While I'll gladly admit that I haven't tuned into PBS for. . . more years than I'd like to count, I'm also not against admitting that some of their programming is undeniably fascinating. The above relatively short documentary I discovered a few months ago briefly introduces the layman to the history of the logo, starting with man's (. . .or woman's, I don't want to be a sexist hater) earliest cave wall illustrations to samples and techniques of modern design. Did you know that any given logo often has dozens, if not more, or alternative and unused versions? Watch the video. Learn something, and make me proud.
Earlier this week, Google acquired Germany-based Nik Software in a move that puts it in direct competition with Facebook and its recently purchased and wildly popular Instagram. Nik Software is mostly known for a little award-winning photo-editing app named Snapseed, purchasable for $4.99 from Apple’s app store ("iPad App of The Year” in 2011). Now, call me an Internet novice, but I haven’t heard of them or their app. Perhaps it is because I defy the laws whispered amongst the graphic designers of the world, but I don’t use an iPhone or iPad. Calm down, calm down. (I have an iPod Touch and a Nano for running, so chillax kiddos.) After watching the video seen here, I’m deeply intrigued as a photographer to see how well this software really works when it eventually lands in the Android app market. (Seriously, calm down.)
While I'm not entirely huge on smart phone photography, I'll admit I'm in a minority. Camera tech on phones has evolved at a flabbergasting level and Snapseed is only helping to further push the envelope. No doubt it'll find itself among good company at the entrepreneurial Google.
Google’s Vice President of Engineering, Vic Gundotra, writes in a blog post that Google wants “to help our users create photos they absolutely love, and in our experience Nik does this better than anyone.” He continues, “This week we also hit an important milestone--over 400,000,000 people have upgraded to Google+. It was only a year ago that we opened public sign-up, and we couldn’t have imagined that so many people would join in just 12 months. While Google+ is all about creating a better experience across Google, it’s also a destination. And here too, I’m happy to report that we have just crossed 100,000,000 monthly active users on Google+”
Hello, and welcome to the first installment (of what I hope to be many) in the series I have defined "Graphic Information." Through each blog entry, I will highlight an infographic I've stumbled across during my intrepid online journey and analyze both the content and aesthetic quality of the presentation. As we can all attest to, we're all highly active people with vastly intellectual busy lifestyles that make perusing and absorbing information challenging if it dares to be verbose. . . Did I lose you already? Oh, there you are!
What makes a successful infographic? The perfect storm includes: an intriguing topic, attractive visuals and a simple delivery of the subject matter. After all, the main purpose of all infographics is to deliver boring research/study data in an otherwise eye-catching way. Who doesn't like having their retinas clutched by science?! Okay, that sounds messy and awkward. But the key take away is, you have to want to learn about this data, and an infographic's job is to suck you in like a Hoover vacuum does a dust bunny.
Today's infographic (presented by The Logo Company, full version seen below) is one that I came across way back in the good ole' month of July 2012. As an avid lover of many things defined as dorky, the topic of "Nintendo vs Sega: Video Game Logo Evolution" not only intrigued me as a fan of chubby plumbers in red overalls with mad ups and sassy blue hedgehogs addicted to speed, but also as a person that enjoys researching logos and their origins. The infographic's purpose is to not only display the companies' logo transitions, but also show their corporate evolutions and accomplishments. This is all done fairly well, with a few minor exceptions.
In what I would describe as an epic fail, it just recently came to my attention that PepsiCo-owned Quaker Oats went through a bit of a rebrand (as seen to the right, thanks to Huffington Post). It saddens me that I apparently required several weeks to even hear about this story, but I’m on top of it now so everyone can breathe a collective sigh of relief. Everyone all sighed out and refreshed? Great. As some people more astute than myself might know, PepsiCo is no stranger to bravely attempting to spruce up its many recognizable brands. All of these attempts, however, didn’t conclude with the reward of an oft-desired gold star sticker. (And no, there weren’t any scratch-and-sniff stickers either—do they still make those? And who can find me some?) If you want to take a stroll down memory lane, take a look at the relatively recent nightmarish Tropicana rebrand and the company’s awkward loss of sales.
Did you know people in-the-know call the Quaker Oats dude “Larry?” Yeah, I didn’t realize he was part of the stooge gang either, but I guess I’m less of an intellectual than most. Due to his Amish appearance, I expected him to be named Solomon, Jedediah or perhaps Butch. For those of you at home keeping track, the lesson learned here is that life is full of surprises. But alas, Larry was feeling a bit frumpy in his old age and decided it was time for some change we could believe in. Plus, why would someone have a double chin after years of pimping all of that oatmeal? Clearly something was amiss there. So, after several weeks at the gym, our boy Larry shed a few pounds and bestowed his skin with a healthy, youthful gleam reminiscent of a man in his early forties wearing a highly stylish, slightly shorter white wig (when compared to his previous incarnations). Holy founding fathers, Batman!
It was a dark and dismal computer screen on January 5th, 1995. People woke up, had their morning coffee, went to work and lived life in a happy, ignorant bliss of what was to come. Then, without warning, the pixelated display of a Windows 95 logo soaring over a blue-sky themed background burst into life. Excitement was abounding to a public wondering what innovations Microsoft would be introducing. Little did they know that the Pandora’s box in the guise of a Windows-based operating system would eventually be the death of all that is aesthetically pleasing in the world. For that day, my friends, Microsoft Bob was unveiled. Oh, what’s that? I’m sorry, you probably don’t recall Microsoft Bob, but that’s okay (there will be a pop quiz tomorrow). All you need to know is that it was with this application that the Font-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named was born. Curse you, Comic Sans. Oh, I’ve already said too much...
...But why stop now? My fate is already entwined in a timeless battle against a staunch, enduring and ugly foe. And while I’ve bravely armed myself to combat this treacherous foe, my defenses are not without limits. Bad typographic choices occasionally have a way of sneaking by with very ill-fated results. For example, July 8th, 2010 was a deeply unsettling day in for sports fans. There are those among us that may recall this as the day that LeBron James announced he would join the Miami Heat, and as such would be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers. But the true anguish the sports world felt was not from LeBron’s decision, but instead because of the unfortunate letter written by the Cav’s majority owner, Dan Gilbert—in Comic Sans.