ESTIMATED READING TIME: 2 MINUTES
I typically ride the PATCO train in from Collingswood to 15/16 & Locust every morning. About six months ago, I got on the train and tweeted that “This train smells like a train fire.” This morning I tweeted “This train kind of smells like a train fire again.”
That’s because it was on fire! The terminal in Camden was pretty smokey and my train was evacuated. Instead of sitting in a packed terminal, waiting a while for the next overloaded train to come through, I decided this was as good of an opportunity as any to walk across the Ben Franklin Bridge.
I’ve always wanted to do it and I’m glad I did. It’d be cool to bike over it when it’s a bit warmer outside. Here are some photos:
Thanks PATCO, for making my morning a bit different today.
ESTIMATED READING TIME: 3 MINUTES
Bill, Susan and their friends stand next to the swings at recess. As an autumn breeze blows ripples across their shirts, Bill smiles. Bill is taller than Susan, but only by half an inch. Ernie looks down at his red shoelaces. He is shorter than both Bill and Susan, even with his new hi-tops. Next to Ernie is Jane. Jane’s untamed blonde hair sways in the wind, adding an extra three inches to her height. Now Jane is taller than Ernie, but still shorter than Bill and Susan. Jamal walks up and asks if anyone would like to play Frisbee. Jamal is one inch taller than Bill. Susan and Jane accept his invitation and walk to the grassy area by the entrance to the cafeteria. Ernie glances at his other friends jumping around by the jungle gym. He leaves Bill alone, running to play Power Rangers with the other boys. Throughout the rest of their lives, these five children maintain their exact differences in height. Years later and well into their respective careers, Bill has become a fighter pilot for the US Navy. He experiences an engine malfunction while lining up to land on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. The arrow on his altimeter frantically spins counter-clockwise as he hears the engine cut out completely, panicking at the howl of the wind flowing over his canopy. He is forced to eject, violently compressing his spine as he is shot from his aircraft like a rocket headed towards the moon. He suffers no serious injuries, but permanently loses two and a half inches of height and, subsequently, his naval career.
Is Bill still taller than Jane?
This was a creative twist on a math word problem that I just found in one of my old creative writing notebooks from college. My professors always wanted my stories to be wrapped up with a pretty bow. I didn’t.
Art & Copy
ESTIMATED READING TIME: 3 MINUTES
“It was this ‘How big do you want the logo, sir?’ All the [bad agencies] cared about was milking money out of clients and giving them what they want — that kind of formula makes for so much of the bad work in our industry,” said Lee Clow, Chief Creative Officer for TBWA/Chiat/Day. “It almost seemed deceitful to allow clients to dictate mediocre work and then pay us for it when we aspire to do something better.”
Art & Copy has been in my Netflix queue for quite a while now, and I finally got a chance to watch it the other night. It offers one hell of an insight into the advertising world and the duality of an ad-man to not only create a campaign that some clients might consider to be insane, but also to sell the client on its impending (and unknown) success.
Some endlessly fascinating stories are told, like George Lois’s contribution to Tommy Hilfiger’s overnight success and advertising giant Weiden + Kennedy’s tale of Nike’s Just Do It campaign, which was inspired by the dying quote of a death row inmate as he stood in front of a firing squad. And let me just say that holy shit, Weiden + Kennedy’s workspace alone is a good reason to watch this documentary. I guarantee you’ll wish you worked there.
I really like how all the interviews relate back to the importance of creating and standing behind good, organic work.
“It’s like Babe Ruth trying to hit a home run,” said David Kennedy of Weiden + Kennedy. “If you miss, you miss. But at least you swung the bat as hard as you could.”
And this is something that I agree with completely. I would have rather spent the day creating something that I believe in, even if the client feels otherwise.
Watch Art & Copy and continue creating things that YOU can stand behind. Why settle for mediocrity when you can create something unforgettable?
Glad I came across this AIGA link about project managers. I have some things to improve upon. (click above)
A Look at Murder in 1910s New York
ESTIMATED READING TIME: 2 MINUTES
I really like coming across old textbooks from college. This one, Evidence by Luc Sante, shows unedited photographs from NYPD crime scenes with descriptions. Evidence was one of the required texts my class analyzed in my Writing, Research and Technology class at Rowan junior year.
I like when any form of media doesn’t hold back, especially photography. While some may look away, I encourage you to look closer. None of us know how we’ll die. It’s a safe bet that none of us think we’ll be brutally murdered. But this book gives us a glimpse into that final outcome, whether or not these people saw it coming.
I really recommend checking out this book if you’re an aspiring photographer. Some of the angles these crime scene investigators chose to shoot have such an artistic flare to them that you can’t help but consider these images art.
Another case in which the victim may have been assaulted before being removed to the uncomfortable-looking davenport on which he died He looks young and undernourished, his waist half the size of that of his trousers. He is unshaven, which suggests either joblessness or an elapsed day between collapse and photography (beards, like fingernails, continue to grow after death). The blood would appear to be coming from his back.
“Photo of dead body of Marion who was murdered in shanty at Old Stone Rd & Bullshead Golden 1915.” The newspapers next to her body supply the date of her demise: during the World Series, when the Red Sox beat the Phillies. Although she was a Times reader, that paper did not carry the story of her murder.
Just Do It. A cool clip from Art & Copy (which I’ll be blogging about tomorrow) that explains how international advertising agency Weiden + Kennedy came up with Nike’s ever-successful slogan.
Full Service Agencies vs. In-House Designers
ESTIMATED READING TIME: 4 MINUTES
Let me be honest — I didn’t have a clue how to define branding when I went in for the interview with my work. It was a word that I associated with livestock, not visual identity. But with some time and lots of experience in the field, I’ve gained a clear vision of what it means and why it’s important.
When people ask me what my company does, I often have to explain what branding really means. The easiest way to spell it out is that a brand is the visual identity across which all communication is, well, communicated. When you think of Coca Cola, you think red. You think polar bears. You think that old script they use as a font.
But why does it matter?
I’ve noticed a recent trend of small to mid-sized companies ditching agencies and replacing them with a single in-house designer. It makes financial sense, sure, but the advantages of a full-service agency trump single employees in ways the clients don’t understand until it’s too late.
To quote a Twitter response I received from Jim Walls, Executive Creative Director at Philadelphia branding agency 160 over 90, “Agency: diverse outside perspective/cost. In-house: dedicated resource/limited perspective.” Companies seem to share the sentiment that an in-house designer is capable of the same work and diversity that an agency produces. However, I’ve noticed that monthly retainers with clients are often a bargain, considering an agency can have several designers working simultaneously on a larger workload, thus completing more work at a higher quality and faster rate.
I understand why many companies are reducing cost. It’s rough going out there. And not to put down individual graphic designers, but they can’t compete with the productivity and experience possessed by an agency. These designers are also likely to get burned out and overworked as their employer turns to their knowledge and expertise for every issue.
To outsiders, the importance of visual identity may seem low. Many not in the know just don’t see it as a viable thing worth investing in. But I’d like to see the financial numbers of companies after they ditch their brand image and brand consistency.
Hell, I think to something as simple as buying a bottle of whiskey — I’m going to spend more for a higher quality product because not only is it a better product, but I really appreciate the craftsmanship put into the design of the bottle and the extra add-ons that come with it. I’m investing in a better experience.
Bottom line: agencies provide a stable of skilled workers. The price is a bit more than an in-house designer, but can you really put a price on identity?