Macintosh 128k Paula Scher's infamous Swatch ad from 1984 next to Herbert Matter's classic design.
I turned 30 this past weekend, so naturally I’ve been thinking a lot about the passage of time. Looking back at the world I was born into through the lens of 2014, it really looks like ancient history (which is not exactly making me feel better about getting older). This particular anniversary also has some intriguing crossovers with design and technology that I’ve been pondering recently.
On the day that Apple is announcing its sixth version of the iPhone, it’s interesting to note that Macintosh computers also recently turned 30. Steve Jobs and Co. unveiled the world’s first mass-market personal computer, the Macintosh 128k, in 1984 via a big budget hollywood style TV commercial directed by Ridley Scott, hot off the success of “Blade Runner.” The commercial looked like it could have been a deleted scene from that famous dystopian sci-fi flick as it depicted citizens of George Orwell’s “1984”, a gray-faced society of drones, marching single file towards similarly Orwellian looking monitors to receive a light brainwashing from “Big Brother.” The heroine of the advert, a sexy metaphor for Apple’s Macintosh, rushes in to smash Big Brother’s telescreen with a sledgehammer, proclaiming that the actual year 1984 won’t be like Orwell’s grim prediction after all, thanks to the liberating power of the Mac.

There is no doubt that 30 years later, the introduction of the PC can be seen as a huge turning point in countless arenas, especially the field of graphic design. That iconic TV commercial is also rather interesting food for thought this week though as millions of people around the world are lining up to buy the latest offering from Apple, all in the age of data mining, government espionage, PRISM, targeted advertising, Google, and Facebook.
On a lighter note, here’s some snapshots of what our world looked like 30 years ago. 

Andrew and Luke at TBTL (my absolute favorite podcast: I haven’t missed an episode in four years) were discussing this old Quiznos commercial on Tuesday’s episode. I’d completely forgotten about this bizarro TV ad that somehow made it onto national television in 2004 and put Quiznos on the map. Quoth Luke Burbank:

"The other reason to love Quiznos, beyond the fact that they heat everything up, is that they had these ‘spong monkeys’ ads… if you see the animal that was singing that song in that commercial, it is amazing that this was made… it’s mind blowing that this happened. They look they’re probably, like, some kind of a small rodent but they’ve super imposed googly eyes and what looks like a pork pie hat on one of them… and one has an admiral’s hat on and it’s playing a guitar.  They’re just floating in front of a Quiznos that’s in a strip mall… it’s just great."

I have nothing but respect for the advertising executive who went into that pitch meeting with Quiznos corporate with this commercial on a VHS tape in his briefcase. I like to think that he stood up, cleared his throat, straightened his tie and started with “Okay, I’m going to need everyone to keep an open mind…”

- Dave

I came across these ads for Black Sabbath’s new record and thought it was genius. I can remember flyering the streets for my old band and stapling posters onto light poles that were several inches thick from other posters promoting shows. There would be some attempts to tear back the mess revealing shows from the past, creating a sort of beautiful collage.

I love this idea which basically shows that Black Sabbath has never actually left.

I can’t speak for what the records sounds like, but these ads are nails.


Photo Credit: Creative Review

Smart Ideas for Smarter Cities is a…smart campaign. I appreciate its simplicity, its innovation in billboard advertising, and its clean, pleasing color palette.

Beyond the design, the message is as simple as it gets: What do you want for your city? What does improvement look like to you? How can things be better, smarter, and so on?

Projects like this—thank you, IBM—are taking advertising design into new territory, both physically and civically.


Courtesy Hello You Creatives.

Microsoft, hard as they try, just doesn’t convince me. This ad is clever as hell, and it plays into their branding nicely, creatively. But none of that matters to me because I don’t like their products. They feel cheap, are over-designed, and don’t make my life any easier (quite the opposite, if my memory of screaming at inanimate objects is correct).

So at the end of the day, what does marketing, advertising and branding matter if your products aren’t up to snuff?

Still, a nice ad.


French photographer Laurent Chehere, once known for his award-winning commercial ad work for heavyweights like Audi and Nike, left advertising after a change of heart. Hoping to pursue more personal passions with his work, he travelled the world, documenting it in stops across Asia, South America, and everywhere in between. Along the way, “Flying Houses” was born, a whimsical collection of buildings removed from both their backdrop and grounding. It’s a fantastical effort of isolating the uniqueness of these buildings that may, more often than not, get lost in the shuffle of a brighter skyline or tidier facade.

See more of Chehere’s work here

- Maggie

German advertising agency Jung von Matt has recreated several iconic television characters for a series of minimalist Lego print ads. Can you tell who’s who? 

- Maggie 

[The Simpsons, Donald Duck (and friends), Bert and Ernie, Ninja Turtles, The Smurfs, and South Park] 

The Dubai music scene is barren at best. The Fridge is one of the only live, grassroots music venues filling this cultural-void… The posters created follow the feel of the venue: organic, approachable, down to earth. The ‘musical creatures’ invite people to find music in the most unexpected place - maybe even a remote, industrial warehouse.”

(Dubai’s The Fridge keeps it simple with these intriguingly illustrated black and white ads. Less simple: Ardvark? Elephant? Tenderly mutant Ard-phant?)

- Maggie