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Branding


03.18.14: Adrian Shaughnessy

Open Source Politics/Open Source Design
A review of the identity for the radical new Danish political party, Alternativet.
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11.08.13: Alexandra Lange

L.A. Loves Deborah Sussman
A Kickstarter for an upcming exhibition on the wotk of Deborah Sussman in Los Angeles.
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10.22.13: Jez Owen

Branding Terror
A review of Branding Terror, a new book by Artur Beifuss and Francesco Trivini Bellini.
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06.12.13: Francisco Laranjo

The Whitney Identity: Responding to W(hat)?
A review of the new identity for the Whitney, designed by Experimental Jetset.
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06.10.13: Alexandra Lange

That Personal Touch
In the age of the digital signature, what does script mean?
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06.03.13: Alexandra Lange

Home Improvement
The Sweethome, where Consumer Reports and Amazon product reviews meet.
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05.14.13: Alexandra Lange

Anxiety, Culture and Commerce
Is the museum store a distraction or an enticement?
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01.30.13: Rob Walker

Branding By Numbers
Emblemetric backs its assessment of the American Airlines logo with "the data." Of course, that's open to interpretation.
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01.14.13: Michael Bierut

Graphic Design Criticism as a Spectator Sport
Michael Bierut on logo redesign outrages, what they mean, and why we should demand more.
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12.10.12: Mark Lamster, Alexandra Lange

Lunch With The Critics: Third-Annual Year-End Awards
Idiosyncratic awards bestowed on architecture, design and media.
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11.24.12: Rob Walker

Real Space, Imaginary Stuff
Some lessons from organizing a show about the marketplace as medium
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11.12.12: Leonard Koren

Making WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing
An except from Making WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing by Leonard Koren.
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10.06.12: Rob Walker

Listening to Retail
Disquiet Junto has been listening to retail, and it's changing my ears.
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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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06.15.12: Alexandra Lange

The Charismatic Megafauna of Design
Identifying the "charismatic megafauna" of design and the critical uses of their popularity.
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06.08.12: Rob Walker

The Bizarro Storytelling Exercise
The Bizarro Story Exercise: The value in thinking hard about the worst.
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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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04.30.12: Michael Bierut

The Poster that Launched a Movement (Or Not)
In the age of social media, does political graphic design matter?
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03.25.12: John Foster

Accidental Mysteries, 03.25.12
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is vintage clothing labels.
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12.14.11: Alexandra Lange

Reinventing the Thermostat
What the designer of the new Nest thermostat didn't learn from Henry Dreyfuss.
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10.12.11: Alexandra Lange

Should We Boycott the New Barnes?
More ethical quandaries about buildings and food.
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08.15.11: Adrian Shaughnessy

The Politics of Desire and Looting
The part designers have played in the London riots.
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06.03.11: Jessica Helfand

Meet Our Intern: Paul Rand!
Our surprise upon receiving the Facebook mailer shown here, addressed to Paul Rand.
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01.19.11: Alexandra Lange

What Should Food Look Like?
Food packaging and what it says about class.
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12.27.10: William Drenttel

A Conversation with Daniel van der Velden of Metahaven
An expansive interview with Daniel van der Velden, co-author of Uncorporate Identity.
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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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10.06.10: Alexandra Lange

Yummy Too
Missing from my previous post on the Cooper Union exhibit Appetite (closing Saturday) were images of Milton Glaser's work for Grand Union.
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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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05.14.10: Alexandra Lange

It Was All Yellow
In Buying In, author Rob Walker avoids talking about the aesthetics of the Livestrong bracelet.
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01.13.10: Adrian Shaughnessy

Logorama
A world colonized by brands is the theme of a new film, Logorama, by French designers and filmmakers H5.
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08.11.09: Steven Heller

Covering the Good Books
When reading was more fundamental than tweeting, Time Life Books played a significant role in getting the general public to acquire books on almost every subject.
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06.19.09: Michael Bierut

When Design Gets in the Way
When it comes to fulfilling simple human desires, can design get in the way? A call for more incrementalism in design.
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05.07.09: John Cantwell

Trump, The Logo
The logo above the Trump Tower's main entrance, huge and gleaming in 34-inch brass block letters, bluntly announces Donald Trump’s presence on the street. It’s crude, perhaps, but undeniably effective. In a neighborhood filled with names like Bergdorf, Cartier, and Tiffany, none is more prominent than Trump’s.
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04.21.09: Michael Bierut

Invasion of the Neutered Sprites
There is an epidemic threatening our world: the pointy-limbed little people that appear in every other nonprofit logo. Death to the Neutered Sprites!
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03.17.09: Sarah Couto

The Year Playboy Died
It is often forgotten that the rabbit figure depicted on the early covers of Playboy was very much male, as seen in the January 1954 edition of the magazine. Typically he was an unbridled man, out and about, in good company. The rabbit is first shown in the guise of a woman, upon the opening of the Playboy Club in 1960.
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03.11.09: Steven Kroeter

Untitled by Anonymous: An Ode to Branding
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines “brand” as “a class of goods identified by name as the product of a single firm or manufacturer.” That’s a good place to start, but “goods or services” might be more accurate...
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02.17.09: Mark Lamster

Annals of Branding, Redux
The design elves over at Pepsico have been very busy of late, as noted here last week regarding the (awful) new logo for the corporate flagship and the (much hated) new packaging for Tropicana.
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02.06.09: Mark Lamster

The Real Thing
Tropicana has been getting a lot of flack over its redesigned juice cartons. Steve Heller called the rebranding "a mistake." Jason Kottke simply dubbed it "sucky." Let me respectfully disagree.
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01.01.09: Debbie Millman

Obsessive Branding Disorder II
The current discipline and practice of branding is both obsessively fascinating and shamelessly polarizing. Because our lives are so entwined with brands, it has become difficult to distinguish between our beliefs and our brand preferences.
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12.17.08: Jessica Helfand

Ten Things That Need to be Redesigned
Lottery tickets, the hearse, monopoly money, IRS forms, airport design, children's ski jackets, political lawn signs, TV remotes, blister packaging and the state of New Jersey are examined for their design flaws.
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10.23.08: Michael Bierut

The Four Lessons of Lou Dorfsman
For over 40 years, Lou Dorfsman designed everything at CBS from its advertising to the paper cups in its cafeteria. Getting great work done in giant institution is supposed to be hard. How did he make it look easy?
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08.18.08: Steven Heller

Canned Laughter
The verbal and visual puns of porta-a-potties are copious throughout this indispensable industry. Manufacturers and suppliers go to great lengths to make the portable toilet experience clean and sanitary, as well as warm and cute. Portable toiletry is only second after hair salons (i.e. Mane Street, Clip Joint, Hair Today, etc.) for warm and cute, albeit excruciating, pun names. And yet this is a dirty job, so why shouldn’t those who attend to our bodily hygiene have the opportunity to practice a little wit and double entendre?
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06.05.08: Steven Heller

Branding Youth in the Totalitarian State
Youth may be wasted on the young, but under the totalitarian state they were not forgotten. For the state to prosper, youth was turned into a sub-brand that both followed and perpetuated the dominant ideology. Graphics played a huge role in making this happen in Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union.
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06.04.08: David Stairs

The Little Logo That Could
If it seems too hyperbolic to say that Obama stands as one of the most cleverly branded candidates in our history, look closer. Otheres have attempted to lay claim to the fifteenth letter of the Roman alphabet with mixed success. But to date, no one has been remotely as successful in so short a time as the Obama has with his campaign.
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03.24.08: Steven Heller

The Magic of the Peace Symbol
There was probably no more galvanizing nor polarizing emblem during the 1960s than the peace symbol. And perhaps few symbols have had origins surrounded in as much mystery and controversy
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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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02.11.08: Michael Bierut

The Smartest Logo in the Room
The birth, death, and debate around one of Paul Rand's last logos: the "crooked E" he created for Enron.
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01.11.08: Cheryl Towler Weese

Is Apple Soft on Crime?
Here's the real question: could a climbing crime rate and the rise of the iPod be related? Has the iPod's design increased its likelihood of theft, and if so, what role could Apple's designers play in developing solutions?
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11.18.07: Rob Walker

False Endorsement
There is no shortage of logos in the world, no dearth of brands striving for consumer allegiance and no chance that the creation of new brands and logos will cease.
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08.23.07: Jessica Helfand

Another Myth Brilliantly Debunked
The Folding Paper Box Association of America would influence more than just packaging regulations: a half century before the Poynter Institute would claim authorship for its revolutionary Eye-Trac research, the FPBAA was already tracking viewers' visual responses to packaging...
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08.11.07: William Drenttel

The Presidential Rash
It was reported this week by the Huffington Post that President George W. Bush has had Lyme Disease since last August — when he got the "characteristic bullseye rash" on his left shin. So what does a Presidential rash look like, anyway?
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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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03.26.07: Jessica Helfand

Annals of Ephemera: Town & Country Cookbook
Book cover designers are visual choreographers who frame miniature narratives in order to tease prospective readers into wanting more. Which often means showing less. Or not.
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03.22.07: William Drenttel

International Polar Year
In what may turn out to be the biggest international scientific project to date, an army of thousands of scientists will spend the next two years studying the Arctic and Antarctic as part of the International Polar Year, which officially begins this week.
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03.14.07: Jessica Helfand

Art Director Ken
Art Director Ken is is a charmed, if mildly cautionary tale, for it brings to mind the potentially superficial nature in which we judge a person, an identity — indeed, an entire profession.
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01.16.07: Michael Bierut

The It Factor
In their 1983 book Quintessence: The Quality of Having It, Owen Edwards and Betty Cornfeld created an elegant and influential treatise in what makes something the real thing, a lesson that Steve Jobs has obviously absorbed.
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12.20.06: Michael Bierut

Now You See It
There was a message hidden in the illustration on the cover of the New York Times Book Review a few weeks ago. At least I think it was hidden. Did you see it? Why didn't I?
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11.17.06: Jessica Helfand

Into the Pink
Co-opting a color and making it your own.
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10.26.06: William Drenttel

Silk Road Typography
"This is the Silk Road at its worst: a kind of PC 1990s where each and every interest has to be fairly represented — a letter for every voice. The result is Babel, seven discordant voices singing in the wind." Commentary on new European Union 50th anniversary logo, and a look back at the 100th anniversary logo for the New York Public Library.
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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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09.04.06: Jessica Helfand

Annals of Small Town Life: The Logo Stops Here
Working with Florence Knol, Lucille McGinnis convinced her husband, Patrick B. McGinnis, that the New Haven Railroad needed a new logo. Enter Herbert Matter, Swiss-born designer, photographer and Yale professor whose own education was framed by apprenticeships with Cassandre, Leger and Le Corbusier.
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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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06.22.06: Michael Bierut

The Mysterious Power of Context
Some of the most effective graphic design is neutral and open ended, and acquires its effectiveness only through use and association. Is it possible to anticipate the power of context in design?
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04.26.06: Tom Vanderbilt

Wacky Packages of the Global Economy
Why had this one-time Wacky Package, decades after the fact, landed in North Africa (I would later learn you can buy Crust in Libya as well) as a knockoff? Who was behind this strange bit of design deception? Welcome to the funhouse-mirror-lined vortices of the global economy: The Knockoff Zone.
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04.23.06: Rob Walker

Animal Pragmatism
A critter label is any label that features an animal. According to ACNielsen, 438 table-wine brands have been introduced in the past three years, and 18 percent — feature an animal on the label.
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03.12.06: Adrian Shaughnessy

Google and the Tyranny of Good Design
The Google logo — that scrap of oddball typography — is perhaps the most famous piece of graphic design in the world today. In its own small way, it's a little beacon of insurrection, in a world where graphic designers have become the agents of conformity.
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03.09.06: Dmitri Siegel

Broadcast vs. Broadband
Viral video is on the rise, spreading from broadband to broadcast and back again. What are the opportunities for designers in this new genre?
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02.19.06: Rob Walker

The Story of O's
More than 60 years ago, CheeriOats were introduced to a cereal aisle far less abundant with choices than the one we know today. Cheerios — the shortened name, as of 1945 — remains a powerhouse.
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10.29.05: Michael Bierut

The Final Days of AT&T
The acquisition of AT&T by SBC will result in, among other things, the retirement of one of Saul Bass's most well-known logos. Does anyone care?
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10.24.05: Michael Bierut

The Great Non-Amber-Colored Hope
A student design for a prescription pill bottle takes a metoric rise to mass production and becomes an instant icon in the world of graphic design.
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09.19.05: Rick Poynor

The Guardian's New European Look
The Guardian's choice of the "Berliner" format, half-way between broadsheet and tabloid, is an inspired alternative. The paper is the first British title to adopt this European page size. Elegant, well-proportioned pages make its tabloid rivals look like poor relations.
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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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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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02.08.05: Michael Bierut

Authenticity: A User's Guide
Graphic designers take pleasure in simulation. This makes defining authenticity a tricky thing.
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12.01.04: Michael Bierut

The Whole Damn Bus is Cheering
The familiar yellow ribbons stuck to cars urging us to "support our troops" have lots of competition and are horribly designed.
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11.25.04: William Drenttel

My Country Is Not A Brand
Branding was originally an approach for creating reputations for commercial products.
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11.21.04: Michael Bierut

Logogate in Connecticut, or, The Rodneydangerfieldization of Graphic Design: Part II
A new logo for the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism by Cummings & Good provokes a public controversy on the value of design.
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11.18.04: Michael Bierut

The World in Two Footnotes
Writing in Eye Magazine, Nick Bell observes that designers too often act as "agents of neutrality" or "aesthetes of style" and suggests that they focus more on their work's content.
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08.23.04: Michael Bierut

The Graphic Design Olympics
The event graphics and pictograms created for the Olympics by designers such as Otl Aicher, Lance Wyman and Deborah Sussman are part of a historic tradition that continues to this day.
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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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06.16.04: Michael Bierut

The Idealistic Corporation
American corporations in the mid-twentieth century, such as IBM, Container Corporation, and General Dynamics, worked with designers like Charles and Ray Eames, Herbert Bayer and Erik Nitsche in the conviction that design was not only a tool for business, but an potent instrument for making the world a better place.
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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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04.28.04: Michael Bierut

Better Nation Building Through Design
A new flag design for Iraq may inadvertantly symbolize much of what is misguided in the US's occupation of that country.
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04.03.04: Michael Bierut

Stanley Kubrick and the Future of Graphic Design
Stanley Kubrick's attention to the nuances of graphic design, typography, and branding went far beyond his well-documented obsession with Futura Extra Bold. 2001: A Space Odyssey in particular projects a perfectly designed vision of the future that has never been topped.
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01.31.04: Michael Bierut

The Sins of St. Paul
Paul Rand is almost universally revered as the infallible father of American graphic design, which may have blinded his legions of admirers to his flaws: an overemphasis on logos as a communications tool, a lack of engagement in content, a detachment from history, and humorlessness.
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