Monthly Archives: January 2013
Nextness Visual Diary | Toilet paper, “you have had a personal encounter with me,” handwriting, rugs, landfill and more
Visual Diary’s where we showcase what’s caught our eye recently. Do you work for an STW Group company and want to curate your own Visual Diary? Email us!
Artist Alexander Calder’s toilet paper holder, from an article on Calder in Portfolio Magazine, 1950 via Wary Meyers.
Famously shy comedian Steven Martin’s business card; also see the old cards of Steve Jobs and “William H. Gates” among others at Flavorwire. (A slideshow, sorry.)
Old French handwriting cards via the beautiful blog of design and papercraft, Present & Correct.
Dutch designers Waarmakers have created sustainable rubbish sacks for discarding unwanted items in good condition, in the hope that they’ll be picked up by a new owner instead of ending up at a landfill site.
This film for Leica tells the story of the iconic camera -- from the camera’s point of view. It’s shot with the Leica M-Monochrom camera, a digital camera that only shoots in black and white. Via Adverblog.
Detective novelist Dorothy L. Sayers worked at S.H. Benson’s (later Ogilvy & Mather) from 1922 to 1931. She is credited with coining the slogan “It pays to advertise!” and also worked on the iconic Guinness ‘Zoo’ ads. But while she spent her days selling, she spent her nights plotting.
Murder Must Advertise is a detective novel Sayers published in 1933. The book, in which five people die before the mystery can be unravelled, features her famous detective Lord Peter Wimsey: an English aristocrat with the background of a Bertie Wooster and the smarts of a Jeeves. To solve the case, Wimsey goes undercover as a new copywriter at “Pym’s Publicity” (based on Sayers’ real-life agency) for a salary of £4 a week.
After seven days, Sayers wrote in one breathless long paragraph, Wimsey had learned a great many things about advertising…
He learned the average number of words that could be crammed into four inches of copy… that the word “pure” was dangerous, because if lightly used, it laid the client open to prosecution by the government inspectors, whereas the words ‘highest quality’, ‘finest ingredients’, ‘packed under the best conditions,’ had no legal meaning and were therefore safe; that the expression ‘giving work to umpteen thousand British employees in our model works at so-and-so’ was not by any means the same thing as ‘British made throughout’… that The Morning Star would not accept any advertisements containing the word ‘cure,’ but there were no objections to such expressions as ‘relieve’ or ‘ameliorate,’ and that, further, any commodity that professed to ‘cure’ anything might find itself compelled to register as a patent medicine and use an expensive stamp; that the most convincing copy was always written with the tongue in the cheek, a genuine conviction of the commodity’s worth producing – for some reason – poverty and flatness of style; that if, by the most farfetched stretch of ingenuity, an indecent meaning could be read into a headline, that was the meaning the great British Public would infallibly read into it; that the great aim and object of the studio artist was to crowd the copy out of the advertisement and that, conversely, the copy-writer was a designing villain whose ambition was to cram the space with verbiage and leave no room for the sketch; that the layout man, a meek ass between two burdens, spent a miserable life trying to reconcile these opposing parties; and further, that all departments alike united in hatred of the client, who persisted in spoiling good layouts by cluttering them up with coupons, free gifts offers, lists of local agents and realistic portraits of hideous and uninteresting cartons to the detriment of his own interests and the annoyance of everybody concerned.
Happy birthday Murder Must Advertise, 80 years old this year. How some things change and others stay the same!
In 2013, this is what we have instead:
- “Here’s the Real Reason Why…”
- “Good Morning, X Happened to Y”
- “The Cycle Of Love You’ll Go Through With Your Phone.”
- “I Can’t Stop Staring At….”
They’re cliched web headlines, and they’re everywhere.
… a strange cross between imperative and inviting. The tone is soothing, seductive and at least a little bit demanding… What’s oddest about this form of headline is that it’s disassociated from conveying news. Instead it conveys interaction. Headlines once were stuffed full of proper nouns. But it turns out, old-fashioned headlines don’t convey things that aren’t news well.
And if they’re not news, why are you reading them?
Sicha concludes sadly, “These constructions acknowledge a truth: our actions are increasingly passive online, and we really are just looking for something to watch, click, share and receive.”
If you spot a headline like that, save yourself time and skip it.
But what about when you’re scrolling through Twitter, or FB? The feeds of your friends, people you follow and trust?
How do you know if your friend’s (or favourite curator’s) link is just a time-sink?
Well, it will probably announce itself with a lead-in like this:
- Made me smile: [link to a thumbdrive in the shape of a clothespeg].
- Just so you know: [link to an infographic showing how to escape from a disused well if all you have on you is a lifejacket, false teeth and gas cylinder].
- Just spat coffee on my keyboard: [gif of a newsreader falling off a platform during a live cross; paralysis, hospitalisation and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of surgery and physio not shown].
- You’re welcome: [Ryan Gosling with no shirt on].
- My ovaries just exploded: [animal of X species snuggling animal of Y species].
- And the laziest presentation of a link, ever? “This.” When people just write “This.” Nothing else. Just “This.” This: [Ryan Gosling with no shirt on snuggling an animal of X or Y species].
The fact is, unless someone takes the time to explain either:
- Why the link is important to them, or
- Why it should be important to you
…it’s probably just ephemera.
There’s nothing wrong with ephemera.
So long as you’re consuming it consciously – and you’ve got the time to spare.
Some images and film that have inspired us or made us think.
“Showcasing modern minimalism at its best, this iconic jar of Marmite has been debranded as part of the Selfridges No Noise initiative, celebrating the power of quiet in a world bombarded with information and stimulation.” Still not sure why anyone would buy Marmite, debranded or not.
Abstract-expressionist painter Agnes Martin is featured on The Reconstructionists, a collaboration between illustrator Lisa Congdon and writer Maria Popova. It’s a “yearlong celebration of remarkable women.”
Artist Paul Emsley created the first official portrait of Kate Middleton. For a scientific explanation of the world’s horrified reaction, please check out the the Wikipedia of uncanny valley: “when human replicas look and act almost, but not perfectly, like actual human beings, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers.”
What would Van Gogh look like if his famous self-portrait was a photograph rather than a painting? Lithuanian architect and photographer Tadao Cern digitally recreated it as a modern portrait. Via The Atlantic.
Modern dancers are human sushi in a series of not unwelcome spots for the Norwegian Seafood Council. As AdWeek says, “Weird conceptual ads are a welcome breather from the endless wacky-office-culture crap we get in the States.”
By the way, have you guys all see Jiro Dreams of Sushi yet? Nextness approved.