As snapped in the wild:
I’m a sucker for 1950s color advertising photography, with its over-saturated colors and idyllic subjects and scenery. The packaging for the baia Instamount Photo Cube was no let down in this respect. Looking like scenes from bygone family-oriented TV shows the sides of this box, which held a once ubiquitous acrylic photo cube, wreak of family values and WASPy middle American life. The eye-catcher for me, though, was the simple 3-color baia logo set in a bold, slightly extended version of Clarendon. It feels rather modern for such a classic and commonly used typeface perhaps due to the even/odd interplay of the flipped words’ alternating characters. I owned a baia 8mm film editor some time ago and never paid much mind to the faded, black logo on it. I’d surely have kept the thing if the logo had appeared like this.
I like Radiohead. I’ve always liked them. From the earnest songwriting of their youth to the rejection and gradual acceptance of their own fame to their continued exploration of what “music” is. I also appreciate the attention they have always paid to the visual component of their works having hired numerous designers, animators, illustrators, filmmakers and artists to create their albums’ packaging, videos, posters, websites, t-shirts and more. And that is precisely why I was a bit perplexed to see the masthead on the website for their new album, The King Of Limbs.
From the waaaaay-back machine comes this post from July of 2009 on The Selvedge Yard blog featuring some vintage looks at the various incarnations of one of the most recognizable logos in the history of brand I.D.: the Playboy “bunny.”
The images immediately brought back a vivid memory from my childhood: my mom and dad sitting up in bed one lazy Sunday morning each having a leisurely read–mom with a check-out aisle, crafting mag and dad with a Playboy. No, I did not grow up in a hippie commune or a swinger household devoid of morals. But, my parents–both naturalized citizens–were probably feeling out the recent relaxing of tightly wound, nuclear family values of the previous few decades and, well, Playboy magazine must have seemed like a rather innocuous part of the discovery process.
This was circa 1971-or-2 and a man was definitely still a MAN. But things were changing rapidly and, as women were becoming increasingly independent, self-reliant and gaining control over their reproductive destinies, the sexual ideal of a woman was apparently also in need of an upgrade.
File this under “I don’t know who you are anymore.” From Duffy & Partners, the folks that brought you the Gattica-esque, futuristic redesign of, um, Fresca, comes the likewise 3D modernity of yet another “huh?” brand. Jack-in-the-Box franchises have existed under the now-retro-looking brand for some time now and, well, doesn’t everything need to be redesigned every so often in order for it to remain relevant? Take the departed Paul Rand-designed UPS logo that was ultimately replaced by the 3D shield design or the latest Pepsi logo that looks more like an outtake from a previous redesign than a finished piece, IMHO. Personally, I feel nostalgic for older brands and that probably makes me less objective as a designer or re-designer. The new Jack look seems to be hesitant to decide which century it wants to be a part of. On the one hand, the script type feels like a bit of a throw-back, but then the “in the box,” which has now been reduced to tag-line status, could easily say “x-box.” I think Duffy has done some good work, but this is not among its best. Just look at their Knob Creek suite of labels and try to compare the quality, relevance and messaging of those to this one.