Nike’s advertising department does it yet again. I don’t know how these guys continue to make such original, effective spots year after year, but I’m not complaining. Hell, it almost makes me forget about their abysmal human rights record.
Archive for the ‘advertising’ Category
I consider myself a reasonably bright guy. I’m no scientist, but I’ve read a few pop-sci books (A Brief History of Time, The Elegant Universe) and I feel like I understand the concepts well enough. Not only that, I’m a pretty big sci-fi nerd, and have loved the concept of time-travel since I was a little kid. That being said, the first time I watched the movie Primer it made my brain go “ow.” The plot follows the exploits of two Dallas-area engineers named Abe and Aaron, who stumble upon the ability to travel backward into time by accident while attempting to construct a gravity-degrading superconductor in their garage. They become aware of the enormous space/time implications as they become more brazen in their use of the machine, which causes some serious time-fuckery. I really thought I was following everything just fine for the first 2/3rds, but by the last half hour I was wallowing in a puddle of my own mind-goo. Abe and Aaron travel backward in time again and again, creating duplicates of duplicates as the plot’s comprehensibility (and the quality of their penmanship) disintegrates. As the movie wore on, it became increasingly unclear which timeline I was watching, and which copy of the characters were acting out the increasingly byzantine script.
And I loved every second of it. I watched it again shortly thereafter, and understood a bit more. A few months ago, I watched it for a third time, and just recently for a fourth — enough to think that I have a pretty decent grasp of the film’s machinations. It really is a sneaky little fucker, but there is a lot of pleasure to be had in unraveling its structure. Which makes this temporal map of the movie’s time-lines such a great resource. Taken by itself it’s nearly as confusing as the movie, but used in conjunction it can be an invaluable, ah, Primer primer.
Also worth checking out is this A.V. Club article about Primer and the “New Cult Canon.” It has a few clips from the movie and provides a more thorough explanation of the film’s creation and plot.
With the NCAA Tournament on hiatus until Thursday night (and let it be noted that last week I was RIGHT ON THE FUCKING MONEY when I predicted Davidson would end up in the Sweet 16. Go Team Brock!) I thought it would be a good idea to discuss something completely unrelated to collegiate athletics. Ergo, logos. Specifically, the FexEd logo, pictured above. It’s almost certainly my favorite corporate logotype. While I appreciate the simple san-serif type, a mash-up of classic modernist typefaces Futura and Univers, the logo’s true brilliance is in its use of negative space. Take another glance at the image above, this time focusing on the white spaces between the letters. Notice anything interesting? Yep, an arrow, plain as day, nestled between the “E” and “x.” And it’s no accident. The logo’s creater, Lindon Leader, has this to say:
“The power of the hidden arrow is simply that it is a ‘hidden bonus.’ It is a positive-reverse optical kind of thing: either you see it or you don’t. Importantly, not ‘getting the punch line’ by not seeing the arrow, does not reduce the impact of the logo’s essential communication.”
And it is the arrow’s incredible subtlety that really makes the logo work so well. In an age where consumers are constantly bludgeoned by heavy-handed attempts at branding, the FedEx logo is a breath of fresh air, a logotype that actually respects our intelligence. Infinitely superior to that goofball with the awful haircut and dry-erase marker that’s currently pimping UPS. (interview with Lindon Leader at the Sneeze.)
While battling the first stages of the flu and waiting for the Super Bowl to begin, I decided to flip over to Animal Planet in order to get in some Puppy Bowl action. The pups were as adorable as expected, but something else caught my eye — something both unexpected and, quite frankly, hideous. An eyesore that very nearly defeated the awww puppies!!! involuntary reflex:
That would be the new Animal Planet rebranding, which was rolled out during Puppy Bowl Sunday. And good God, is that not the most hideous logo you’ve ever seen? Animal Planet’s senior VP of marketing, Victoria Lowell, said that the logo, with its differently sized letters and sideways M, was intended to appear as if it was made by an animal. That might as well be the literal truth, because no one in his right mind could possibly design a logo this unappealing. There is absolutely no logical reason for the sideways M, nor for the squished N and A. It’s unbalanced and unattractive. Pitiful design. Now I just hope I won’t be eating my words a year from now when Animal Planet Xtreme is pulling in better ratings than the Super Bowl itself.