Back in 1999 when I was taking Interactive Multimedia at Algonquin College we had various design guidelines to follow when designing a website. One of which was that the total size of all of all the graphics on any single page should not exceed…250kb.
To carry our work most in the class had a portable Zip drive (see below) that stored 100mb of files.
Sometimes it just boggles my mind how technology has changed and broken down so many barriers.
For instance, consider this website: It is built and configured using available templates at Format.com. It costs me $19.99 per month. Ten years ago this simply would not have been available to me. To have this site created would have easily approached $10,000. And that would not have included the 24/7 support!
Eliminating barriers is empowerment. It enables most anyone to communicate and reach an audience. And while some in the design and programming fields may bemoan how technology has muted the need for their skills, I see another side of that. The more people that are need things to market, sell, promote, the better.
A big feature of growing up in Toronto were trips down to the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition. Going there meant fun; you were either going to Ontario Place or the “Ex’, going to see the Blue Jays and Argonauts at Exhibition Stadium, or maybe the Royal Winter Fair and the many other shows held on the grounds. Travelling there meant taking the subway to Bathurst station then hoping on the streetcar that went down Bathurst Street to the lakeshore. Taking this route, as I did many, many times meant you would pass one of the great signs in Toronto: the rotating Penaten Cream sign. The sign, which was essentially the circular lid of the can of the cream (see below) hung over the door way of a corner pharmacy at Bathurst and Dundas streets.
Sadly it is now gone.
But I can’t help but wonder if seeing the ‘Penaten’ word mark so many times somehow imprinted on me a love for a classic sans-serif font.
Perhaps my favourite brand in the world is the one with the three stripes: Adidas.
As a graphic designer what I appreciate most about the brand is how flexible it is. The rule book says brands have to be carefully managed and that a consistent reinforcement of it’s graphic elements and standards must be adhered to in order to properly communicate and promote its qualities. And that’s true…to a certain degree.
But when you consider Adidas, is there consistency? Is there a standard?
The achievement of the Adidas brand is how it has created it’s own distinct niches. We got Dads wearing $50 sneakers from Costco and urban hipsters wearing $400 Stars Wars jackets. That’s quite an achievement when you think about it. I imagine Levi’s jeans would love to appeal to as broad a demographic as that.