Posts tagged design and commerce

First Things First Manifesto(es)

Here are links to the readings for Monday.

Please read:

1964 First Things First Manifesto

2000 First Things First Manifesto

Design is About Democracy by Rick Poynor (an introduction to the 2000 version)

Remember that these links and links to all your other readings can be found here.

Thank you to the kind Aaron Rayburn (featured above) and Ben Vickery (featured here) for the most excellent tour of Wienden+Kennedy today! What better way to learn about design and commerce than to hang out at a sweet ad agency?!
Hopefully a few minds were blown.
If you guys were interested in keeping in touch with Aaron and Ben, check out their work and be sure to follow their blog, FORTPORT. These gentlemen are both dear to my heart, are excellent designers, and are PSU GD grads! 
P.S. This photo comes from Corbin’s Instagram. Thanks Corbin!

Thank you to the kind Aaron Rayburn (featured above) and Ben Vickery (featured here) for the most excellent tour of Wienden+Kennedy today! What better way to learn about design and commerce than to hang out at a sweet ad agency?!

Hopefully a few minds were blown.

If you guys were interested in keeping in touch with Aaron and Ben, check out their work and be sure to follow their blog, FORTPORT. These gentlemen are both dear to my heart, are excellent designers, and are PSU GD grads! 

P.S. This photo comes from Corbin’s Instagram. Thanks Corbin!

Box Vox: A blog about packaging as content

Woah, there is enough stuff to make an entire blog about this? Check it out. This blog featured projects, products and other visual treats that deal with commercial packaging and the forms it takes.

They get super in-depth on the stuff that stuff comes in.

Surely you guys have heard of Adbusters, but have you heard of their brand?

Blackspot: An experiment in grassroots capitalism

Blackspot is an affront to the consciousness of hyper capitalism and profit dominated boardroom policies. Blackspot is about more than marketing a brand or deconstructing the meaning of cool – it’s about changing the way the world does business. Blackspot is an open-source brand, which means that it can be used by anyone for any purpose at no cost.

I’ve always been interested in the fact that they built a brand as a way to comment on the ubiquity of brands…

Poler: Adventures
Check it: as a way of creating a culture around their products, Portland-based camping company Poler has their network of friends and customers create photo essays, or Adventure stories, featuring their products. 
I think this is an interesting way of “advertising,” creating content as advertising instead of simply broadcasting a “YOU SHOULD BUY THIS!” message.

Poler: Adventures

Check it: as a way of creating a culture around their products, Portland-based camping company Poler has their network of friends and customers create photo essays, or Adventure stories, featuring their products. 

I think this is an interesting way of “advertising,” creating content as advertising instead of simply broadcasting a “YOU SHOULD BUY THIS!” message.

“The Pepsi Refresh Project (PRP) is a 2010 initiative by PepsiCo to award $20 million in grants to individuals, businesses and non-profits that promote a new idea that has a positive impact on their community, state, or the nation. The project is completely separate from the Pepsi Corporate Foundation and uses money budgeted for marketing.” —Wikipedia, Pepsi Refresh Project.
Is this advertising?

The Pepsi Refresh Project (PRP) is a 2010 initiative by PepsiCo to award $20 million in grants to individuals, businesses and non-profits that promote a new idea that has a positive impact on their community, state, or the nation. The project is completely separate from the Pepsi Corporate Foundation and uses money budgeted for marketing.” —Wikipedia, Pepsi Refresh Project.

Is this advertising?

Check it out: Lis Charman, PSU GD professor, has an excellent Flickr set of non-traditional and guerrilla advertising campaigns. These are examples of companies using interesting formats or approaches to advertise a product or a concept.

Check it out: Lis Charman, PSU GD professor, has an excellent Flickr set of non-traditional and guerrilla advertising campaigns. These are examples of companies using interesting formats or approaches to advertise a product or a concept.

Okay. This is the last Levi’s video I’ll make you watch. Levi’s calls this “a tribute to the new pioneers of Braddock, Pennsylvania.”

Braddock is a town in the Rust Belt, a suburb of Pittsburgh that has suffered economic devastation in the last few decades as industry moved overseas. This video was the lead-in to the We Are All Workers campaign, and spawned a mini-series of sorts, a collection of vignettes about the people who live and work in Braddock.

As part of the same campaign, Levi’s hosted creative workshops in major cities: there were print shops in Berlin and San Francisco, a photography workshop in New York, and a film workshop in Los Angeles. The workshops collaborated with local arts and culture groups, and established month-long community studios to celebrate the creative work process.

And all of this had its stylistic parallel: Levi’s pushed this campaign forward because its products began to pay homage to its roots as a clothing company for the working class, with work clothes making a comeback in the world of fashion. (I talk about this like I know anything about fashion, but surely you know what I’m talking about. Portland chic. “Are you really going to work on a construction site in those expensive leather boots?”)

This campaign is of particular interest to me because it exemplifies the way commercial culture is permeating all sorts of other realms; here we see advertising intertwined with community building, creative culture, and exploration of place. We also see advertising functioning as a vehicle for discussion of important contemporary issues like post-industrial economies, unemployment and the value of creative work in a production-oriented society.

More than any other Levi’s advertising campaign, this one really forces me to call into question the role of advertising in our culture, and to notice how it’s changing.

If advertising money can pay to celebrate the people of Braddock, what does that mean? If advertising money can fund a month-long community print shop in the Mission District in San Francisco, what does that mean? Are these projects really benefitting the community? Should they have to? What if all companies did this? If kids in New York are learning photography skills because a company wants to sell jeans, does it really matter where the money is coming from if the creative spirits of children are being nurtured? If Braddock gets a new Levi’s-funded community center, will I buy a new pair of jeans? If Levi’s makes a beautiful video that moves you emotionally, does it matter that they’re selling you something? Or is it maybe just good enough that it’s artful?

This campaign makes me think. A lot. What do you think?

Here’s another one from W+K and Levi’s, part of the Go Forth campaign, based on another Walt Whitman poem.

Whitman wrote this poem in 1888, speaking about the larger cultural shift of Manifest Destiny, or westward expansion.

While this advertisement romanticizes a sense of national pride and American culture, the campaign received criticism based on the fact that Levi’s does most of its manufacturing overseas. (See the two most popular YouTube comments for this video as evidence.)

I don’t know where to start with Levi’s, so I guess I’ll start at the beginning. In recent years, they’ve exploded their advertising efforts to speak with a more youthful, positive, emotional and humanistic voice. 

This video was the start of it all, the main piece of the first rendition of the Go Forth! campaign based on a Walt Whitman poem called Pioneers! O Pioneers. (You might recognize some Portland things in this video, like the Keller Fountain or Mt. Tabor! Or maybe you’ll recognize some people you’ve seen around town.)

How is this campaign reflective of popular culture? How has it helped shape culture? How is this reflective of a distinctly Oregon culture? Or is it? 

Watch the original Old Spice Man commercial, debuted at the 2010 Super Bowl, which has had more than 39 million views in the last two years. (What?!)

Then read this article, which dissects the success of the campaign and explains the Old Spice Responses Campaign, “an online blitz during which a team of techies, marketers and writers pumped out more than 180 personalized videos featuring “The Old Spice Guy,” Isaiah Mustafa, responding to questions posed by fans, bloggers and celebs alike.”

And then go watch more videos on Old Spice’s YouTube channel. Notice how there are campaigns within campaigns. Notice how much CONTENT is being produced. Think about how these advertisements work their way into conversations, are blogged and re-blogged. How does participation play into this campaign? How are the advertisers harnessing the power of technology and digital media to reach more people?

Week 8: Design and Commerce

Okay. Over the last seven weeks, we’ve been talking about social design, humanitarian design, design-as-art, and design for community. Hopefully these discussions have broadened your understanding of the power and permeating nature of design, and more specifically, graphic design.

Now we come around to the commercial stuff. The flashy stuff. The familiar stuff, the things we typically associate with graphic design. Commercial studio environments. Advertisements. Print ads. Superbowl spots. Persuasive campaigns. Advertising, art, graphic design, popular media and all other kinds of visual communication are all interrelated components of visual culture. It could easily be argued that (in America, at least), advertising is the dominant element of visual culture. Most of the communicative content we see on a daily basis is trying to sell us something. 

Think back to week one, where we looked all around us to identify different types of design. Design isn’t just IN the environment, it IS the environment. What kinds of commercial messages do you see when you look around? Next time you leave the house, try to count how many commercial messages you see around you. Odds are, you’ll lose count pretty quickly.

This is a big topic. We’re only going to graze the surface, but we’re going straight to the source. On Thursday, we’ll take a field trip to the Portland offices of Wieden+Kennedy, arguably one of the best advertising agencies in the world. (A popularly held opinion.)

In preparation for our visit, familiarize yourself with their work. If you’ve picked up a magazine, seen cable television, visited New York or San Francisco, or watched anything on Hulu in the last few years, there’s a good chance you’ve seen their work. I’ll be posting up things for you to look at and think about in preparation for class this week. Come with questions. We see this stuff all the time, now let’s think about it.