Monday, April 18, 2011

Ewwww! Dude, What is On Your Shoe?

Okay, this is the 2nd such rant I’ve put together in the past few days. And once again, it comes to us from the world of sports (please – before we go any further: I am NOT making puns today!! Well, not intentionally, though I am enjoying some of these in the editing phase!). Either (a) the world of sports is far stranger than I suspected from a design perspective, or (b) I have got to occasionally log off my darn computer and actually participate in some ‘movement’ rather than just reading about it all the time.

Anyhose, as seen about the Interweb, it seems that a new (?) company called Gravity Defyer is trying to make its way into the multikajillion dollar sports shoe market. And wouldn’t you know it, in the bravely iconic yet strangely illogical world of logos for said products – including the Nike ‘swoosh’ and the ones those other companies have that I don’t remember right now – they have chosen for their footwear none other than… well, there’s no way to sugar-coat this (again, see note about puns above) – they have chosen, quote, a logo that is none other than a ‘slick seed of life’. That’s right: they have a big SPERM as their logo that also appears in the fontation of their name plate as well!

Well, first of all, I have some issue thinking of any ‘seed of life’ as slick. Call me old-fashioned, but slick is just the kind of thing you associate with hair-care products. Hm, I guess I’m forgetting my ‘Something About Mary’ nostalgia… and no, if you don’t know what I’m talking about here, I will NOT explain it! I also think that multicoloured versions of these little ‘fellas’ is also a bit much, but let’s not bring that up. Oops…

Still, as our extensive research revealed, the CEO of the company insists that this logo is for real, in so far as any logo or better said mission statement stands up to the test of reality without having to rely on heavy prescription drugs. Says Alexander Elnekaveh: "Our logo is deliberate. Our customers feel like they are getting the beginning of a new life when they try our shoes. We are not embarrassed by it."

Ah yes, the beginning of a new life, noting that as with shoes, it does indeed take two to tango! At least without basically ‘dancing’ with yourself (wink wink nudge nudge). Interestingly, though, this is only valid for the sports shoes, as the company’s wide and attractive (?) selection of dress shoes for men and women do NOT feature sperm on them, at least not in the form of a logo. No, instead this abundance of ‘new life’ is based on the shoes’ "Versoshock Trampoline" (and we all know trampolines = bouncy, bouncy fun!!) which looks coincidentally like a bed spring located in the heel of the shoes. But the spring is not just springy! No, it ‘propels you forward, reducing fatigue so you can live a healthier more dynamic life!’ Ah, there’s nothing like a big ol’ seed of life propelling forward to help reduce fatigue. Wait…

Even though the logo has obviously garnished media attention and goofy guffaws from morons such as yours truly, the logo has generated some controversy as well. According to GD, online retailer QVC and catalogue Seventh Avenue refused to carry the shoes because of the logo. Okay. I guess doing what QVC usually does, namely, selling eerily realistic dolls excludes you from carrying shoes covered in sperm symbols. Well, shoot! Rats, did it again…

Epilogue: Gravity Defyer has apparently not yet confirmed whether they will follow in the steps of Nike, Adidas and others in terms of seeking professional athletes to endorse their products. Somehow though, methinks there would be one or two candidates out there that might fit the bill of leaving such a ‘mark’ across the country! Or even Britney Spears. Ewwwww!

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Have You Designed A Demonic Homage Today?

I haven’t posted any ‘art’ (oh ha ha, I crack myself up) in a while, mostly owing to a case of both creative block as well as a nasty sinus infection that has made moving my head around or even using my eyes somewhat painful. So instead, I’ve decided to post a ‘this is the neatest design thingie I saw lately’ type article. Maybe it’ll become a regular occurrence here. Or maybe not.

Seems a couple of days ago, the Arizona State Sun Devils released a new uniform-slash-logo design. Now that wouldn’t usually interest me that much, but the headline in the original YAHOO! article did catch my eye:
Fashion Break: Arizona State helmets drop their demonic homage to Walt Disney

Wow, how many times have we seen design linked to ‘demonic homages’? Well, except for Shepard Fairey’s work?

Well, apparently as the story goes, ASU wanted to upgrade their image because schools like Oregon (yes, Virginia there is an Oregon… it’s ‘somewhere’ out West… we think) and even Texas Christian were getting all the attention owing to their slick, fashionable uniforms… and also a much better ability to actually do well at sports. So as any good institution of higher education would do, they hired someone and paid millions of dollars to redo the logo. The hell with student aid, gotta keep those souvenir sales up!!

As the article then mentioned, there was one ‘major casualty of the redesign’: the previous cartoon Sun Devil himself, Sparky! Although it does seem from these various testosterone-driven poses that Sparky will remain as the mascot.

But here’s the interesting bit: it seems that Sparky – who may or may not have been named after Spartacus (hint: probably not) – was originally designed in the late-1940s by ASU alumni Bert Anthony. And wouldn’t you know it, but ol’ Bert – a former Disney artist that seems to have gotten himself fired for whatever reason (we were too lazy to look it up) – seems to have modeled the Devil after the great Walt D himself as a means of, quote, exacting revenge on his old boss! You’ve got to admit, the Devil does have a moustache ergo… but why this would be considered revenge though is beyond me.

So as it seems then this long-standing vision of pathetic payback will go the way of the Panda, which although not suited to survive in nature is being supported to this day. The logos will be changed including the pitchfork but somehow the Demon outside will live on in wacky antics and what not. Also, it appears that the University has planned ahead for playing in the hot Arizona sun and wearing black, making sure that the uniforms remain stylish looking even when on fire.

The writer of the original article does go on as well to say there is a bright side, namely the team is no longer bearing the mark of a cartoon that appears to be terrorizing the night dressed only in elaborate yet form-fitting pajamas. Wow, and people wonder why I want to get paid for doing this?

But you know, come to think of it, I wonder if any colleges out there would want me to design a logo based on my old boss? Sleep on it and get back to me on that…