Abuses corrected

January 13th, 2010  |  Tags: , , , ,  |  2 Comments

(This is merely one of those “briefly-noted” remaindered link posts I have from time to time, but given the common leitmotif I couldn’t resist the urge to allude to the Confessio Augustana in the title.)

Logo abuse

Armin Vit discusses the new Peugeot logo, which represents a dramatic step backwards in execution and looks rather like it was created by the “3D Text” feature in Microsoft Office 97. (True story: at one point in my graduate-school career, I worked on a student project with someone who insisted not only on using Word for scholarly writing, but also on making a “3D” title page for our paper. That was a particularly awful semester.) As an interested layman, I can only speculate that AIGA and other professional societies are requiring identity designers to meet an “awkward gradients and misplaced highlights” quota these days. Either that, or branding agencies are delegating work to enthusiastic toddlers with Office licenses.

Naming abuse

Thomas and I were shopping for a TV antenna a few days ago, and we came across this product, which is billed as a “Quantum Antenna.” This made a lot of sense: in my experience, over-the-air TV reception is definitely a problem domain in which observing an apparatus can change its state. I didn’t buy it, though, since it was expensive and our reception is bad enough as it is without introducing any additional uncertainty.

Tautology abuse

D and B recently brought us a battery of amazings gastronomic delights including some truly excellent blackberry ice cream. I ate some of the latter last night and noticed the following truly excellent copy on the carton:


Yes, with a sentence that recalls Jon Gruden’s booth work on Monday Night Football (“THAT GUY is a FOOTBALL PLAYMAKER, making FOOTBALL PLAYS for this FOOTBALL PROGRAM.”), this carton of ice cream assures me that it is “certified organic by organic certifiers.” My initial reaction was “of course! Who else could do so?” But perhaps I’ve construed the second “organic” too narrowly, and the sentence simply means to indicate that organic certification was performed by a carbon-based certifier. In any case, the ice cream is great.

By the way, if you’re keeping track of Myriad creep, be sure to make a note here.

Wal-Mart to Walmart

July 1st, 2008  |  Tags: , , ,  |  2 Comments

Well, if you needed any further evidence for my claim about Myriad, I’m happy to oblige; Wal-Mart’s new branding eschews the hyphenation and is obviously based on a certain ubiquitous typeface:


Armin Vit is, I think, essentially right about the effect of removing the hyphen and all-caps:

[W]ith no reasoning or no explanation of what the new star burst stands for, or why the decision to change to a single word, all we have to go by is the logo that replaces the 16-year-old sans serif that was as thick and heavy as the beige boxes it adorned for so long…. The change to title case helps humanize Walmart with a name that reads more like John, Albert, Sarah or Wilbur….

It will be interesting to see how, or if, this new branding affects public perception of Walmart over time. I don’t have the sense that Walmart is a particularly image-conscious company — all of their current branding seems clumsily transparent and rhetorically amateurish to me. Will a new logo steer Walmart’s brand away from its current association with philistines who don’t mind melamine pet food?

In any case, removing the hyphen from “Wal-Mart” is far less jarring than it was when “Kmart” did the same thing. Honestly, “Kmart” seems like the name of a talking duck from a fake Icelandic children’s book: “Kmart was sad, because he had no more cookies and couldn’t play with his brothers and sisters. Suddenly, a friendly dog arrived!” “Walmart” at least looks like a string of letters that could be pronounced “wôl-märt” and might naturally occur so ordered in American English.

(via DF)

Two type observations

June 24th, 2008  |  Tags: , , ,  |  Leave a comment

One. Is Myriad the Helvetica of the aughts? This may well be confirmation bias, but I see Myriad everywhere in corporate identities and advertising. In a five minute span this weekend in Milwaukee, I saw Myriad parking garages, Myriad Summerfest posters, and
Myriad Verizon Wireless ads — and these just walking around the block! Is Myriad becoming so ubiquitous, like Helvetica in the 1970s, that we might soon not even notice it anymore? Of course, I love Myriad and have long used it for slides and as a headline sans in print work; certainly its widespread application and “safe choice” status is well-deserved. I wonder, though: will it ascend to Helvetica’s iconic status? More generally, given the abundance of digital faces, will any single face will ever be as dominant as Helvetica was in its prime?

Two. Also from Milwaukee, this sign made me laugh. My first thought was: hm, looks like someone failed to use a supported printer font. (My second thought was: crumb, I’m old.) If you also thought the parking sign was funny, you may appreciate “How did he do it?” from Mark Simonson.