Tag Archives: graphic design

Reimagining Mickey’s Mouse Ears

Visual communication is inescapable and we have accepted this situation. Ads are part of the visual clutter that encompasses urban living and brands are looking for a piece of the most important real estate there is: your brain.
Some of the brands that have made their imprints run the challenge of reinventing themselves to stay relevant, to widen their reach and to remind people how great their childhoods were because of this one particular brand.
Disney today release a new Joy Division inspired version of Mickey Mouse’s ears for the band’s Unknown Pleasures from 1979, designed by Ian Saville. With this logo, a new generation of Disney fans witness a reinvention of the popular mouse-ears silhouette meanwhile arousing the nostalgia of those who are, ahem, mature enough to know, recognize and appreciate record art. I will be ordering one because for the mouse ears.

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January 24, 2012 · 00:13

Rebirth/Rebranding: An Unwanted Sequel?

 

A lot has happened since my last entry but the motivation for the blog remains the same. Little responsibilities have gotten in the way but here is Urban Peanut: A Gallery’s redux. It’s still far from becoming a brick and mortar gallery but here it is with a vengeance.

The theme of rebirth has fascinated humanity for a long time and various faiths and schools of thoughts have found new beginnings, for better or for worse, to be inspiring; this might offer a small clue about why popular brands rebrand.

The Gap, Starbucks, and American Apparel have in the last couple of months decided that a new take on their respective logos for different reasons.

For the Gap, the general consensus about their new logo was so utterly horrible that within days. I am quite certain that Monster.com received new business in the aftermath.

Starbucks’ reason to rid its logo of its written word is valid; to reach new, non-English speaking markets is a goal that any company would like to have on its five year plan, to the dismay of some loyalists who might feel alienated.

Just walking on Queen Street over the weekend, I noticed that American Apparel on Toronto’s esteemed street, also went through a little facelift. (I tried looking for a press release regarding the new look and was unsuccessful.) I was thinking of using ‘touchup’ but changing the typeface is  closer to butchery and is not turning anyone on as much as their well-placed ads on the back of weekly magazines, right after the adult ads. Inspiration: ugly script is the new Helvetica.

The more image-saturated our daily lives become, the more we rely on visual cues to speed up the way we process information. Logos symbolize, in one image, what we want and expect. It is still a mystery to me why the Gap thought it would be a good idea to change their logo. A new beginning evokes hope and rebirth/rebranding is on the same plane. Ultimately, though, rebirth can sometimes just mean a second hack at life as a dung beetle.

 

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Filed under City Life, graphic design, History, ideas, lifestyle

Signs vs. symbols

It’s elementary semiotics: signs are universally acknowledged whereas symbols are more personal, societal. Feel free to use any adjective denoting subjectivity.

Graphic design is the practice of perpetually crafting symbols to represent a business, company, association or product. The eventuality that the symbol becomes a universal sign is circumstance, luck and above all, good design. It is the combination of all three that comprises the recipe for graphic design immortality and one example comes to mind: Milton Glaser.

Milton Glaser is the graphic designer behind the I Heart NY graphic that can be found at all the tourist shops in New York City. The simplicity of the graphic has made it a sign that has inspired many copycats to, well, copy and reinterpret Glaser’s work with the American Typewriter typeface, my personal favourite.

The red heart on Glaser’s graphic has been adapted to a maple leaf, in the case for Toronto, the Apple sign for the Apple Store in (irony!) New York City, a clover for Ireland and the list goes on. I think collecting all of the ‘tributes’ to Milton Glaser’s clean and simple work would make for a great book, if there is not one already in print. Taschen, I called this one.

It still boggles my mind how low of a priority graphic design is for organizations, yet we admire branding that has become an everyday presence among us. (Apple, anyone? or Nike’s swoosh?) Graphic designers are the unsung heroes of commerce and individuals working in business should realize that there is more to graphic design than font size and typefaces; creativity and vision are also very important.

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Filed under City Life, graphic design, ideas, travel