In January 2007, Sao Paolo, Brazil, did something that would send chills down the spine of most ad agencies. In an effort to rid the city of what the mayor called “visual pollution,” Sao Paolo enacted a Clean City law that banned all billboards and most other large outdoor advertising.
Known as one of the world’s worst billboard jungles, Sao Paolo was rife with illegal billboards and signs. Advertisers had bought up virtually all available street and wall space in the city to hang their gigantic marketing messages. To earn money, some poor residents even sold the front of their homes or space in their gardens to post ad signs. Unable to determine which were legal and which not, the city banned them all.
Since the law went into effect more than 15,000 billboards, 1,600 oversized signs and 1,300 metal ad panels have come down. Strict regulations mandated smaller storefront signage and limited them to hang only above the store entrance and not extend into the street. Even pamphleteering in public spaces was made illegal. Those who didn’t comply faced hefty fines.
In the mountainous village of Granados in central Guatemala, Peace Corps volunteer Laura Kutner came up with a way to solve several problems at once – the need for more classrooms, the shortage of building materials, and the abundance of plastic trash littering the ground.
Kutner rallied the community of roughly 860 people living in the village and surrounding area and together they collected more than 4,000 discarded plastic soda bottles. From there, students and volunteers used sticks and hands to cram the plastic bottles with more plastic — used bags, packaging and grocery sacks – to give the containers heft and form, then stacked them like bricks held in place by chicken wire, and “stuccoed” them with a cement-sand mixture.
Editor’s Note: In his inimitable style, Marty Neumeier, author, lecturer and director of transformation at Liquid Agency, makes complex marketing principles seem logical and easy to understand. Here from his book “Zag: The #1 Strategy of High-Performance Brands,” Neumeier explains why in a world of “look-alike products and me-too services” it is important for brand marketers to zag when everyone else zigs.
It has been interesting to observe how typing text messages with two thumbs on a cell phone is transforming the written language. Acronyms have replaced full sentences – LOL, OMG, GTG. Everything that can be abbreviated is. The question is, will this lead to the evolution of spelling as we know it? It wouldn’t be the first time. Over the centuries, spelling has changed, syntax has changed, even the noun-verb-object order of typical English sentences has changed. I happened upon this fake news article sent to me years ago. At the time, I found it ludicrously funny; now I’m not so sure. Maybe it was onto something, albeit before its time. Copy editors beware; your troubles may have just begun.
From the Magazine Publishers Association and American Society of Magazine Editors comes this two-minute video “Covering the Decade in Magazine Covers.” This edited America-centric view of the Aughts glaringly omits world-altering stories such as the disputed “hanging chad” Presidential election that started the decade and the rise of social media and focus on climate change that ended it. Overall, however, the video is a fascinating glimpse at the visual devices that publishers use to grab consumer attention at the newsstand. Faces, especially of celebrities, dominate most covers. Pop culture and sensational headlines trump the promise of substantive, thoughtful reporting. Obviously, the magazine reading public is more interested in being entertained than informed.
A consistent award-winner coveted by designers, architects and lovers of modern design, the 365 Typographic Calendar now celebrates its tenth year. Each month includes a brief description about what makes the featured font distinctive and a biography of the type designer.
The typefaces for 2011 were chosen by the Studio Hinrichs team from the archives of the 20th Century’s design and architectural icons including A.M. Cassandre, Le Corbusier and Frederic Goudy, plus contemporary stars including Zuzana Licko, Christian Schwartz and Ondrej Jób.
The 365 Calendar is available in two sizes: A wall-hanging 23" x 33" version that can easily be read from across a large room and a smaller 12" x 18" version suitable for smaller spaces and for desk use.
Super Size 23" x 33" (58.5cm x 84cm) $44 retail
Desk/Wall 12" x 18" (30.5cm x 45.75cm) $26 retail
We recently ran across this post by Alissa Walker for Good.Is about an artist/motorist named Richard Ankrom who got fed-up with the dangerously confusing wayfinding signs splitting the 5 North onramp from the 110 Freeway to Pasadena. The lack of a 5 North overhead sign often caused drivers to wave their hand frantically to be allowed to switch lanes at the last minute and motorists who were cut off to wave their finger in an upward motion to express their annoyance.
In a bit of public service performance art, Ankrom used his hands more constructively and crafted his own freeway directions. The altered signage, which Ankrom put up in broad daylight in 2001, was appreciated by commuters like Alissa, but was not recognized as phony until Ankrom leaked his prank to local newspapers. That’s how it came to the attention of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), which is in charge of freeway signs. Despite Ankrom’s confession, he wasn’t charged with defacing public property because, afterall, how is making something better and safer a crime? For the past eight years, Caltrans let Ankrom’s doctored sign stand. Then recently it removed it, and replaced it with an official sign that looks like Ankrom’s.
Passersby in Amsterdam did a double-take as they walked by post-holiday curbside trash heaped high with the usual plastic garbage bags, assorted discards and… a Mini Cooper cardboard packing box with a red ribbon still dangling off the side. The brainchild of Ubachswisbrun/JWT agency, the Mini Cooper guerrilla “advertisements” were strategically placed throughout the city. It left people to wonder if the popular tiny hatchback was really small enough to be shipped in a box and possibly even fit under a Christmas tree. The white stick-on label on the side of the box provided the sales message – a 99 euro a month finance deal. Except for the black outline drawing of the Mini on all sides of the box, the actual product was nowhere to be seen.
New Zealand’s iconic Auckland Ferry Building, an Edwardian Baroque-style structure built in 1912, has become the site of spectacular 21st century light shows, using architectural mapping and interactive projection technology.
A creative collaboration of Inside Out Productions, YesYesNo, The Church and Electric Canvas, the Ferry Building light show turned the audience into the performers by taking their body movements and amplifying them five stories high. The installation used three different types of interactions – body interaction on the two stages, hand interaction above a light table, and phone interaction with the tracking of waving phones. Six scenes were cycled every hour for the public.
Produced with the support of Telecom and the Auckland City Council, the four-night event was a great way for Telecom to position itself at the cutting-edge of technology and a great way for the city to bolster tourism and civic spirit.
This was a decade when everything as we knew it became obsolete, from newspapers and fax machines to analog TVs and dial-up Internet connections. Like Midwesterners say about the weather, if you don’t like it, wait 15 minutes, it will change.
It struck us as appropriate when Design Army, a creative firm in Washington D.C., emailed out a screensaver clock for its season’s greeting. Forget a calendar, that’s too slow. This clock rolls out the time in hours, minutes, seconds and 1/100th seconds. As Design Army says about its gift of time, “make every second count.” Our sentiments exactly. Don’t blink, you might miss something important.
This advertisement for City Harvest was filmed entirely on an iPhone in a single shot. It was created and produced by The Mill NY, in collaboration with Draftcb, a New York City marketing communications agency.
The ad was made to support City Harvest, which collects over 270,000 pounds of excess food from restaurants, grocers, corporate cafeterias, manufacturers and farms daily and uses it to prepare and deliver over 260,000 meals per week to community food programs in the New York City area. The apples in the video represent the amount of food wasted in New York City every day. City Harvest states that it is the “world’s first food rescue organization.”
The recent publication of Peter Richardson’s “A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America” evokes memories of when San Francisco dominated pop culture and counterculture.
The 1960s gave birth to what became known as “the San Francisco Sound” (the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Sly and the Family Stone, Santana and others), the hippie movement, vocal anti-Vietnam War protests, and some ground-breaking magazines including Rolling Stone (1967), Berkeley Barb (1965) and later Mother Jones (1976). The magazine that preceded and influenced them all was Ramparts.
Founded in 1962 as a Catholic literary quarterly, Ramparts soon became the muckraking voice of the New Left when Warren Hinckle took over as executive editor and Robert Scheer joined as managing editor. Noam Chomsky, Seymour Hersh, Hunter Thompson, Eldridge Cleaver, Christopher Hitchens, Ken Kesey, Allen Ginsberg, Susan Sontag, Erica Jong, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jann Wenner, and Adam Hochschild were just a few of the noteworthy writers who contributed to the editorial content.