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How to Tell if Your Ad Agency is Punting On Creative Deliverables

LAVAZZA_critique_loopdsgnPeople who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. And God knows I’ve done my fair share of punting when executing low level creative deliverables. There are a myriad of factors that can influence flubs like this. An unreasonable budget, crazy deadlines, endless deliverables, last minute client changes, etc. The list goes on forever. And this could be a problem that starts at the client level.  So for that reason, calling out the agency here would be bad form. But look how bad this banner ad is! I can spot flubs like this from a mile away, and I can practically recreate the chain of events on this one.

The underlying creative here is actually solid. Decent copywriting concept. Sexy branded color palette, great typography lockup. The individual components are all pretty good. So you’re probably thinking, then why is the composition of the banner ad so totally fucked up?! And the answer is that the agency most likely passed off the low level creative executions to a junior designer or inexperienced freelancer.

The initial campaign creative was probably done by an experienced Art Director / Copy team. They probably presented the campaign in the form of print ads —  a tall, narrow vertical format. Once the client approved the high-level creative, the agency probably pulled the ad team to move onto the next big money project, and passed off all the low level executions to freelancers or junior designers who were then tasked with doing all the executions based on the initial print creative. Unfortunately, extending the print campaign out to dramatically different ad formats, say… wide landscape web banners for example, gets complicated. In this case, it looks like the junior designer only had one type lockup to work from, and didn’t know how to create a new version that would work in a horizontal layout. Poor kid. So they did their best, but the resulting product just looks… weird. So the lesson here is, if you’re paying for top level agency creative, make sure you’re receiving top level agency execution.

W.I.P. Logo

spicebox_3upIf you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

Dumb Ways To Die — Melbourne Metro PSA

This is one of those “I wish I’d worked on that” projects. The art, music and writing all come together perfectly in this charming little animation. A stellar example of the power of design + storytelling. Instead of another yawn-inducing PSA (cough, cough, NY Metro) we’re treated to a fun, funny cartoon with gorgeous characters and an infinitely hum-able tune. No surprise that it won 2 Lions at Cannes and has 50 million views on You Tube. Bravo.

Heavy Rotation

LOOP DSGN: Winter 2014 by loopdesign on Grooveshark

Kyle Webster’s Digital Brush Packs

I was tweeting earlier this week about Sherm Cohen’s amazing You Tube digital inking and painting tutorials. And I’ve posted in the past about Ray Frenden’s killer digital brush packs for Photoshop and Manga Studio. So I was very excited to discover Kyle T. Webster’s extensive collection of amazing digital brushes. Prepare to be impressed.

Acid Rain — Chance the Rapper

Heavy rotation. Dig that dripping rainbow typography.

HBO’s New Real Sports Logo / Rebrand

HBO did a nice job on this new REAL SPORTS logo. The original logo was soooo bad and it’s been inexplicably hanging around for over a decade. (What the hell are those arbitrary shapes around the word sports?!) It’s a smart move by HBO to extend elements their own branding into some of their shows and documentaries. (Namely the dot inside their “O” & their dark astral background) My only gripe would be new set design. The original set backdrop was a “live” nighttime shot of New York with the traffic and trains going over the bridges. It was super cool and moody and aligned much better with HBO’s aforementioned “dark astral background”. The new set looks like the gift shop at the MoMA, and the fireplace is kind of corny and dated. It’s not Masterpiece Theater, guys. B+

Apple’s Elliptical Future

I couldn’t help but notice that Apple’s new Mac Pro tower design shares a striking similarity to it’s new headquarters in Cupertino, designed by starchitect Norman Foster.

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The New Men’s Fitness Logo

I’m liking the knockout apostrophe in the new Men’s Fitness logo. It’s a gorgeous little brand detail that doesn’t impair legibility in any way. I also think the switch to a blockier font is a nice subtle comtemporization of the logo. (Is that Tungsten?) The capitalization, while admittedly less visually interesting, seems appropriate for the direction they’re moving with the brand — BIG & BOLD. I suspect they probably sell a lot of ads for booze, body spray and energy drinks in this magazine. Regardless of the douche demographic, it’s a nice manly logo evolution.

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