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Advertising


04.17.14: Rick Poynor

The Conceptual Advertising of J.G. Ballard
J.G. Ballard’s conceptual ads anticipated the emergence of culture jamming, subvertising, design fiction and speculative design.
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07.08.13: Alexandra Lange

How To Unforget
The straightforward logic of "A Handbook of California Design" makes it the first step in unforgetting two generations of makers.
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01.07.13: Alexandra Lange

George Nelson in Two Dimensions
Ignore the Coconuts and Marshmallows, admire George Nelson's modular graphics.
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10.31.12: Alexandra Lange

Dot Supreme
On the enduring power of the simplest shape, from corporations to children’s books.
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07.11.12: Alexandra Lange

Obama's New Fonts
Obama bets on American nostalgia, shrinking Gotham and picking a script.
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05.02.12: Rick Poynor

Career Prospects in the Pain Business
Freedom from Torture’s “torture recruitment ads deliver perfectly calculated moments of cognitive dissonance.
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03.09.12: Rick Poynor

Typographic Stories of the City Streets
Characters, a new book by Stephen Banham, investigates the stories behind Melbourne’s street signs.
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09.06.11: Alexandra Lange

Stop That: Minimalist Posters
Make a minimalist poster, see your work travel the digital world.
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02.21.11: Alexandra Lange

Neat Freaks
Organizing things neatly = what IBM, Ray Eames, Herbert Matter and Tumblr have in common.
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12.01.10: Mark Lamster

The Ugliest Object I Have Ever Owned
What's the ugliest object you've ever owned (and loved)?
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11.30.10: Chappell Ellison

Story Time With Starbucks
This holiday season, Starbucks and Whole Foods aren't selling coffee and organic food.
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07.25.10: Michael Bierut

Jerry Della Femina, Mad Men, and the Cult of Advertising Personality
A review of Jerry Della Femina's From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor, published in a new edition on the occasion of the debut of the fourth season of the AMC series Mad Men.
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08.12.09: Michael Erard

A Short Manifesto on the Future of Attention
We have a wide-ranging discussion about what is and what can't be free, which is basically about the future of profit. Maybe we should be considering a dilemma of a human nature: the future of attention.
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01.20.09: Dmitri Siegel

Paper, Plastic, or Canvas?
Dmitri Siegel explores the explosive popularity of canvas totes and the history of the plastic bags they aim to replace. From Anya Hindmarch to Ireland's PlasTax, Siegel examines the role of design in sustainability.
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01.19.09: Lorraine Wild

A Babylon of Signs
For a generation, since Venturi and Scott Brown’s Learning From Las Vegas, most Angelinos neither did not notice the steady proliferation of signs along their Southern California landscapes and strips, nor perhaps cared. With the turn of the century, that changed. For the last eight years Los Angeles has been engaged in a war with the outdoor advertising industry. 

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10.31.08: Teddy Blanks

A Year of Political Banner Ads
Perhaps the strangest aspect of this year's political landscape is the degree to which political banner ads have invaded our web space. Whether bearing the graphic identities of the major campaigns, or the crude, cobbled typography of web-marketing firms, they have popped up almost anywhere. And for the past year or so, I've been collecting my favorites.
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10.15.08: Dmitri Siegel

Design by Numbers
Dmitri Siegel discusses Stephen Baker's new book The Numerati and how data-mining and personalized content may impact design.
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09.30.08: Michael Bierut

Mad Men: Pitch Perfect
AMC's ad agency drama Mad Men, from the producer of the Sopranos, is beginning its second season. Like The Sopranos, the show finds human drama in an unexpected setting. And where The Sopranos had whackings, Mad Men has client presentations.
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07.20.08: Michael Bierut

My Handicap
I've come to know a little bit about demographics, customer profiling and market segmentation, and I can tell I'm supposed to care deeply about golf. But I don't.
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07.11.08: William Drenttel

I Was A Mad Man
Mad Men takes place in 1960. Just seventeen years later, I went to work at an ad agency and became a Mad Man. This is my story...
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04.22.08: Adam Harrison Levy

The Passion of George Lois
How adman George Lois chronicled the sixties with his cover designs for Esquire magazine, with a peek behind the scenes at the legendary famous Muhammad-Ali-as-St. Sebastian photoshoot.
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04.10.08: Steven Heller

Underground Mainstream
Today, designers for mainstream advertising companies, weaned on alternative approaches, have folded the underground into the mainstream and called it cool.
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03.18.08: Rob Walker

Can a Dead Brand Live Again?
Is it possible to revive a dead brand?
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10.14.07: Steven Heller

Topanga, I Hardly Knew Ye
I've always wondered why anyone with taste would pay thousands of dollars to publish one of those text-heavy, type-awful, full-page magazine advertisements void of any semblance of graphic design nuance or sophistication.
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06.19.07: Steven Heller

Martin Weber in the Third Dimension
You may not have heard of Martin J. Weber, but he was a graphic artist, typographer, art director, and most important, inventor of various photographic techniques that gave two-dimensional surfaces the illusion of being reproduced in three dimensions.
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04.19.07: Jesse Nivens

In Search of Stock(y) Photography
That's right: in the alternate universe of stock photography, attactive people outnumber fat people 84 to one. As a culture, have we taken the idea of "overweight" and completely blocked it out?
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04.03.07: Rick Poynor

Dancing to the Sound in Your Head
We might not appreciate advertising conducted like a saturation bombing campaign in public spaces. Yet now, to complicate things, the personal stereo is being used as a way of reasserting spontaneity, exuberance and passion in over-controlled public places.
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02.05.07: Adrian Shaughnessy

"I Sold My Soul And I Love It"
The current issue of Creative Review is "guest edited" by hip British advertising agency Mother. The theme, suggested by Mother, is I Sold My Soul And I Love It — a vastly contradictory statement, but one that invites debate over what it means to work in visual communication."
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09.24.06: Michael Bierut

The Golden Age of American Commercialism
The encroachment of commercialism into everyday life seems like a peculiarly modern phenomenon. Yet around one hundred years ago, America began a romance with salesmanship that today seems almost delirious. A 1922 business directory shows how great crass commercialism used to look.
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09.21.06: Jessica Helfand

Death 'N' Stuff
Smoking Kills: The label days it all. Or does it? Once the allegedly chilling skull and crossbones is marketed as a decorative pattern on a silk bowtie, its credibility as an mark of peril seems, well, somewhat questionable, begging the question: have we become so bored by life that we've inadvertently become inured to death?
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09.16.06: Kenneth Krushel

The Face Of Oblivion
Faces on supermarket packaging conform to a research-based "psychographic" that hasn't essentially changed in more than two decades. What is it about our self-image that identifies, at least on a consumer basis, with such fictional, even farcical lifestyles?
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08.23.06: Michael Bierut

Helmut Krone, Period.
One of the greatest designers that ever lived was an advertising art director: Doyle Dane Bernbach's Helmut Krone. A new book celebrates his life and work.
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06.12.06: William Drenttel

The Red Hand : A Graphic History
I keep thinking about the red hand. Where did this graphic metaphor come from? The many uses of the red-hand — it's metaphorically rich and graphic history — remind me that symbols do have meaning. Whatever I think of Congresswoman Nancy Johnson here in northwestern Connecticut, I don't think she got caught red-handed, whether in a cookie jar or pie or pool of blood. This is a bad use of an historical symbol, and trashy politics as well.
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08.20.05: Rick Poynor

Sublime Little Tubes of Destruction
In a culture otherwise swamped with unregulated branding, the graphic counter-attack on the cigarette packet, on its visual integrity as a design and its brand equity, normally regarded as commercially sacrosanct, is a remarkable sight to behold. In Europe, in the US and around the world, outsized health warnings in ugly typography now disfigure and subvert the best efforts of the brands' designers to embody the fast-fading allure of the cigarette.
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08.16.05: Michael Bierut

Every New Yorker is a Target
The latest New Yorker magazine has only one advertiser: Target. The effect is disorienting.
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06.19.05: Michael Bierut

Call Me Shithead, or, What's in a Name?
Everyone has experience with naming, whether a baby or even a goldfish. The fact that it's so easy is what makes it so hard. The biggest problem, of course, is that new names seldom sound good at first.
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04.26.05: Adrian Shaughnessy

The Designer as Buffoon
The "Designer as Buffoon" phenomenon can be seen in two big-budget, prime-time advertising campaigns currently showing on British television. Both Ford and Ikea are promoting their respective products by offering us pumped-up caricatures of designers and inviting us to guffaw at them.
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04.18.05: Michael Bierut

The Supersized, Temporarily Impossible World of Bruce McCall
Illustrator Bruce McCall's vision of an exhuberant, overscale America is evoked by the opening of a new McDonald's in Chicago.
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03.28.05: Michael Bierut

No Headline Necessary
A wordless billboard depicting the purple-stained fingers of Iraqi voters makes a potent advertisement for that country's newborn democracy.
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02.10.05: Momus

The Strange Commercial
Some commercials rot slowly into strangeness, others seem born with their strangeness fully-grown. I've recently been intrigued by two sets of TV commercials archived on the web, one from late 1960s Germany, the other from early 1980s Japan.
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11.01.04: Michael Bierut

Colorama
Grand Central Terminal's enormous Colorama displays by Kodak documented a suburban fantasy world for millions of commuters.
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06.29.04: Michael Bierut

The Tyranny of the Tagline
Advertising agencies put great stock in taglines, those simple phrases intended as the core of an evergreen ad campaigns. Now taglines are invading the world of branding, as a new corporate identity for the YWCA reveals.
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05.17.04: Michael Bierut

India Switches Brands
The 2004 elections in India were an exercise in branding as well as politics, as a well-funded "India Shining" campaign failed to convince the electorate to retain the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP).
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04.22.04: Michael Bierut

Catharsis, Salesmanship, and the Limits of Empire
Nozone #9: Empire and a new promotional campaign for the radio station Air America demonstrate alternate ways that graphic design can engage political issues and their audiences.
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01.11.04: Rick Poynor

Stephen Gill: Behind the Billboard
Designers are battlers against entropy: a vital task, but taking the long view, often a doomed, quixotic mission. Stephen Gill’s photographs, showing the disorderly zones behind billboards, offer a reality check.
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