Archive for the 'Logos/Branding' Category

Turning Things Around for International Women’s Day

March 8, 2018

Banish the pink!

article by Kate Taylor in Business Insider

McDonald’s is flipping its iconic arches upside down in an unprecedented statement

People driving by a McDonald’s in Lynwood, California, might be baffled by an upside-down sign. The golden arches, typically standing as an M, have been flipped over to become a W.

But this isn’t a bizarre prank or a careless mistake. The upside-down arches are in “celebration of women everywhere,” a McDonald’s representative told Business Insider in an email.

Patricia Williams, the location’s franchisee, flipped her restaurant’s sign in honor of International Women’s Day on Thursday.

McDonald’s says it will turn its logo upside down on all its digital channels, such as Twitter and Instagram, on Thursday, while 100 restaurants will have special “packaging, crew shirts and hats, and bag stuffers” to celebrate.

“In celebration of women everywhere, and for the first time in our brand history, we flipped our iconic arches for International Women’s Day in honor of the extraordinary accomplishments of women everywhere and especially in our restaurants,” McDonald’s global chief diversity officer, Wendy Lewis, said in a statement.

Lewis continued: “From restaurant crew and management to our C-suite of senior leadership, women play invaluable roles at all levels, and together with our independent franchise owners, we’re committed to their success.”

Several brands, including Old Navy and Barbie, have debuted products to honor International Women’s Day. Meanwhile, some companies — such as BrewDog, which rolled out what it said was a satirical “beer for girls” called Pink IPA— have been criticized for using the day to advertise to women in what some consider a reductive manner.


If your kids don’t want broccoli, maybe they’ll want Disney broccoli

October 20, 2016

The magical quality of vegetables or fruit was never made clear to me as a child. They were something we ate as a matter of what we were told to do. Not having sugared cereals in the house as a rule made us less susceptible to the kid-targeted messaging of my youth. Now if Disney had been hawking broccoli to me as a child, I might have grown up vegetarian.

By Abha Bhattarai

The Washington Post October 19, 2016
(featured in Los Angeles Times October 20, 2016)

It’s come to this, America: Disney-branded fruits and vegetables.
Dole Food Co. said Friday it is partnering with Walt Disney Co. to market fresh produce to children nationwide. Characters from Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar films will now help hawk blueberries, bananas and broccoli.
“Disney and Dole have a shared mission of providing high quality produce to help families lead healthier lives,” Josh Silverman, executive vice president of global licensing at Disney, said in a statement.
The companies did not disclose the terms of the deal, nor did they say whether Disney-branded produce will be priced higher than nonbranded fruits and vegetables when they hit grocery shelves next month.

Last year, Burbank-based Disney partnered with Sage Fruit Co. for a similar campaign to promote the movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Darth Vader helped market bags of apples; Yoda hawked green grapes.
Using well-known characters to sell nutrition is nothing new. Popeye famously persuaded children to eat spinach, and generations have grown up chewing Flintstones vitamins. In the 1990s, hundreds of dairy-mustached celebrities helped revive milk’s popularity with the “Got Milk?” advertising campaign.

“It’s not difficult to slap a character on a food and get kids to love it,” said Rob Frankel, a Los Angeles-based branding expert. “But these days, anybody who tries to sell anything to kids also has to appeal to the parents. This is a way for Disney to prove to Mom and Dad: ‘See? We care about the health of your kids.’”

That’s different from the way items were marketed in the 1970s and ’80s, Frankel said. Back then, advertisers were focused squarely on appealing to children. General Mills, for example, marketed its popular line of sugar-laden cereals with characters such as Franken Berry and Count Chocula, while Pillsbury used cartoon figures Goofy Grape, Lefty Lemonade and Freckle-Faced Strawberry to promote its line of Funny Face powdered drinks.

“It was all about the nag factor,” Frankel said. “If companies sold the kids on it, eventually they’d whine and beg enough that Mom and Dad would buy it.”

But that began to change in the 1990s, he said, as baby boomers took a more hands-on approach to parenting. “All these helicopter parents needed to be told, ‘Mom and Dad, here’s the best thing for your kid,'” Frankel said.

As a result, companies shifted their marketing tactics to appeal to parents. They began adding phrases such as “all natural” and “no sugar” to their labels, and emphasized health-related benefits. Disney’s partnership with Dole — based in Westlake Village — is a step even further in that direction, Frankel said.

“Now they can get you from both sides,” Frankel said. “The kid is happy because it’s got a Disney princess on it, and Mom feels good because she’s buying a vegetable.”

What inspires you? Optima 10 pt, bold

October 8, 2011

What inspires you? Is it in your heart or handed to you by someone else?

With the passing of visionary Steve Jobs, I have encountered some of his words that resonated with me. Would I have found these quotations while he was alive? Maybe not. Do they hold a higher truth? Maybe not. Do they remind me to listen to what inspires me and follow my heart? Yes, very much.

[Taken from his 2005 commencement address to Stanford University graduates]

“ Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

” None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do.

” No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

~ Steve Jobs

Thank you, Mr. Jobs, for everything. We owe you those risks we will take to make things better by following our hearts.

If posting images of calligrapher Hermann Zapf’s typography which became core fonts in Mac OS doesn’t make sense to you – let this inspire you to follow Steve Jobs’ experience and learn more. Allow calligraphy to influence you, too, to create greater things in your world.

Lure of the siren as social pumpkin…latte

September 6, 2011

Offering your audience an immediate conversation and a type of emotional connection has become a tangible benefit of the internet and social media. Having a conversation with your favorite pair of shoes, or a car or even a cup of coffee is possible now in marketing because of social media. I have a lot of respect for Mikio Osaki my advertising teacher at Art Center and his memorable work! “The advertising department at Art Center today distinguishes itself from other departments at the College by educating students who become society’s popculture sociologists.” I learned so much and saw some inspired student work while studying there. It makes me sad to see the dreck that is mainstream advertising now – where are my brilliant fellow alumni when they are most needed?

Advertising in practice is about presence, visibility, establishing brand – a billboard. You just can’t hug a billboard with satisfying outcomes. I’ll consult with my legal counsel to investigate if doing this might even get you arrested. By contrast, marketing is presence, visibility and brand amplified by storytelling, a chat, and trusted rapport. Marketing is connection, advertising is the hard sell.

True story: I love coffee – the brand energy that has bloomed around the “cup of coffee” industry of late is exciting for me to watch. Admit it, when you see a new established brand coffee place open, you notice. You might groan, “not in my neighbor” but you notice the empire of franchise building growing around you. There is coffee, obviously, espresso beverages both hot and cold, strong and flavored,
iced and dessert-like; there are roasted beans to consider and buy. There are juices and juice-like imitators, there are teas, there are sandwiches and pastries. The specificity to which you can engineer a coffee these days is amazing (and profitable) – whole milk, non-fat, soy milk, flavored syrups, spices, whipped cream, seasonal offerings, and more I’m  probably missing – I prefer café au lait. The empire
creeps farther with mugs, t-shirts, candy, music cds, french press coffee makers, ice cream, breath mints, hyper-active graphic interior décor, hard wood paneling, and convenient outlets to plug in your laptop for 3 hours… All the coffee loyalty programs I used to engage in have disappeared – which makes sense. Does a crack dealer offer you a free sample for every 10 purchases you make? But can you get that discounted if you bring your own mug?

Community used to be limited to geography – the corner coffeehouse, the one on Main Street, the place I grab coffee on my drive to work. Easy because it exists where it is convenient for me.  Recently I was fascinated by a fall campaign by Starbucks. Website ad for Pumpkin Spice Latte – my tastebuds are listening – and link to … Facebook. Not a list of stores near me, but an immediate opportunity to connect:
“Show the world that you’re a PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte, of course) by carving a Pumpkin Pic (sic) for your profile. It’s the perfect way to prove your pumpkin passion!” Community just happened.

Chaser: Some graphic design and branding history (according to Wikipedia) The company is named in part after Starbuck, Captain Ahab’s first mate in the novel Moby-Dick. “That’s right, a writer was involved in a logo project.” In 2006, Valerie O’Neil, a Starbucks spokeswoman, said that the logo is an image of a “twin-tailed siren.” The original brown Nordic-inspired woodcut logo was used by Il Giornarle. Il Giornarle was the espresso café Howard Schultz opened up in 1986 after failing to convince the original owners of Starbucks to focus on serving espresso beverages. By 1987, the two remaining original owners of Starbucks decided to sell the business and Howard jumped at the chance to buy Starbucks and remake it into the espresso
bar concept he had just begun at Il Giornale. Terry Heckler moved the siren of the logo into a more speed inducing and affirming green. Her implied nakedness was censored by the removal of her navel. Who can resist her? The logo has been significantly streamlined over the years. Consumer Reports called Starbucks coffee “strong, but burnt and bitter enough to make your eyes water instead of open.” Since 2011 Starbucks also gives away a “Pick of the Week” card for app downloads from the
App Store. A Starbucks app is available in the iPhone App Store. Make my music a double shot, no foam.

What’s dinner without romance?

August 17, 2011

A menu might, at first glance, appear be a simple list, a grouping of recipes identified by a price. The formality of categories such as appetizer, salad, main dish or dessert help to guide us away from ordering chocolate creme brule first. Recently, the ready access to print technology allows menus to be printed on demandin the restaurant manger’s office reflecting that day’s specials or changing entree features. These new menus formats are single broadsheets, spartan in style and moderne in minimalist layout. They read like a congress of representative wines with an ingredients list. Yawn. Where’s the romance?

According to Menu Design in America, edited by Jim Heimann with an introduction by Steven Heller and captions from John Mariani, minimalist menus were not the standard not so long ago. I caught Chip Kidd’s review of it in a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal (August 13-14). A hungry diner would be ushered into a culinary courtship, wooed by the promise of tasty fare rather than be rushed into a commitment without romance. The book, “not only catalogues nearly 800 American menus, it also gives a history of the whole concept of a printed menu,” according to the New York review.

The experience of dining should begin with whetting your imaginative hunger as you are handed a menu. Dining is an artform, each meal designed for presentation. There is a menu engineering formula focusing on the popularity of menu items and using layout real estate to push others. Yet the most fitting pairing for an inspired meal is an insightful menu design that tells a story, and draws you in from hors d’ouevres to a grappa or after dinner drink.