Still battling jet lag following a 10-day Asian adventure, I find myself reflecting on food, what it means to be an American and the art of communication—specifically advertising and signage.
Living in a time in the US where sponsored messages are dominated by attempts to project realness, Japan offered a world of cute cartoon characters (kawaii) posing as brand icons and spokespeople. Here’s a quick overview of what I saw…
I’ve spent the better part of my adult life working in an industry that thrives on the notion that buying things is the only way to stay relevant. Don’t get me wrong—it’s not that some brands of pasta aren’t better than others, or that the latest business management software won’t make running your hipster coffee shop easier—but we operate on the principle that every product you interact with says something about who you are. From internet security to luxury cars, your reputation is on the line.
All this noise was running through my head a few weeks back when I passed a stretch of jewelry stores in my hometown. The windows were filled with sparkles next to tiny signs that referenced a range of financing plans available. Show your love with debt that’ll follow you for the next 20 years! Talk about romance.
But try as we may, few of us are immune to the slight buzz that follows buying new things. As a matter of fact, my lady friend and I get each other gifts all the time. Last week, I went nuts and picked up three packs of Mrs. Grossman’s brand stickers and Sunday she came home with a $2 pack of cucumber seeds to be plant in the backyard. Now as things continue to move in the right direction, and everyone keeps asking when we’ll seal the deal, I can only hope that whatever THE ring lacks in diamonds and debt can be offset with smiles and stickers.
A few weeks back, I found out my folks decided to move my grandma to a nursing home. A combination of failing health and rapid weight loss were key factors. It was time.
Being far away, I decided I’d attempt to make contact with her with a card and a letter. Finally one evening I sat down and typed a few paragraphs. After a couple of rounds of proofing, I rearranged a few things and printed a copy. I handed it to Cristi for final approval.
“Nice letter, but there’s just one thing…” she said, trailing off.
Immediately the situation felt like a creative review. I prepared to defend myself. I gathered my thoughts and planned to defend every word of the letter if I had to.
“Your mom mentioned that your grandma was having trouble reading lately…can you make the type a little bigger?”
I was relieved. My work was approved—with one small tweak. I realized that with all the years of trying to defend ill-conceived advertising concepts, I’m trained to expect feedback no matter what.
Happy Friday, friends. Whatever you do with your weekend, try to relax and separate yourself from the pains of being a professional Monday through Friday.
Whether you’re trying to sell Nike shoes or a gallon of milk at the local grocery store, there’s an art to creating effective advertising. While I honestly don’t think anyone has an exact formula, a nice picture can really draw a person in. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I spend a lot of time drinking coffee and looking at cars I can’t afford on Craigslist. This routine eventually inspired me to start pulling images of the various old things I see for blog material. Here are just a few of my favorite shots of the day.
May your titles be clear and your floorboards be solid.