JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN PHOTOSHOP…
The “shock” ad campaign by Benetton – Unhate – is noted below. I have rarely had such mixed emotions about a communications program. On the one hand, the creative by Amsterdam’s 72andsunny strikes me as a bit over-the-top and I have this suspicion that Benetton, which made its reputation with disturbing but breakthrough imagery decades ago, is trying too hard. Just because you can Photoshop, doesn’t mean you should. Then again, the idea of intransigent political leaders expressing love is a wistful ideal, reminiscent of John Lennon’s “imagine there’s no countries” lyrics. And, as someone on our staff put it, the campaign must be working since “when was the last time anyone was talking about Benetton?” Your comments would be most appreciated, and published if you like.
— Gordon Kaye firstname.lastname@example.org
Graphic Design News
NEW LOGO TAKES THE FIELD
The Florida Marlins, winners of two World Series, have been rebranded as the Miami Marlins starting with the 2012 season. The name change and graphics coincide with the team's move to New Marlins Ballpark, which also features a logo with a rainbow motif. The baseball-only park, located in the Little Havana section of the city, features a retractable roof to protect fans from tropical rains.The new logo is an abstract drawing of a marlin in red, orange, blue, and yellow wrapped around a large M. The uniform jerseys, in the colors black, grey and red-orange, have the word Marlins across the chest; they were displayed in a fashion show with several players modeling the new look. Controversial owner Jeff Loria waxed eloquent about how the new logo captures the vibrance and color of Miami. “We are the red, orange of the breathtaking Miami sunsets, the blue of the sky and the sea, and yellow of Miami sunshine,” says Loria.
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FINE TUNING LIFE AND CAREER
In Life Kerning, Justin Ahrens of Chicago’s Rule29 tackles the common misconception that positive change in one’s life requires a systems overhaul. Instead, Ahrens invites graphic designers and other business professionals to fine tune their perspective on career and life – drawing analogy to the adjustment of space between letterforms to which the paperback book’s title alludes. Ahrens, a GDUSA Person To Watch selection in 2005, observes that great design comes not in the lightening strike of a brilliant idea, but in the painstaking process of refinement. And so, he contends, the achievement of excellence comes not in broad strokes but in deliberate and incremental change. Using this philosophical context, Life Kerning guides readers to determine what they are passionate about, and how to keep their passions in the forefront. This includes tips on successful collaboration; on creating space in your life; on developing critical decisionmaking skills; on establishing an inspirational and motivational workplace environment; on finding wise mentors; and much more. Wiley is the publisher.
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MAG+ ADDS SINGLE ISSUE APP
In last month’s enewsletter, GDUSA reported on Mag+, a simple InDesign-based workflow that puts creative control in the hands of art directors and designers. Since then, Mag+ has announced two new offerings for its tablet publishing platform. With its new Mag+ Go, a $199 app delivering a single issue, the company has lowered the barrier for catalogs, e-books or other unique publishing ideas. Large publishing houses will benefit from Mag+ Lead, which offers personalized creative support and unlimited publishing for one low monthly price. Additionally, Mag+ has added new features to its platform, including options for creating in-app music playlists as well as multiple options for publishers to custom-brand their apps and stores. Support for the 10” Samsung Galaxy, Motorola Xoom, and other tablets running the Android Honeycomb OS, is also included. “Mag+ is all about facilitating the creative process and empowering users to bring to life anything they can imagine,” said CEO, Staffan Ekholm. “By making the platform available to a wider range of designers, we’re able to help stimulate a constant flow of the sort of publications the dreamers and visionaries have been waiting for since the day the touchscreen tablet hit the market.”
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ENVISION CELEBRATES 10TH YEAR
Envision Creative Group is celebrating its 10th anniversary, marking the occasion with the unveiling of their new updated website design and logo, which they invite you to view at www.envision-creative.com. Recipient of several design awards from GDUSA and a two-time finalist for The Austin TX Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Customer Service award, the firm is an strategic design and creative services agency with a client roster that includes the likes of Dell, HEB, Clarke American (Harland Clarke), AMD, Make-A-Wish Foundation, The University of Texas at Austin and Julio’s Chips and Salsa. The agency was founded by David Smith, a veteran of client-side marketing management with IBM, FiData and Sun Harvest Farms.
BENETTON ‘UNHATES’ LEADERS
A quarter century after it rode its multiracial “United Colors of Benetton” ad campaign to global fame, the Italian clothing chain Benetton is back to its marketing shock tactics. New print ads showing global leaders kissing. President Barack Obama locks lips with China’s Hu Jintao and Hugo Chávez, Angela Merkel mixes it up with Nicholas Sarkozy, and Pope Benedict XVI embraces Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb, a major Egytian imam. The “Unhate” campaign ads appear in the likes of Newsweek, New York Magazine, Monocle, and the Italian dailies Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica. The New York Times confirmed that the paper turned down the campaign, and the images of the Pope were taken off signs in Rome after the Vatican complained. Benetton officials are relying on the Internet to give the campaign a viral run. The ad agency is 72andsunny out of Amsterdam.
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DONALDSON FIRM TURNS 50
The Donaldson Group, an image communications design firm that may well have been Connecticut’s first, is celebrating its 50th annivesary. The Donaldson Group was formed in 1961 as Industrial Design Consultants (IDC) by Bill Gamble, Bruce Bradshaw and Dick Russell. In those early years, IDC specialized in industrial design for the consumer packaged goods and manufacturing industries. The firm’s work even landed on the moon, with gloves and helmet designed for the nation’s first space suit. During the last twenty years, the firm has been spearheaded by Jaye Donaldson, daughter of co-founder, Bill Gamble. After graduating from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications she was given the opportunity to grow the business and had an immediate impact with a progressive approach. Donaldson helped transform the firm’s project-based model to one based on high-level communications strategy, developing programs focused on communications, branding and packaging that provided lasting solutions and supported client’s overall business goals. The company has worked over the years with such notable brands as Lever Bros., The Financial Times, The Hartford, 3M, Kodak, Orvis, Spalding, Texaco, Barnes Group, Pitney Bowes, IBM and the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts.
DESIGNER CONFIDENCE MIXED
AIGA’s Design Leaders Confidence Index continued to drop in the most recent quarter. For the third quarter of 2011, the index slipped from 92.27 to 86.63 – the lowest measure since the second quarter of 2009. Designer confidence had remained surprisingly strong in the past 15 months, despite the country’s general post-recession blues. But it appears to be headed downward, possibly influenced by the substantial media focus on the economy and its weakness for the past year. The most recent AIGA survey (November 2011) of more than 300 design leaders reveals more caution than deep pessimism. For instance, only 20.9 percent believe the overall economy is worse now than six months ago, and even fewer believe that conditions will be worse in six months. Over a quarter of those surveyed felt that their likelihood of hiring additional staff would be greater than today, and over one in three thought their chance of investing in additional hardware and software would be better in six months. The takeaway: an ebbing of confidence from earlier periods, yet no sense that things are deteriorating dramatically.
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DESIGN MATES START BUSINESS
The age old advice may not always be true; never mix business with pleasure. The husband and wife design/entrepreneurial team of A3 Design, Amanda and Alan Altman, think things are best when business is mixed with pleasure. (The two were GDUSA People To Watch in 2007.) Amanda explains their new Molding Mates venture: “We design and produce adjustable vinyl wall decals that interact with the existing architectural elements of any room. Molding Mates transforms ordinary doors, windows, picture frames, cabinets and furniture into perches, landings and play areas for our unique line of nature and fantasy silhouettes. We have a full catalog of birds, bats, cats, puppies, cherubs, fairies and more... all full size and in very active, life-like positions. They stick to the wall but sit on the moldings in your environment to interact with its existing architectural features...
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LAUREL BLACK ON AGE BIAS
Having read GDUSA’s recent coverage of the ageism controversy, designer Laurel Black of Port Angeles WA notes that she recently wrote a guest piece on topic on the Creative Freelancer blog. She says “it got oer 120 responses – seems that this is on many people’s minds.” She notes that some were worried, some dismissive, and some wondered what ageism says about the profession.
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Take Five! Career Tips
THE WHITE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
A Story of Strange Swaps
Are you attending a white elephant gift exchange this holiday season? If you want to be crowned the “king of kooky,” consider wrapping up one of the following five items. According to advertising and marketing executives surveyed by The Creative Group, they are actual objects swapped among colleagues at white elephant parties:
1. A used ashtray.
2. A World War II gas mask.
3. A wilted carrot.
4. Dirty oven mitts.
5. A fruitcake that went around the office two years in a row.
For additional ideas, visit The Creative Group press room at…