Make It Snappy

Snapple LogoI love the new shade of blue WordPress is running with on their Dashboard; it makes the overwhelming amount of tools and settings seem less intimidating. I’m not too far from my Bachelor’s of Fine Arts now. I had my final critique of the semester earlier this afternoon and it went swell. My friend, Jenna Garrison had some things to say about my series of billboards for a PC Repair company I was working on that helped me out a great deal. Can’t say I always know what I’m doing exactly.

I’m thoroughly convinced that all of my clients receive a memo with the dates and times I finish class because three or four of them always manage to email me the moment I stand tall and breathe in a couple mouthfuls of freedom. Anyone else been there? These days I don’t mind. God has called me to work like hell, so working like hell I shall. Hopefully the lessons I learn along the way will stick. Like Pam.

I was walking through Shop Rite a couple of weeks ago and came across these beauties in between the Gatorade and Vitamin Water. Orangeade Snapple is my favorite and with some cash to spare I figured I’d snatch up a case. Little did I know I’d get more than just the drink I enjoy; I’d also get a phenomenal new bottle, wrapper, and identity system to gawk at as I down Snapple’s “All Natural” goodness.

First off, wow. It completely slipped my mind that Snapple is indeed a tea company and, with this recent wave of green conscious/organic popularity, is almost obligated to carry the torch of organic design seeing that they have been cashing in even before the post-modern hippies checked their nutrition facts. I’m sorry if that hurt anyones feelings, but I currently go to a college where people are still sitting Indian-style in the grass with headbands, tie-dye v-necks, white-washed denims, and pointy-toe boots. These are the males, by the way.

BottlesAs iffy as I feel about pursuing a career in identity/logo design, my infatuation with typography just may plop me there. And one of the most beautiful changes Snapple has made in their logo is the font. Its clean, sterile approach is so successful and it parallels that of Tazo Tea, which has lately become a tea that people trust via Starbucks & Panera Bread. I never, ever found anything wrong with that Snapple had. However, what makes me really feel like I’m drinking a Snapple tea are the new soft edges and vine-like weight distribution in the “S”, “e”, and especially the “a”. The jagged, pointy type in the old logo was nice while it was there. But minimalism and tea products are a married necessity when it comes to design these days.

I personally wonder where the visual satisfaction comes from. One could be an association between tea and Asian culture. The Song Dynasty was a big deal for China in regards to the transformation and exhaltation of their arts, that of which followed the doctrines of Chan Buddhism: a high-minded belief system that the world is an illusion to which the enlightened can see beyond. My favorite Chinese work, “Persimmons” is a perfect display of the beginnings of minimalism. The bare canvas and numbered brush strokes represent what the enlightened man may see in his fruit. The beauty is in the white space. It objectifies the center of attention so well. I feel like I should be raising my pinky and sipping a spot of tea as I’m writing this. This genuinely excites me and is no attempt at coming off as posh. Hardly a suit I’m capable of wearing. Anyhow, the Japanese stole it and called it Zen Buddhism or just “Zen” and it somehow has now become a rule book that white people follow as they purchase geometric furniture from Ikea for their living room.

Another potential call for change could have just been because tea comes from the ground, the ground is natural, and a representation of nature in design can be found in nakedness: Literally and figuratively. The Snapple text would surely communicate that and the soft gradient & light background shine on the bottle work together very well. Snapple still managed to keep their  henna-like decorations, But they cleaned it up. The “S” on the bottle is another nice slap in the face. Thanks, Snapple, for somehow making your drink taste better without touching the recipe!

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Typeface Crimes

Bank GothicLike most easily entertained men, I went out to see Taken a couple weeks ago to satisfy my unexplainable craving for justified violence. There is nothing I would want to see more than Liam Neeson, pissed off, tearing through the flesh of whoever stands in the way of him rescuing his kidnapped daughter. The movie ended up having a very relevant and engaging backstory that I wasn’t expecting; his daughter was kidnapped and enrolled in a foreign sexual slave-trade. It was pretty disturbing even just getting a polished, Hollywood interpretation of the injustices that men commit against women across the world. Despite the miniscule handful of plot holes, the story-line was pretty solid and delivered exactly what the viewer wanted. It met all of my expectations and all of the expectations set by the trailer. Many movies fail to do this. I left more than satisfied and strongly suggest that the boys watch it.

On the release day, I came to the theater with Peter and we grabbed our seats just in time for  the previews. Because it was an action movie that we came to see, there were pretty much only action trailers preceding the feature presentation. As the trailers rolled, I was surprised by the effortless formula to making a trailer interesting, but as a graphic designer, I was also surprised to see that every action movie sported the same font.

There seems to be this trendy infatuation with the Bank Gothic typeface.”Wait, what? Are these major film companies not in contact with one another about anything?” I thought to myself. I ask myself why any designer on either one of these projects would let this happen. Is there a concern for a unique “corporate identity?” Is it completely different in the world of movies and I just don’t know? In my opinion, it’s pretty noob and it neutralizes all of the potentially awesome spring action flicks. Obviously I don’t lose sleep over this and I know that font overlap happens all the time with Helvetica. I don’t mind Helvetica. I suppose my dilemma is…ew…why Bank Gothic?bgothfont1

Look at it…it’s so narrow and off-beat. You want to say that it has a clean aspect to it when it doesn’t. It has no curvilinear delicacy to be clean or sterile. Yet, it’s a sans serif, so shouldn’t it? It only has one other purpose if it’s not used in a Batman movie to spell “Gotham City”: second-rate action movies. Maybe even a restaurant menu put together in Microsoft Publisher. It seems like no matter what these designers do to the font, it still looks the same to me. For whatever reason I don’t read something fresh or new or different or even interesting. Of course the trailer and everything before the title says it all, but the title should speak. Watchmen? That title speaks. Sin City? 300? even He’s Not That Into You speaks it’s context on its own. They can all work alone on a fan poster. Bank Gothic cannot. It’s just dead to me. I’m gonna sleep now and get a life.

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Filed under Frustration, Ideas