reach Chuck Close’s section and stand in awe, stopping in their tracks. Especially when they came upon the piece called, Mark. (More on that far below.)

Click to read more ...


156. Compfight.

compfight.jpgA former student of mine, is half the partnership behind a nifty little photo search engine called Compfight. Though not affiliated with flickr, it makes great use of their API, allowing users to search the entire flickr library of photos. You can search tags only or all text (simply by clicking the button next to the search form at the top), you can search for images covered by the Creative Commons license, and a user can enable a safe search feature, which is handy while at work. One particular feature of note is the blue bar which indicates that flickr is holding an original photo and when moused on (and briefly held) the bar displays the pixel dimensions. Compfight is quite handy when trying to find an FPO image for a project or to simply see what’s out there in a more user-friendly format. Check it out.

The handy blue bar feature:



A sample search: stop signs.