Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Starbucks red cup designs - has everyone settled down yet?

Has everyone settle down over the faux outrage over the red cup yet? Why yes, I am feeling snarky about the entire non issue. Talk about much ado. It became embarassing listening to the prattling. Even after being told it wasn't a Christmas cup, some still insisted there was some great conspiracy afoot. Cue eye rolling. What they missed was the artwork on the green cup. The more I looked at it, the more I enjoyed it. Too bad it was only in the US ... not that I would have saved a paper cup. But you get my point.

So the new cups rolled out last week, right on schedule. And some of the designs are ... well ... delightful. This year Starbucks tapped people from around the world and used their work. An unofficial poll in my neigbourhood tips the Christmas Sweater design as the best. Designed by Alisa in St. Petersburg, Russia, the sweater cup invokes a sense of cosiness and comfort: starbucks red cup 10 snowflake sweater

I'm  leaning to the cup designed by a hometown woman, Anna from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  The art has that same feel of being enveloped by the design, as the sweater cup.  It's busy and I see different things each time I look. Anna is originally from the Soviet Union. Her abbreviated bio doesn't really offer a lot of details except to say she trained in traditional Ukrainian folk art called petrykivka. Instead of dissecting the cup, just enjoy it. And if you're Anna, drop me a note. I'd love to see more of your art. starbucks red cup 07 love joy

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Starbucks tempest in a coffee cup – the green cup design

I sauntered over to the Starbucks website to check out the latest overblown conspiracy regarding their mission to destroy Christmas, one disposable cup at a time.  Their new green cup – which has nothing to do with Christmas by the way, so save your breath – has an interesting appeal, if you are willing to ignore the hysteria. People obsessed with the mythical plot are missing the amazing art on the humble little cup. Artist Shogo Ota’s design is intriguing and hard to pull off without making a hell of a mess.

Starbucks Green Cup Artist Shogo Ota image courtesy StarbucksStarbucks Green Cup - image courtesy Starbucks

The cup showcases a celebration of humanity titled "Stronger Together". In their press release, Starbucks explains their purpose in commissioning the artwork "During a divisive time in our country, Starbucks wanted to create a symbol of unity as a reminder of our shared values, and the need to be good to each other”.  The line art interconnects 180 unique faces, “Just drawing everybody together in one line, … People together. That sounds pretty peaceful to me"1. I’ve tried to do something like this and let me tell you, it’s a lot harder than it looks. Check out the artist's work on his website2, especially the Starbucks artwork. Don't forget to take a look at the flattened out view of the cup on Ota's website3 and enjoy the individuality of each person. I have to confess, I searched around for a single loose thread in the image but couldn't find one.

So why a green cup? Simple: the line drawing wouldn’t stand out on a standard white cup. The green marks it out as different, with the white circle immediately drawing your attention to the artwork.  It’s quite stunning and surprisingly complex. I tend to gravitate towards this style of art so I'd be happy to get this with a cup of coffee, which, alas, is available only in the US.

FYI: Nowhere in Starbucks' press release is the cup called their Christmas cup.  In the past Starbucks’ Christmas cup arrives around the 10th of Nov. 

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1. Starbucks press release

2. Check out Shogo Ota's website here

3. To see the cup artwork start here

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A little blast from the past complete with a natty little mustache

Image of an ad from Aerial Age Weekely Magazine 1918 advertising goggles

Interesting isn’t it?  Although the basics of ads hasn’t really changed much over the decades, font styles and fashions do. Not the best laid out ad I’ve ever see. It looks a bit slapdash in the layout department. But that mustache! All you need to see is that little, stylish Poirotesque ‘stache and you feel compelled to look. The ad does scream early 20th century but in 1918, when it ran, the pilot would have been quite fashionable. Flying was still a gentleman’s obsession – it took money and time to pursue and this ad is definitely targeting gentleman pilot market.

What’s equally interesting is the font. Not sure what it is, but it pops up in Aerial Ace Weekly a fair bit during WW1. It seems to be their font de jour and it's a mess of inconsistencies.  Just the title alone seems to use 3 seperate fonts.  It’s a bit of an odd pairing in my opinion. The font is fun and erratic, the pilot is dashing and whimsical, but the product is pretty much life and death. Whimsy, cheer and a bullet to the eye – bit of a mixed message here.

As well, the advertiser squeezed far too much info into the space and it came out lopsided. It’s like the layout department lost their rulers and eyeballed everything. But somehow I suspect the reason doesn’t lay with the printers. What makes me think the ad was ready for press and the customer decided to add more details. The last paragraph looks shoe horned in … “just one more paragraph, come on, you can squeeze it in”. Nothing changes.

So, what do you think? Does it work for you? I’d like to hear opinions on this, especially about the main font.

 

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KODAK logo - what's old is new again

Did you know Kodak was still around? I ran across an article the other day that mentioned  their logo redesign and was actually pleased to find they didn’t fold. There was a time when Kodak was synonymous with photography – think of the slogan “Kodak moment”. You didn’t need to say anything more because your audience instantly picked up on the meaning. Last time I heard about Kodak, they were filing for bankruptcy. They sold off over $500 million worth of patents and intellectual property, sold off their film and photographic units and successfully emerged from Chapter 11.

In 2006, they ditched their yellow and red logo for a simplified word only image:

kodak logo 2006

Gone was the instantly identifiable red K on yellow that could be spotted a mile away. There was never any doubt what this represented:

Kodak's logo from the 1970s

You didn't even have to read the word Kodak to know what company it was. I have to admit, I’m not fond of the bland, nondescript ’06 logo. I like the yellow/red version. It has history attached to it, generations of instant recognition. Plus it translates well into a small logo on a web page. Not all logos can do this. The new logo rolls back the design to an earlier era – one that was successful for the company and when Kodak and photography were one and the same. They’ve resurrected their classic 1970s logo that is oddly well suited to 2016.

The new/old logo is a bit different. Can you spot it?

 Kodak's redesigned logo for 2016

The Kodak slides down along the right edge using a thinner font. It feels sleeker, cleaner. What’s interesting is how such a small change altered the entire feel of the logo. The words really stand now. Not sure about you, but my eyes immediately fall onto the word and move towards the stylized K. Nice balancing act. A nice nod to their history with a clean, modern font. This is a keeper.

 

 

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A look at Guinness’ recent logo redesign – a nod to tradition & craftsmanship

I have an excellent redesign for you. The instantly recognisable Guinness logo was refreshed in the spring and the designers have done a fine job. I often look at logo changes and that little intransigent part of my brain instantly rejects the alterations. It usually takes 3 or 4 examinations before I make up my mind and quell the boring part of my thinking. The Guinness logo is different – love at first site. It retains all the best features of the original – tradition, Ireland, culture and pride.  

As expected, the company kept their classic harp design. I suspect if Guinness had a fit of madness and did away with it, there would be a rebellion in Ireland.  

Guinness Logo 2005 Revised Guinness logo 2016

 

Guinness has done a number interesting things: they moved the date onto the harp, where original tradmark was back in 1862 and gave the harp a rich engraved look.  While everyone else has been moving towards minimalized logos, Guinness swam against the tide with this nod to their past.

The second big change that is the font.  Something in the back of the brain says “that’s new” – it is and it isn’t. They are using the same crisp serif font, it simply isn’t elongated any longer.  It’s wider, plumper, adding to that sense of depth. The focus is squarely on the harp. The eye is immediately drawn to it – and why not. It’s the very definition of iconic.  It has that instant brand recognition most companies would sell their souls for.

The logo is far less fussy, doing away with the superfluous lines. The eye moves in a nice fluid line from the harp to the name. Perfect. Clean. Simple... and yet the engraved harp is still complex enough to be intriguing.  As a bonus, that jarring red signature is gone. Guinness opted for a consistent gold colour throughout, adding a sense of continuity to the entire design.  

I like the change. Let’s be brutally honest, the previous logo was bland to the point of lifelessness. It was simplified it to such an extent, it risked becoming clip art. In the same space, Guinness now evokes tradition, craftsmanship and quality.  Rather well done, n’est pas?

 

 

 

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"To make my meal in a box taste better, I decided to tweak the logo, rather than the ingredients."

- Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not for Sale


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I've left some content in their old categories. Instead of having readers hit the dreaded 404 Not Found error, I'd rather leave the pages where they lay. Here are the pages:
- Poster Design 2 - breaking out of a rut
- Something a little different - a poster for the site
- Slide show confusion - another candidate for Ring of Hell
- First Ring of Web Hell - the never ending slide show

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