sign printing

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Print Ad Gallery

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Print Ad Gallery

Adventures in brand diplomacy. Through cold, through ice, through recession, the tradition of epic Olympic games print advertising prevails! The Olympics is always a hugely busy time for printers, as print advertisers – often with very different agendas – compete for attention on the world stage. First, there's the official Olympic committee stuff – the mascots, the slogans – but most of all the carefully designed winter Olympic poster, from which springs all other print collateral and represents the very soul of a nation. This winter in Vancouver, the green and blue maple leaf, shot through with scenes depicting the Canadian wilderness, has fans and critics. For some, the symbolism is too obscure, while others criticize it as being overworked. It seems that at the Olympics, as in advertising, you can't please all the people all the time, and if you try, the result may be that nobody is satisfied. Next in line for print ad attention are local advertisers. […]

Will the Hollywood Sign Become Ad Space?

Will the Hollywood Sign Become Ad Space?

Just when you thought it couldn't get more po-mo. One of the most famous pieces of typography on the planet earth is the Hollywood sign. The giant block letters in the hills above Hollywood are iconic, but apparently, that doesn't make them indispensible. Turns out the owners of some of the land around the sign, Fox River Financial Resources, have been trying to sell the land for two years. Luckily, the whopping $22 million price tag has kept the property on the market, and out of the speculative gazes of developers. Now, Trust for Public Lands, a conservation group in California, has struck a deal with Fox River to buy the land for $12 million, turning it into a nature preserve safe from condo builders. Apparently this whole recession? Bad for developers, good for non-profits (at least when it comes to buying at sympathetic rates). Still, $12 million is no small potatoes. In an effort to raise money for the […]

Ridiculously Aggressive Tax Day Tea Bag Protest Signs

Ridiculously Aggressive Tax Day Tea Bag Protest Signs

Usually we're big supporters of signage… …but some of this stuff makes me wonder what people are thinking. This week, amid Tax Day fervor, protests against tax hikes and the stimulus plan, inspired by The Boston Tea Party, have been sweeping the nation. Literally HUNDREDS of people have been congregating in various states, waving signs and engaging in collective bursts of teabagging. Which sounds hilarious, I know, but mostly seems to involve flinging bags of Lipton into giant vats of water. And in truth, the tone of the protests has been distinctly un-funny. Many of the signs and posters on display today have a grim, and often, aggressive tone. I'm not going to put any pictures up here, or list any of the slogans, but check this page on the Huffington post for a detailed gallery if you want to see for yourself. Interestingly, these protests seem to feature mostly handmade and desktop printed signs, with very little professional full […]

Printing Signs of the End Times

Printing Signs of the End Times

Goodbye Circuit City This week, Circuit City, a major U.S. retailer of consumer electronics, officially closed their doors after a long, painful death. And it occurred to me that one of the saddest forms of printing is going-out-of-business printing. It seems unfortunate that the last thing a company has to do before their throw in the towel, is print a bunch of signage advertising the fact that they're going out of business, in an effort to sell off their remaining stock. To do so, they have to hastily construct a series of signs that are both colorful and cheerful about the prospect of closure. It's a business' final print campaign. And while I'm not saying that Circuit City brought us the finest print collateral human ingenuity has to offer, the images taken from it's last days, varying for chaotic to ghostly, do have a certain poignancy:  

Milk, and the Narrative Power of Print

Milk, and the Narrative Power of Print

Every sign tells a story. Every year, around Oscar time, I try to see the big movies of the year. Some I see before the Oscars, some I see after. So although all the buzz is so last weekend, I just had a chance to see Milk, and besides being blown away by the film itself, I was very impressed by the use of political printing as a narrative device in the story. Milk chronicles the rise of the gay rights movement in San Franciso in the 70s. The story centers around Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, and his years of campaigning. He runs his campaigns out of a photo printing shop that he owns, which gives him the opportunity to do a lot of election campaign printing, and what starts out as a few controversial signs displayed around a soapbox on a street corner, grows into a massive, and […]

Union Printing Takes to the Streets in Paris

Union Printing Takes to the Streets in Paris

They've even got balloons! You've got to hand it to those Parisian unions. They know how to throw a protest. Yesterday, eight of France's largest trade unions organized a massive event of work stoppage and picketing in the streets in protest of the French government's handling of the economic crisis. As images of the protest pour in, it's clear that the union printing of signs and banners was full force. Looks like people all over the world don't approve of the idea of banks getting billions in bailout money from the government. Quelle suprise, as the French say. One French union rep called it the largest demonstration France had seen in twenty years, with an estimated 2.5 million people demonstrating throughout the country. I don't need to tell you, that is a LOT of union printing. As in French union protests that we've seen in the past, images show a conspicuous contrast between the slick, organized printing of protest signage […]

Print Design Posts of the Week 2

Print Design Posts of the Week 2

Cool stuff. This week, we're sharing awesome links to poster printing, design tutorials, socially-conscious advertising, and some things that just look crazy. Enjoy! Osocio Ad Blog tracks socially aware and non-profit advertising campaigns going on around the world. Print, video, and arguments about advertising with seriously opinionated people. Who could ask for more? The Simpsons Poster Design Contest. They've been around for 20 years, and to celebrate, they're asking folks to design a poster for their Fall 2009 marketing campaign. The winner also gets a sweet trip to L.A. Not clear if they will be choosing something dumb or actually well-designed. Get those entries in, experts! Thank God You're A Man. Poster printing for bar bathrooms advertising Goldstar Beer. I'm assuming they didn't run a similar campaign in women's washrooms… R.I.P. Pierre Mendell. A brilliant artist and graphic designer, despite being paralyzed, he didn't go before designing his own obituary art. New Grammy print ads. Very cool series of posters […]

Creating Universal Sign Systems

Creating Universal Sign Systems

…and how it could improve the effectiveness of print design. I read an old interview with sign and symbol expert Mies Hora where he was describing the ideal sign system. And I'm not talking about astrology or any other esoteric art here. Sign systems, for our purposes, are things like road signs, the signs that direct us around public areas, and signs that provide warnings. Hora says that the ideal sign system includes no words, and can be standardized universally. For example, if we wanted to create a set of symbols that could be used to direct people around every airport in the world, it would have to use no words, so that it superseded language barriers, AND include images universally relatable enough so that anyone can understand them. Creating sign systems is kind of like the science of creating effective communication. I wonder, how difficult would it be to communicate using only images, and no copy or words of […]

Election Campaign Printing In The Famous Batman / Penguin Contest!

Election Campaign Printing In The Famous Batman / Penguin Contest!

Bulging ballot boxes, Batman! Whenever there's an election in TV or Movie land, it's always visually represented by tons of campaign printing. This is a really great thing for print designers and campaigners, because it shows us how to properly run a serious, and winning campaign. Take for example, the time Batman ran against Penguin for Mayor of Gotham City… Penguin seemed to have it all – at first. He was spending a lot of money, and running a high-profile, vaudevillian campaign. He was handing giant, oversized buttons out left and right. And he was printing giant posters, banners, and billboards. He even bought a CRAZY “Campaign Literature-o-matic” which pumped out squawk automatically. Penguin had a slick campaign going all right, but his tactics were a little too over the top. For one thing, he printed so many different posters that he had no brand consistency. For another thing, obviously, he was evil, and people saw through the 'new' Penguin. […]

Print Design Parallels With Airport Signage

Print Design Parallels With Airport Signage

It's all about leading the way! When you're traveling, it's always stressful to worry about how you're going to navigate a new and unfamiliar environment. How will you make your connection at the airport or train station? How will you get to your hotel? And once you're settled in, how will you get around from place to place? Success and failure in these departments generally has to do with the quality of signage we encounter on our travels. And part of the responsibility of printers and print designers is to develop signs and other printed materials that clearly present information to the confused, disoriented, and otherwise adrift. But how do you go about assembling a collection of print materials that will be displayed throughout a large area? You need to know the lay of the land, pay attention to the small differences required by each piece, and imagine how to best connect each piece visually, one to the next. If […]

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