HumidCity https://humidcity.com Handing New Orleanians a Megaphone Since April 2005 Thu, 09 Jun 2016 17:09:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 Rebuild, Recover, Renew, Renege https://humidcity.com/2016/06/09/rrrr-str/ Thu, 09 Jun 2016 06:34:39 +0000 https://humidcity.com/?p=6707

What it comes down to is this: Those few seeking to profit from whole home short-term rentals are delivering a knockout punch to the backbone of the city’s tourism industry: service industry workers. What good is it to have tourists overrunning the neighborhoods that make this city remarkable and distinct while those who live here […]

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Won't you be my neighbor?

Won’t you be my neighbor?

What it comes down to is this:

Those few seeking to profit from whole home short-term rentals are delivering a knockout punch to the backbone of the city’s tourism industry: service industry workers. What good is it to have tourists overrunning the neighborhoods that make this city remarkable and distinct while those who live here and who serve the tourists are rapidly losing affordable housing options with reasonable commutes?

And is this the way we treat our neighbors who dug in, did the hard work of rebuilding, and are now beginning to fear being taxed out of their own homes? This isn’t why so many struggled to make it home again.

As a friend wrote to the City Planning Commission earlier this week:

“I am a resident of New Orleans District C, a homeowner, and a long time service worker in the French Quarter.
 
It cannot be overemphasized the amount of damage two short years of whole home short term rental have done in the neighborhood I have called home for nearly twenty years. Our neighborhood, once vibrant with children growing up, seniors aging in place, and first time home buyers yearning to preserve historic homes, is now filled (of the 18 houses on our block, eight are now purely short term rentals) with houses only occupied on weekends or during festive events. Garbage proliferates, parking is a nightmare, and the unpeopled block in the middle of the week is eerie. Our taxes have soared, our infrastructure strained, and our sense of familiarity with our neighbors has become a worried fear over who will be priced out next by speculation. Please do not accept the Mayor’s assurances of accountability at face value. Allowing permanent short term rentals of whole houses abrogates the very compact of civic engagement.
 
C. Nelson”

It’s a simple truth: Any housing unit being used exclusively as a short-term rental is no longer available as a home for an actual New Orleanian.

The post-Katrina era is over; now it’s simply the time when greed wins… and we used to be better than that.


 
All posts by lunanola

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Trump Dance Party USA: NOLA https://humidcity.com/2016/03/06/trump-dance-party-usa/ Sun, 06 Mar 2016 07:38:54 +0000 https://humidcity.com/?p=6687

And so I waited for my third presidential stump speech of the 2016 cycle. Deep South Productions staged a sad, unintuitive, amateurish event setting that was prelude to the even more sad and amateurish freak show that was Donald Trump’s Dance Party USA, New Orleans Edition. The first indication that this would be more chore […]

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And so I waited for my third presidential stump speech of the 2016 cycle. Deep South Productions staged a sad, unintuitive, amateurish event setting that was prelude to the even more sad and amateurish freak show that was Donald Trump’s Dance Party USA, New Orleans Edition.

Trump Rally New Orleans

Would you buy clothing from these guys?

The first indication that this would be more chore than event was GoogleMaps refusal to find the event address. This was remedied by removing the unit letter from the address, but that ended up sending me to the Lakefront Airport terminal. Parking for the event was actually another quarter mile down the road, then a side road toward the lake and behind the airport in a shell lot that was clogged at the entrance by Trump Junk hucksters. A half dozen coaches sat idling nearby with eager Trump sheep. At first I assumed these were paid seat fillers, but later found out that the coaches were there to shuttle the sheep to the event. Unfortunately for the three dozen attendees who arrived at the same time I did, nobody bothered to tell us this and we walked all the way around the airport to the hangar entrance.

Trump Rally New Orleans

Uncle Sham.

Upon arrival, I sought out anyone who looked like they might be in charge, eventually resorting to asking a Secret Service agent. (And I may as well get this out of the way now: Every Secret Service agent I spoke with, both uniformed and suited, was the apex of cordiality and helpfulness! To the point I began to wonder if they were paid actors!) I was directed to a young lady with no visible Trump or event badges who directed me to the media check-in table, situated behind the crowd lines and invisible from every angle unless you were standing in front of it.

Catherine, Trump’s media rep eventually appeared and I explained I was with HumidCity, a local blog, and had requested media passes through the Eventbrite website but had not heard from them. Catherine was very apologetic in her explanation that blogs aren’t journalism and that being local, HC was probably not important enough to warrant press creds. The McCain, Sanders and even Jindal camps I covered previously had no such issues. In fact, all three were enthusiastic about small local media even bothering to show up.

Trump Rally New Orleans

Trump media maven Catherine, presiding over gear jail.

I then asked her if I’d at least be able to bring in my Canon DSLR and zoom lens. The EB site had a warning that these would not be allowed for the general public. I even explained that most newer pocket digitals had larger chips and tighter zoom than my ancient, decade old rig. She said I’d need to check with Secret Service about that but it shouldn’t be a problem, except that in that very same sentence also said it probably would be a problem, thus covering all bases and taking no responsibility whatsoever. I asked why it might be a problem and she apologized again, but didn’t know why. The SS agent didn’t know why either, but told me I’d have to find a place to stow it. So I walked back to the parking lot and dumped my gear then slogged back to the checkpoint. In hindsight this was fine with me as the important media photogs surrendered their gear which sat baking in the sun until it was inspected. Also something I’ve never seen happen at a campaign event.

Trump Rally New Orleans

No packages. Except Donald’s, because he’s got no problem there.

Entry was otherwise relatively easy. The lines moved quickly. Two frat boys in front of me were incredulous that they couldn’t bring in their bagged 40oz beers. After breezing through the metal detectors without a beep, (literally a 1 in 100 experience for me,) I patiently awaited the return of my pocket contents with a half-dozen other sheep. A sullen TSA drone barked at us to move “all the way to the left” of the end of the table. Six of us. Crammed at the end of a folding lunch table. Had we moved any more left, we’d have been on the agent side of the table. Fucking McDonalds cashiers with badges.

Trump Rally New Orleans

Festive decor courtesy Deep South Productions

Anyway, that was it for entry. Nobody ever checked event tickets. Maybe that was done as you boarded the coaches nobody told us about. Who knows, but we were in. Plastic folding chairs were set up to the rear of the hangar behind and to the side of the press platform. These would be useless once the show started. A wheelchair area was set up to the left of the dais with enough space for about eight to ten wheelchairs. It filled quickly though, and good thing as you’d have to wheel all the way around the press platform, through the chairs and through the standing crowd to get to it.

Trump Rally New Orleans

The two barriers to the right of the stairs are the wheelchair area.

The dais itself was surrounded by standard steel parade barriers in an awkward, asymmetric loop. It had already collected a full herd of sheep. Above the dais was a giant American flag. Around the hangar a half-dozen pro-quality lights cast barely visible blobs of red white and blue on to the gray hangar walls. Trump rally signs were taped to the walls, completely invisible unless you were on the edges of the crowd and standing in front of them. No bunting. No banners. Overall it looked more like the 360° point of a parade route on Severn than a Presidential rally. Massive speakers blared out quasi-motivational pop songs.

Yeah, about that. The doors opened at 3pm. Trump would take the stage three hours later. the music loop was about ten songs lasting around 35 minutes. Billy Joel’s ‘Uptown Girl’, The Rolling Stones’ ‘Can’t Always Get What you Want’ and ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’, an aria that I know well but for the life of me can’t remember the name of, Elton John’s ’Tiny Dancer’ and ‘Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding’, and a few others that defy remembrance despite having heard them five or six times! Very few seemed to have any thematic connection to the campaign, though cases could be made for the Stones and ‘Funeral For A Friend’.

So I mingled.

Trump Rally New Orleans

Son, you ain’t old enough to vote. Or dress yourself, apparently.

Why Trump? No, really, why the fuck Trump? I asked a few folks and the replies were all the same fact-free excuses for reason we’ve heard before. He’s not a politician. He can’t be bought. He’s gonna Make ‘Murricah Great Again. He tells it like it is. It’s the perfect symbiotic ignorance between policy-free candidate and easily entertained, low-thought base. I had already given up trying to cover this as a real stump speech. I conciously switched to Silent Red Carpet Joan Mode and created back-stories for the sheep as I crowd watched. Some of those folks have some really dark secrets. In my mind, at least.

Trump Rally New Orleans

I thought he was The Riddler.

The crowd leaned toward critter. Now, I try very hard not to judge on appearance, but there are times when you can spot those who came down from the hills to greet the new parson out of respect even though they don’t attend the Sunday Meetings. A fresh dab of Fop in their hair, makeup troweled on in an attempt at emulating a Vogue cover they saw once in a bus station in the Eighties, work boots suit-pants and a T-shirt and ball cap… you know the type. At the opposite end from the trailer park were preppies and business-types from central casting, missing only the sweater-draped-around-the-neck. LSU attire was split evenly between the two camps. out of the thousand or so sheep there were perhaps 20 people of color.

The Girls

Those Girls.

There were a few oddballs, too. One girl in a tennis dress. A load in hospital scrubs and an orange tweed sportscoat.Two guys wearing suits with a currency pattern though they didn’t seem to know each other or have noticed they were fashion twins. A few cocktail dresses, because fuck appropriate, it’s 4pm and I’m already drunk. And then there were Those Girls, one dressed like a nondescript cross between Peewee Herman and Andrea Martin and the other dressed in what i can only assume was an homage to Ivana Trump. Or perhaps Anna Nicole Smith. Honestly, these two looked like the only people actually having any fun at the event.

Trump Rally New Orleans

Just here for the speech, right?

And then there were the lurkers. These folks immediately looked out of place and didn’t mingle at all. Some were people of color, some gutterpunkesque. Hipstery-looking freaks with decidedly un-Republican hair and fashion. I wanted to approach each of them and ask what they were planning that might cause shock and awe among the sheep, but decided it would spook them. I would be loathe to defuse anything that might crack the tedium of the day! Sure enough, I pegged most of those who would later disrupt the festivities.

In the three-hour wait for Trump, we were treated to some flying lessons by a helicopter student. He took off, zoomed out to the lake, circled back, stopped in front to the crowd and rotated left and right as his instructor leaned out and checked his accuracy with a point on the ground. Despite seeing this four or five times, there was always someone in the crowd who “knew” Trump was in the dinky copter, (think smaller than MASH and no stretcher skids,) waiting for more people to show up before landing. Others were pointing out the lone jet on the tarmac as Trump’s, because he owns one, right? And it’s white and blue! That’s the color of his plane! (No, it’s mostly blue. And it’s a 747.) In all, it was a disheartening but expected display of logical thought. Two more hours to go. I considered suicide, but the helicopter blades were too far away.

At quarter to six, a contingent of security appeared near the outside mingling area. I took this as a cue. Nobody else really noticed. Nor did they spot the plane coming in over Lake Ponchartrain as it flipped on the landing lights. Someone noticed me staring in a different direction and asked what I was looking at.

“Trump’s landing.”

“No, he’s already here.”

Someone else chimed in with, “Can’t be here. He’s a showman. When he comes in he’ll buzz the hangar because he likes to make an entrance and he wants everyone to see the plane!”

Trump Rally New Orleans

The Turkey has landed.

Yeah. OK. The only thing I was wrong about was thinking they’d taxi right up to us and he’d disembark waving like Nixon. They pulled the plane behind the next hangar over and took a five- or six-SUV trip the remaining 200 feet to behind the event hangar, out of sight of the waiting crowd. I moved inside with a few others for a glimpse of the evening’s protagonist. Glimpse is accurate. The hangar had filled up though you could have doubled the crowd and still had space left over. Three times more bodies than Jindal, three times fewer than Sanders. The door opened and a few agents and overdressed donors came and went a dozen times. Each time I hit record on the phone. And then it died.

So I pulled the Fuji out. The crowd shouted “TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP!” as instructed by a disembodied and probably pre-recored voice some thirty minutes earlier. Can’t have a spectacle without instructions. A few more false alarms and the crowd quieted. Then somebody started a “Who Dat say they gonna beat that Trump! Who Dat?! Who Dat?!” chant. My heart broke right there. And some of my lunch salad came up but I managed to Cruz it back down.

Ugh

The photo within the photo! HC is quite Shaxbardian!

Finally the groundhog came out of his hole. From my terrible vantage point I thought I’d get less than a second of vid, but he immediately paused and waved to everyone. It would be great footage if the subject were anything of substance. He climbed the stairs to the dais and milked the fanatics for a while, then completely ruined everything by opening his mouth. He stole a baby from the audience. I thought perhaps Carly Fiorina would come out and eat it, but no. Someone in the crowd had glued a Trump Wig on to their child. And it had paid off. A lifetime of trauma and jeering for the price of a child’s soul.

Trump stroked the herd with how great Louisiana is and how much he’s been wanting to come here ever since he started campaigning. I thought he could have come here years ago to finally build that massive hotel we keep hearing about, but what the hell do I know. He wasted no time in telling us a new poll has him at 49%. He insulted Mitt Romney and the media. Then, assuming we had forgotten that the media is responsible for many polls, told us all how wrong they were when he entered the race a year ago but how they’re now not-wrong because he’s at 49%. In the first twenty minutes he said nothing of any substance whatsoever. Just a stream-of-unconcious rambling collection of boasts and jibes mixed with fawning praise for those who came to bask in his glory.

I really don’t know what I expected. Exactly what I got, to be honest. But somewhere in the back of my head I thought there had to be something Trump said in stump speeches that never made the 30-second recaps on the nightly news. Something real. Something policy. Something you could take to the water cooler on Monday and say, “Hey, Trump actually has a good idea about…” Nope. Nothing. What you see on the news is exactly what you get in person. Except you get a fucking hour of it.

Watching him live, I realized exactly who he is. Not the mogul he thinks he is, nor the winner he claims to be. Not the bloviating crusader nor the anti-system foil that either side of the media portray him as. But the true Donald Trump. He’s the drunk at the end of the bar who simply will not shut the fuck up. No matter how many times he’s asked or told, he proffers his opinion on everything that’s wrong or right with the world regardless of anyone’s interest or attention. You can buy him a drink, escort him out, throw him down the stairs or punch his lights out, but in ten minutes he’s back on that barstool telling you why your life’s a fucking mess, despite the fact that he lives in a box behind the WalMart and doesn’t have two nickels to rub together. Now imagine that guy with millions of dollars. Yeah. That guy.

So, there I was wishing I’d stayed home and masturbated when Trump called out, “Do we have a protestor? I hope so. Is that a… Oh! Get him outta here!” I followed two previously lethargic cops who had been napping behind the hangar for most of the day, surprised by their newfound rapid locomotion. I couldn’t see any commotion as they waded into the herd, and thought it was all over. I certainly hadn’t heard any rabble being roused. I changed course to the doors, figuring a 50/50 chance that’s where any scofflaws be taken; the other option being behind the dais and through the doors Trump came through for a private beatdown.

Success. About five minutes later they were escorted out. no cuffs, no bruises. Just directed through the doors and to a corner of the building. One was stood facing the wall and I thought the cop was going to frisk and arrest him, but as the second protestor came out they were both pointed in the direction of the Official Protest lined up on the property edge. They walked off as friends of theirs carrying signs squealed in celebratory delight around them. That was it.

I followed them out so I can’t speak to any roughhousing on either side that has been reported. I watched a video of the event showing Black Lives Matter protestors silently raising their fists being booed. Trump himself accused them of punching people, “fists flailing,” but the video clearly shows this was not the case. As they linked arms and were moved out, they began chanting “Black Lives Matter” but this was quickly drowned out by the herd chanting “All Lives Matter.” Yay white people.

But back to the first group. I caught up with Chris who was the first ejectee from the event.

Chris.

Chris. American Hero.

Chris said, “It was… It reminded me of 1939 Nazi Germany with tons of white people there supporting an overt fascist.” I asked if he was tackled, Chris said, “They didn’t tackle me, but they did, one guy grabbed me and pushed me out saying ‘You need to go!’ They could have been nicer…” Chris said he wanted to show the world that not everybody in Louisiana agrees with Trump or his supporters. I’d like to think a younger me would have done the same, but I really don’t know. I was pretty fucking proud of him.

I thought about going back in, but that would entail another TSA pocket dump and from what I could hear, it was more of the same baseless, dog-whistle, buzzword rhetoric that Trump is known for, so I headed off to the protestor area, conveniently located under some trees and unlit parking lot lamps, well out of sight of the entrance behind the big TV trucks. Most of the available light came from police SUV’s placed between the protestors and the hangar.

As I walked around I felt a shoulder tap and turned to face an NOPD officer who said I couldn’t be there with “those signs.” He was referring to the Trump signs under my arm. I explained to him that I collected political ephemera and he told me he didn’t want any fights started. I then explained that I’d roll them up to make them less visible and that I was voting for Bernie anyway, so I certainly wouldn’t be starting anything. To my amazement, the cop said, “Oh, you votin’ for Bernie? You all right!” and that was the end of it! It was bizarre. While it worked to my advantage, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was the same thoroughness and diligence that the NOPD uses to solve burglaries and homicides.

Trump Rally New Orleans

Not just a youth movement!

The protestors were relatively quiet, considering they were armed with drums, horns and vuvuzelas, only using them in sparse bursts. There were bullhorn speeches at very low volumes, which may have been a directive of the cops. Cars passed by honking horns, some in praise of the protest, others with Trump sheep hanging out the windows screaming everything from snide, false support to certain derogatory language that I’ll never fucking use. Oops.

Trump Rally New Orleans

It’s true now, because it’s on the interwebz!

There were some good protest signs. “Small Mind. Small Hands”, “Immigrants rebuilt New Orleans”, “Elect a leader. Not a moron!”, “Fascism is for NO ONE – Fuck Off Nazi Punks” and my personal favorite: “Donald Trump Likes Nickelback!” I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s certainly something to find out before the General Election! No one wants to wake up on November 9th to find out that the National Anthem has been changed to ‘Photograph’.

Trump Rally New Orleans

Mason representing.

I talked to Mason who held two signs. One read “Trump has small hands!” I was surprised how quickly the small hands thing took hold. Bless SocMed! The other read, “Trump is a moron! His supporters aren’t!” I asked him about that. Mason said that Trump supporters are just people like you and me. They’re fed up with the system and they’re lashing out, but they aren’t very discerning of who they’re supporting. They just hear something they can agree with but don’t look too deeply below the surface of where it’s coming from. I was pretty impressed with Mason, too. He was well spoken, able to see things from the other side of the fence, and understanding of those whom he disagreed with. As I made the trek back to the parking lot I thought with kids like Mason and Chris around, this country might be in some good hands in a decade or so.

And then I passed a family buying Trump Junk from a vendor. A six-year old boy was muttering, “Protestors! I hate protestors! They should be arrested!”

And I started to worry about the future again.

-M Styborski

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This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things https://humidcity.com/2016/02/10/this-is-why-we-cant-have-nice-things-2/ Thu, 11 Feb 2016 01:13:24 +0000 https://humidcity.com/?p=6667

It’s 2016 and, the problems I wrote about last year still exist, and will continue to exist, for the next 18,000 years, if my prediction is right.  Why?  Because we’re careless at the wrong times. But, wait.  Is there ever a right time to be careless?  In general, the answer is no, however, there are […]

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x days without error

It’s 2016 and, the problems I wrote about last year still exist, and will continue to exist, for the next 18,000 years, if my prediction is right.  Why?  Because we’re careless at the wrong times.

But, wait.  Is there ever a right time to be careless?  In general, the answer is no, however, there are many times when it’s acceptable.  This blog post, for example, is a good time I can be careless because I’m not getting paid for this nor am I’m using this as a platform to prove anything to anyone.  It’s just a platform to vent.  And I like venting about carelessness throughout the various media organizations in our lovely city of New Orleans.  Many of my personal social media posts and comments are careless and have errors but, again, I’m not getting paid for them.

With that said, I’ll continue with where I left off last year.

Here are some examples of inappropriate times to be careless.  These are times when you’re getting paid decent money to do a job (also when thousands, if not millions are watching).  I’ll present them from the most trivial to the big “OMG” at the end.

Last year, WGNO was the brunt of an entire post, and for good reason.  They really do suck at proofreading, both on their website and in their social media postswgno-kind-of-cakes

This year, WDSU seems like they want to take the crown away from WGNO with their own flurry of follies.  These are just simple omissions of words or typos but, really, as a paid professional, can’t you take an 10 extra seconds to double-check your work?

02102015-on-in 02092016-missing-word

 

THIS one, also from WDSU, was not only displayed on their Facebook page but, apparently, on air.  The ones shown on TV are my favorite.  How do you spell “gorilla“?

02082016-gorilla

 

Here’s a gem from WWL.  I saw this one on their late newscast but could not get my phone camera on in time to get a picture of it.  Luckily I found a video of the weather forecast that also used the same graphic which has two glaring mistakes.  Look at which days they have the Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday graphics on.

 

02072016-wwl-wrong-mardi-gras-day

 

Lastly, I’m sure many have seen the recent front page mega-screw-up in the Times-Picayune.  Just in case you haven’t, here it is.  How does a newspaper, in New Orleans, misspell “Carnival”?

12647015_10207653257785390_6355665100139561028_n

 

No, this is not an attack on my city.  I love it.  But, it is an attack on the constant mediocrity I see across our major media outlets.  I would love to have a job proofreading everything they published.

 

BONUS:

This one is not from NOLA but recently published somewhere. I don’t know the source paper.  It’s still quite funny.

From the “Captain Obvious” files.

china-may-be-using-sea-to-hide-submarines

P.S.

If there are mistakes in this post ………. meh. I’ll worry about it when I’m getting paid for it.  I just do this for fun :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Teachers – They Are Why We Can’t Have Nice Things https://humidcity.com/2015/11/12/teachers-they-are-why-we-cant-have-nice-things/ Fri, 13 Nov 2015 03:59:56 +0000 https://humidcity.com/?p=6579

THIS is why we can't have nice things.

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I’m back, and this time with a doozy.

A friend’s six-year-old, first-grader recently submitted this to her teacher.  The teacher “corrects” it and this is where the problem begins (and ends).

12247890_10153888213356833_1532539728934346610_o

REALLY?

TIEING?”

Who, in the last 100 years, has learned to spell it that way?

What respectable, educated teacher, teaches that?  Find me one (more)!

There really isn’t much more I can say about this other than my usual sign-off . . .

THIS is why we can’t have nice things.

 

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We Fix Your Brand: 19 George Pataki https://humidcity.com/2015/09/26/we-fix-your-brand-19-george-pataki/ Sat, 26 Sep 2015 08:53:52 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6533

We don’t think George Pataki will make it as far as the Iowa Caucases so we thought we should slip him in the lineup here. And this the weak effort his highly paid [we can only assume] design team came up with: There is no rule that says your name has to be big and bold, but this […]

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We don’t think George Pataki will make it as far as the Iowa Caucases so we thought we should slip him in the lineup here. And this the weak effort his highly paid [we can only assume] design team came up with:

Got Pataki?

Got Pataki?

There is no rule that says your name has to be big and bold, but this is why they usually are. We like the typeface, but not for Pataki, though it works fine for the slogan. More troubling is that incomplete stylized flag in the lower right. Design pundits have called it out as a bar graph indicating a 4-1 lead for Republicans. [Not a good telegraph for a Democratic candidate!] We think they really missed the mark. Our first impression was the World Trade Center.

For you youngins out there, Pataki was the governor of New York when the September 11th attacks took place. And while the twin towers actually crumbled to dust, this image simplifies that they just fell over. If this graphic is actually intended to be the twin towers, and we hope it isn’t, it’s in terribly bad taste.

Refreshing design. no unpleasant aftertaste!

Refreshing design. No unpleasant aftertaste!

Now his is much better! No haunting reminders, just good old American campaignery! A big bold name with a graphic element that works with the type instead of against it. In a shorthand situation, the graphic and P can even be used as a standalone image. While we used Packenham, the P didn’t quite line up with the graphic so we tweaked it a bit for balance. This is something graphic designers do called customization.

The only problem here is that negative space under the P and between the words of the slogan. It’s a distraction that draws the eye in, so…

Close, but still just a cheap cigar.

Close, but still just a cheap cigar.

Screw he slogan! We know what you want already and without the slogan the image embiggens for better legibility! Less distracting and even bolder, yet still somewhat bland. It has oomph but no zazz! [Embiggens, oomph and zazz are highly technical marketing terms that will be discussed in the Advanced Buzzwords portion of your college design curriculum.] So we kept at it…

Did we get it? Maybe. Maybe not. Honestly we like them all!

Did we get it? Maybe. Maybe not. Honestly we like them all!

This is a slightly more complicated graphic that better represents the American flag, yet seems a bit too busy. It does afford a solution to the negative space issue though. For the shorthand version you’d only be using 3/4 of the graphic which isn’t quite jake in the marketing world as it muddies the brand. You really want something that plays the same in both situations, but not everything in this world is perfect, right?

We’d be willing to keep at this, George, but not for free! Give us a call and a stipend and maybe we can get you through Iowa and on to New Hampshire!

-M Styborski

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We Fix Your Brand: 18 Jim Webb https://humidcity.com/2015/09/25/we-fix-your-brand-18-jim-webb/ Fri, 25 Sep 2015 21:32:47 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6526

Wow! Nothing but unknowns today, right? While Jim Webb may be unknown to those following the 2016 presidential race, he made headlines back in 2006 when he almost slugged W at a White House photo op. We’d vote for him in a heartbeat if he had! It’s a’ight, but it’s not going to win any […]

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Wow! Nothing but unknowns today, right? While Jim Webb may be unknown to those following the 2016 presidential race, he made headlines back in 2006 when he almost slugged W at a White House photo op. We’d vote for him in a heartbeat if he had!

Meh.

Meh.

It’s a’ight, but it’s not going to win any beauty prizes. Once again we’ve got Franklin Gothic [They must be e-mailing it free to every candidate in the race!] with something that looks like it wants to be Helvetica underneath. The main issue here is the jumble of activity along the top edge. A star that’s too tiny to fulfill its destiny as an i dot, too much lower case, that awkward, ugly FG apostrophe followed by a similar 1 and a positively tortured 6. Everything up there is just fighting for attention while the lower half of the line just sags there sadly, weighing down a flat and uneventful slogan. But we’re ever so awesome and we can fix this in about thirty seconds. [We lied. It actually took about five minutes, but we were multitasking and mixing cocktails at the same time, so…]

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Just an entry or three below Franklin Gothic sits Frutiger in the realm of classic typefaces. It’s basically the same as FG, but far less ugly especially in the numbers. Life is too short for ugly type and this is a quick fix, so let’s move on to the design issues.

One of the biggest mistakes bad designers make is setting the width of a dot-replacing-star to the width of the body of the i. it doesn’t work that way in the real world, kids. Because of the inherent geometrics of a star [thin points, thick center, lots of negative space] you have to optically adjust it until a good weight balance is achieved. We did this easily and, additionally, we actually centered the star above the i instead of just pasting it in the general area.

We all-caps’ed the last name to make it stand out and got rid of that apostrophe. With Frutiger you don’t need it as the arm on the one takes its place. The last thing we did was italicize ‘TRUST.’ Compare the two lines. The original reads like a sign that says, “Restroom This Way.” It’s just blah. The improved version emphasizes the we can rely on that trust. It’s no longer a boilerplate slogan, but a promise! Politics is all about promises, Jim!

We’ve got a phone. you know the drill! We’ll be over here trying to figure out how to pad the expense account on this one!

-M Styborski

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We Fix Your Brand: 17 Skip Andrews https://humidcity.com/2015/09/25/we-fix-your-brand-17-skip-andrews/ Fri, 25 Sep 2015 20:49:05 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6521

What can we say about Charles Perry “Skip” Andrews, III that you don’t already know? Well, he graduated from Brigham Young with a degree in marketing. Not that anyone could tell by this: Our first thought was, “Ok, let’s skip Andrews and move on to the next guy!” But that wouldn’t be right. If any candidate needs […]

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What can we say about Charles Perry “Skip” Andrews, III that you don’t already know? Well, he graduated from Brigham Young with a degree in marketing. Not that anyone could tell by this:

Makes you rethink that college degree, don't it…

Makes you rethink that college degree, don’t it…

Our first thought was, “Ok, let’s skip Andrews and move on to the next guy!” But that wouldn’t be right. If any candidate needs a re-brand it’s Skip! This isn’t high school student council bad. It’s not even Department of Motor Vehicles inbox bad. This is… well, we really can’t even think of anything to compare it to. Dymo label on a file folder bad? No, this is even worse. But we immediately had an energetic improvement for this:

Sometimes we're like magic elves with this stuff!

Sometimes we’re like little magic elves with this stuff!

Skip is an action verb! Use it! Get some life into this campaign, dude! Sure, there will be a few smartasses singing “Skip To My Lou” at the rallies, but it’s a song that makes people smile. When was the last time you smiled at politics? [Us either!]

We went nuts on the typefaces here using Water Brush for a playful, impulsive slogan and Fargo Faro for the name/date. Nobody makes those wild-looking, devil-may-care, borderline-counter-culture campaign ads anymore. It’s all Gotham and somberness and trendy, implied “class” these days and it’s about time somebody did something kind of Seventies. Realistically you could set the name/date in any old bold to tone the effect down and this will still work, but as long as we’re not getting paid we’re taking a few liberties!

Give us a call, Skip! We won’t be sad if you don’t because honestly, you need us more than we need you!

-M Styborski

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We Fix Your Brand: 16 Lincoln Chafee https://humidcity.com/2015/09/25/we-fix-your-brand-15-lincoln-chafee/ Fri, 25 Sep 2015 17:19:01 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6511

Continuing the endless string of “Who?” we find ourselves at Lincoln Chafee. Chafee is a former Rhode Island governor who’s running under the Democratic banner this cycle. Unlike most politicians who party-swap, Chafee spent a respectable six years as an Independent after his initial eight year Republican stint. But you folks are here to see the […]

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Continuing the endless string of “Who?” we find ourselves at Lincoln Chafee. Chafee is a former Rhode Island governor who’s running under the Democratic banner this cycle. Unlike most politicians who party-swap, Chafee spent a respectable six years as an Independent after his initial eight year Republican stint. But you folks are here to see the garish branding, right, so here we go!

Where's the horror? There was supposed to be horror!

Where’s the horror? There was supposed to be horror!

We think this is a relatively good brand that evokes the pomp and circumstance of elections past. Possibly a bit too elite for the common people though. It’s a little starry, but the biggest problem we have is that slogan: Fresh Ideas for America. It sticks out like a sore thumb in this homage to brands gone by! Nothing about this even comes close to fresh. In all honesty, we’d keep the design, knock off a few stars, but find a new slogan. Still, we’d be cheating if we didn’t try something new, so…

Fresh, yo!

Fresh, yo!

First we tried the “fresh” look. Meh. It’s OK, but a few things trouble us. Well, one thing. That’s not Chafee’s signature. Now this could work if his real signature is as spiffy as the Satisfaction typeface, but we may never know. [We could Google for it, but we’re incredibly lazy!] Next up, we took the road opposite fresh…

Four score and twenty campaigns ago…

Four score and twenty campaigns ago…

Hey, nobody really knows who you are, so have some fun with it! Imagine the gallons of coffee streaming out of noses as they open the morning papers and see this throwback to a simpler time! No? Well, we didn’t really think you’d go for it either so we forged on…

I think we have a winner!

I think we have a winner!

While it hasn’t the elitist stoicism of your current brand that’s a good thing. It has a more open and inviting tone; an inclusive element that makes you one of the people instead of some career politician who’s too good have a beer with his constituents. And a slogan that’s so stale it’s actually fresh again! And like many of our other designs in this series it has a built in smaller element that’s easily separated from the whole. Place that spiffy “lc2016” at the top of your letterhead and suddenly you’re a going concern, Linc!

For you young designers that wonder where genius like this lower case design comes from, we’ll tell you! In this case [See what we did there?] it came from the initials of Lincoln Chafee: LC. Or lc for lower case! Aren’t we clever? The question for Lincoln, though: Is your campaign clever enough to give us a ring?

-M Styborski

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We Fix your Brand: 15 Brian Russell https://humidcity.com/2015/09/25/we-fix-your-brand-14-brian-russell/ Fri, 25 Sep 2015 15:30:06 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6502

Yet another relatively unknown candidate, but it is our mission to fix these broken brands, so on with the show! Russell who? Oh, it’s Brian Russell! Again, who? According to his campaign page he’s a 35 year young investment guy that paints himself as a young Ronald Reagan. [Don’t they all!] Except unlike Reagan, Brian advocates […]

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Yet another relatively unknown candidate, but it is our mission to fix these broken brands, so on with the show! Russell who? Oh, it’s Brian Russell! Again, who? According to his campaign page he’s a 35 year young investment guy that paints himself as a young Ronald Reagan. [Don’t they all!] Except unlike Reagan, Brian advocates smaller, limited government. Reconcile that! The first paragraph of his ‘About’ page is a shill for his company:

For a brief introduction, I currently run an investment company called Bluefin Investment Management, LLC, located in the northeast Florida city of Ponte Vedra Beach (and in a shameless self-promotion, we are accepting new clients LINK)

Everything you ever wanted to know about bad branding but were afraid to ask.

Everything you ever wanted to know about bad branding but were afraid to ask.

But we’re not here to fix your strategy or website, just that hideous brand! This is terrible! It looks like someone named Russell is getting married at a fancy courthouse next year. Or maybe it’s a family reunion. Rather than start at the top of the pre-loaded Windows fonts, Brian’s team went to the middle for Franklin Gothic. [Curiously, there’s a lot of FG in the candidate sub-basement tier. Must be on sale somewhere.] It’s not a bad typeface, but it’s clunky; more in the vein of a late 1800’s furniture store broadsheet or perhaps a T-Bone Burnett album. And then there’s that hideous, unreadable nuptial script! Cripes, Brian, why not Comic Sans!

The shadow White House is a bold move. I guess the ghostly image is meant to convey your idea that government should work quietly and invisibly in the background. It’s a nice thought, but the media empires that run on political nitpicking aren’t about to let that happen. The staff at Politico would never survive!

We found another brand for Brian Russell that’s a smidge better stylistically, but again, unless you’re aware of his existence, it offers zero helpful information as to who it represents or what it means.

Baby bluefin. For a message of… we dunno… fish?

Baby bluefin. For a message of… we dunno… fish?

So like the industrious geniuses we are, we went out drinking until we could see double. Then we came home, looked at our Amiga computer and decided against following in the footsteps of your design team. We fired up the Mac.

Not good, but better.

Not good, but better.

We scrapped those stodgy fonts and opted for Eagle Book. Bold, yet comforting. Tough, but human. Perhaps it was the wedding script talking, but we figured you were married to that White House motif so we tried our best to slim it down into a simpler, cleaner form. We kept the shadow government motif, though. It’s OK, but it could be better.

We smell a brand within a brand here…

We smell a brand within a brand here…

Now this is better. Big name in trendy lowerUPPER cases, bold year separated for easy viewing while driving, and best of all, a smaller White House! Smaller. Get it? Smaller government! Plus, once you start getting some recognition with this you can drop the gray areas entirely and return to your alternate brand!

Russ! No muss, no fuss!

Russ! No muss, no fuss!

Hey, that could be your slogan! “No Muss! No Fuss! Vote Russ!” Man, we are killin’ it over here! Of course, the booze helps! Now get that campaign manager on the phone and we’ll meet for cocktails!

-M Styborski

 

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We Fix Your Brand: 14 Dale Christensen https://humidcity.com/2015/09/25/we-fix-your-brand-14-dale-christensen/ Fri, 25 Sep 2015 07:24:23 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6492

We don’t know you which means you’re already more electable than 100% of the Republican top tier. How do we know you’re Republican? Well… This is… not bad if you scrape the dirty word off the right side and ditch the Copperplate. Seriously. People have balked at the DC logo more than they have at […]

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We don’t know you which means you’re already more electable than 100% of the Republican top tier. How do we know you’re Republican? Well…

Yet another entry from My Nephew's A Whiz At Computers Design, Inc.

Yet another entry from My Nephew’s A Whiz At Computers Design, Inc.

This is… not bad if you scrape the dirty word off the right side and ditch the Copperplate. Seriously. People have balked at the DC logo more than they have at the typeface, but those people are idiots in our wildly over-inflated opinion. The red/blue aspect makes it look a little uneven, but it is eye-catching and a beautiful dual image: Dale Christensen/District of Columbia! [Oh, that better really be your own handwriting!] Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Say, the heck with chicken… you get steak for this!

But on the same plate you get really soggy steak fries for that horribly cramped, weak text, especially with all the room to the right that’s taken up touting one of the most useless aspects to advertise of a candidate: Party! You see, Dale, the point of advertising is to intrigue. It used to be to convince people to purchase but the best you can hope for these days is an inquiring webclick. Slap a huge,  red, all-caps “REPUBLICAN” on your media and you instantly kill those clicks from the voters on the left and on the fence. Oh, sure, they’ll find out you’re Republican when they get to the website, but by then you’ll have that click in the bank and you can use that data to say, “Wow! Look at all the interest in my candidacy!” You see how this works?

DC to the left?

Look, Ma, no dead space!

So, ordinarily we disapprove of “For President” on media, but there are times when it’s necessary.

  • When the candidate is relatively unknown outside his local area
  • When there’s massive dead space that needs to be filled
  • When the candidate is a big-egoed attention whore

You qualify for the first two. We skewed the line ever so jauntily to imply a hand stamp for a real grassroots look. We tried to distress it a bit to add to the illusion but it fought with the DC logo, which, honestly, is the stronger graphic. And while we really didn’t want to use a typeface called Eurostyle in an American election graphic, it’s the only way to make both your logo and name legible in the space we’re dealing with. We didn’t work this up, but we feel in a larger area you could spread your last name across the bottom and enlarge the logo and first name evenly at the top. Taking it a step further, we’d unicolor the logo and run your name in red which would give an overall American flag effect. Oh, well… you know what, just wait here a sec and we’ll go ahead and do it…

There, now. That didn't take long, did it?

There, now. That didn’t take long, did it?

There you go! Really, this could be better, but it was a three-minute egg while we were writing this post, so…

We still like the bi-colored logo better, but it got muddled with this treatment. We swapped Eurostyle for Micro, but still feel a thicker, less angular typeface would be better to close up some of the negative space. If you ring us up, we’ll see what we can do to refine this!

-M Styborski

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We Fix Your Brand: 13 Bobby Jindal https://humidcity.com/2015/09/25/we-fix-your-brand-13-bobby-jindal/ Fri, 25 Sep 2015 06:20:09 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6481

Ladies and Gentles, Louisiana’s very own tanned titmouse, Governor Bobby Cut-And-Paste! Yes, yes we believe that we have… Mm hm. Three red stripes, curved blue bar, Gotham typefeace… At least you picked a winner! And while Obama went to Hoefler for a custom serified version of Gotham, that’s the sans version there in the dotcom. […]

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Ladies and Gentles, Louisiana’s very own tanned titmouse, Governor Bobby Cut-And-Paste!

Haven't we seen this all somewhere before?

Haven’t we seen this all somewhere before?

Yes, yes we believe that we have…

Oh, right, the guy you hate did it last time!

Oh, right, the guy you hate did it last time!

Mm hm. Three red stripes, curved blue bar, Gotham typefeace… At least you picked a winner! And while Obama went to Hoefler for a custom serified version of Gotham, that’s the sans version there in the dotcom. Copy. Paste. Just like your legislation, editorials, media sound-bytes, Facebook posts and even your nickname. All ghostwritten by ALEC, Norquist, Mills, and others or simply lifted from whatever candidate said whatever it was the day before you did. Shabby, Bobby. Shabby. So because you’re a contemptible copycat we didn’t really do anything for you but add some legibility that enabled a larger and more visible brand.

Still a big ripoff. Just like your tenure in politics.

Still a big ripoff. Just like your tenure in politics.

Oh, yeah, and we took out those three stars. Most of the people we’ve spoken to think it looks like you’re trying to put a tuxedo on a pig. We think that’s unfair considering those stars are supposed to represent The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit, right? And we bet you told your kids those stars represented them! Don’t sweat it. Kids are dumb. They can’t tell you’re fibbing to them! But we didn’t want to leave you starless, so we put one where it should have been all along: Rising from the J! You can even scrape off the “Bobby” when you get tired of sounding and acting like a six year old child and the remaining design works perfectly!

Bigger is better.

Bigger is better.

We really could have spent more time on this, refined it, but fuck you.

Ordinarily at this point we ask the candidate to call us in a half-joking manner, but we’ll pass here. See you in the lobby.

-M

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We Fix Your Brand: 12 Scott Walker https://humidcity.com/2015/09/24/we-fix-your-brand-12-scott-walker/ Fri, 25 Sep 2015 05:48:16 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6475

Well, the 2015 NFL season is in full swing and we have been remiss in our duties to bring clarity, legibility and sanity to the brands of the presidential hopefuls! We really didn’t think it was too pressing, but when When America’s Best Koch-sucker called it quits we figured we better get back in gear […]

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Well, the 2015 NFL season is in full swing and we have been remiss in our duties to bring clarity, legibility and sanity to the brands of the presidential hopefuls! We really didn’t think it was too pressing, but when When America’s Best Koch-sucker called it quits we figured we better get back in gear starting with that quitter: Scott Walker!

Can we get that in tortoise shell?

Can we get that in tortoise shell?

Walker is probably the runner-up in copy-paste governorship. [More on the winner in a later post.] Everyting here but the typeface [Interstate Bold] is lifted from a hundred other political campaigns: last name only followed by the election year, trendily non-spaced, red white and blue, flag motif, Americana as letterform, etc. And yet despite the hodgepodge of buffet-style fare, it’s not bad. Unless you’ve bought eyewear in the last few decades…

Wait, let us put our glasses on and… oh, dear…

Wait, let us put our glasses on and… oh, dear…

Now we admit there are only so many ways to make a flag emulate a letter, especially a capital E. But outright theft of a corporate trademark for personal gain isn’t one of them! [No, there’s absolutely no way this is accidental. This logo is 18 years old and positively everywhere! It’s actually old enough to vote!] The folks at America’s Best had a minor league field day with this; jokingly Tweeting that Walker “TRUMPed” them and that they weren’t “CRUZing” for litigation. The even feigned surprise at the logo controversy but assured people there was nothing controversial about their prices. Ha-ha.

Now we don’t like Walker at all, but we promised to fix everyone we could, so…

You quit, so we did too after half-assing this!

You quit, so we did too after half-assing this!

Here we retained the typeface but set you up for the 2020 election cycle! And look… a cute li’l point between the numbers for Walker 2.0! Do you get it? 20. 2.0. It’s clever, and you could use someting clever  next time around! Yes, we said next time around. Honestly, you strike us as the sheilded-from-reality, type-A prick that refuses to give up even after the fans have left, the trainers have packed the gear and the janitor has turned out the lights and locked the stadium door. We know you’ll be back with your factless tactics for a second run, so why not use the kismet here and have some fun with it!

But don’t call us, we’ll have our lawyers call you!

-M Styborski

 

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We Fix Your Brand: 11 Mark Everson https://humidcity.com/2015/09/13/we-fix-your-brand-11-mark-everson/ Sun, 13 Sep 2015 09:20:05 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6463

We admit it: we have no idea who you are. We know you were a W-Drone with the OMB and IRS, but we lost track of you in the private sector. Honestly, we weren’t hanging on your every word in the Bush administration, either. One thing we do know, this brand is almost awesome! Positives: It […]

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We admit it: we have no idea who you are. We know you were a W-Drone with the OMB and IRS, but we lost track of you in the private sector. Honestly, we weren’t hanging on your every word in the Bush administration, either. One thing we do know, this brand is almost awesome!

So close you could reavh out and smack it!

So close you could reavh out and smack it!

Positives: It has both strength and motion and is informed by past campaign design which makes it instantly trendy. The colors are balanced, compliment each other nicely and lend to that old-school campaign look. Negatives: The fonts disagree violently with each other and Everson is too thin and poorly outlined, the geometrics are cluttered and the lines don’t line up anywhere! All rookie mistakes in Illustrator, no doubt. All relatively easy to fix. Look, we already did!

Bim! Bam! Bom!

Bim! Bam! Bom!

First things first: One typeface is all you need. We chose Impact as it’s thick, condensed and fits the space phenomenally well. Notice how all the the text flows together rather than crying out seperately for attention. The blue stripe continues the top bar of the E in Everson, bridged by Mark. The stars previously jumbled inside it have been spaced evenly down the right side and appropriately skewed with the rest of the design. The red stripes have been thickened and reduced to three, yet the overall design retains the four star, four stripe theme that may or may not have been the intent in the original. Overall, the stripe geometric now looks less like a gun pointed at the candidate and more like decoration. For President now flows with the design instead of fighting against it.

One caveat: slanted designs like this need extra neutral space around them or they tend to set off the vertigo centers in the brain. Look at our side by side and you’ll see what we mean! That effect is lessened with more surrounding space, like so…

Everson 02

We couldn’t decide if that red field at the top was too barren, so we made two versions, one with the date but you could put any old thing in there. Use one, the other, or both! But have that clever campaign manager call us first, OK! Ain’t no such thing as a free brand!

-M Styborski

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We Fix Your Brand: 10 Carly Fiorina https://humidcity.com/2015/09/12/we-fix-your-brand-10-carly-fiorina/ Sat, 12 Sep 2015 09:01:27 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6455

Say, aren’t there some women somewhere in politics? Indeed, there are. And Carly Fiorina is one of them, or rather, she’d like to be. And she currently has some caché, recently being added to the RNC’s top tier debate club. Good for her! Let’s see what we can do to help her name recognition! Here’s […]

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Say, aren’t there some women somewhere in politics? Indeed, there are. And Carly Fiorina is one of them, or rather, she’d like to be. And she currently has some caché, recently being added to the RNC’s top tier debate club. Good for her! Let’s see what we can do to help her name recognition! Here’s her initial offering:

What was wrong with this?

What was wrong with this?

Well, nothing per se, but there are a few minor issues. First, the gradient is borderline blah. Carly is another Republican trying to escape the use of red in her brand. It’s a popular trend this year considering how many Republicans are fronting Democratic blue, but this deep sea tone is just a trifle murky for our tastes. And while the text treatment is quite well done, Fiorina has taken a trip down the diva highway, running on the strength of one name. Unfortunately the name she picked carries the strength of a twelve year old schoolgirl just trying to balance math class and a prom date. It can’t be helped, really, thanks to the Disney Channel. Damn shame the kids that watched that show aren’t old enough to vote yet.

Carly appears to be running from her last name, like many other candidates this cycle, but in her case I think it’s more likely because whatever treatment you give to Fiorina, it almost always looks like a fashion ad. Trouble is, when Carly changed her brand a few months back, despite eschewing her Italian monicker, she still ended up with a fashion ad!

Macy's is having a sale!

Macy’s is having a sale!

Worse, worse, worse, worse, WORSE! This looks like she’s trying on Rick Perry’s brainy glasses! Look at me, I’m smart, I’m hip, I’m ever so trendy! Blecch! And she’s apparently gone from caring about America to simply wanting to almost be President. We say ‘almost’ because the words ‘For President’ are lightly dusted underneath her name like confectioner’s sugar on a Christmas cookie! Carly! (For President. Shhh! It’s a secret!) And it disappears into the background even further on her website:

Aiyeee! She's going to eat my baby!

Aiyeee! Mrs Nosferatu is going to eat my baby!

Other than the silent-but-deadly ‘For President’ and the terror inducing photo of gnashing teeth, this isn’t too bad a page. Unless you notice [and how can you not] the bulbous, freaking huge FOX News microphone placed unobtrusively [sarcasm alert] under the “One of us! One of us! One of us!” button! This is blatant pandering to both the low-thought, right wing base and the main Republican debate sponsor. Tacky, tacky. But we’re here for the brand, so…

It's a mash-up of stuff, but unmistakably political!

It’s a mash-up of typical campaign stuff, but unmistakable.

Our advice: Let your ambition and ego take a backseat to the people, like a true leader might do. Use the alliteration and near-rhyme God gave you. Meaningless stuff like this has a way of taking hold of the collective voter sub-concious; Tippecanoe and Tyler Too! Keep Cool With Coolidge! I Like Ike! Fiorina For America! Well… it’s as close as you’re going to get. Grab ahold.

This is a simple, clean design with an almost military look. That’s definitely something you could use, Carly. Your last name in big, bold, right wing red, alliteratively paired with a true blue For America, italicized for a touch of the human. And a stern and stalwart Carly 2016 with the stripes, star and field in all the correct colors! No, it doesn’t have the classy Macy’s ad vibe of your current logo, but that’s actually the point. However, if you think this is too political-looking [for a presidential campaign] then we recommend combining the original design and slogan you began with, [replacing Carly with Fiorina–you can even use the star in the A,] with the Carly 2016 beneath it. We didn’t work this one up, though, because we’re incredibly lazy and there’s a gin bottle calling us. But if you call first…

-M Styborski

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We Fix Your Brand: 09 John Kasich https://humidcity.com/2015/09/11/we-fix-your-brand-09-john-kasich/ Sat, 12 Sep 2015 00:18:41 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6442

Well, Rick Perry pulled the plug today on the iron lung keeping his candidacy alive. Pity. We could have used the money for a new wetbar. Oh well, there’s always 2020. But John Kasich is still in the hunt, so let’s take a crack at him! Here we have yet another decent attempt at logofication that yet again […]

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Well, Rick Perry pulled the plug today on the iron lung keeping his candidacy alive. Pity. We could have used the money for a new wetbar. Oh well, there’s always 2020. But John Kasich is still in the hunt, so let’s take a crack at him!

Kasich! Bacon flavored jeans!

Kasich! Bacon flavored jeans!

Here we have yet another decent attempt at logofication that yet again looks like a fashion advertisement. This is the current Kasich brand, a slightly trendier change from his initial attempt. [See below.] I don’t know what this typeface is but it looks like someone knuckle-punched Helvetica in the bicep and made it flinch. Look, if you’re going for Prince of Snoozetown, just use Helvetica and leave the knockoffs alone?

As for that logo. Press K; rub hands gently under warm air. Or is it Kasich Farms Bacon? Or some kind of rewind button on an editing machine? That backwards pointing arrow in the negative space isn’t helping your forward momentum, John. Folks, we know designers bemoan the stars and stripes and other Americana that loiters all over political signage, but there’s a reason it’s there. It clarifies that the product is a candidate for public office and not some new brand of sneakers. Trite? Yes. Overused? Yes. Necessary? Sometimes. The trick is to make it interesting.

We can't believe it's not better.

We can’t believe it’s not better.

This is what Camp Kasich rolled out with their candidacy announcement. Same bacony logo, same uninspiring typeface and half a slogan. For us. Well, who are us? Is Kasich only for us inclusively? Or can we join too? If we join, does that make us us, or are we more like step-children? This is like one of those endless, avuncular tales that Kasich uses to avoid answering questions during interviews. It makes you smile politely but at the end of the day you’re left mildly bewildered as to what it’s all about.

Now this one wasn’t easy. We tried to stick with the K-Bacon concept, but it contains inherent problems, the most glaring of which is that no matter how you move it around, it still looks like bacon. First, we beefed up the wimpy stripes and removed that backwards arrow.

No matter how you slice it, it comes up bacon.

Nope. Still bacon. But really thick bacon.

Less fashion, more politics, still looks like bacon. One thing we did like here was expanding your slogan. You are now no longer exclusively for those folks who already know you, but also for the entire United States! This is an inclusive, engaging slogan that welcomes the viewer! But still… bacon…

Allons enfants de la patria… huh? Oh, right!

Voor ons. Voor Nederland… huh? Oh, right!

We thought going red white and blue in the stripe would help but honestly it only tested well with the Dutch. And while the arrow is gone the K and A are jostling for position in the negative space. Bad. So we wadded all these concepts up into a puck and played a few rounds of office hockey. [Really, we weren’t even supposed to be here today!] Unfortunately, the cat stole the puck in the second period and we had sit down and try this again.

By Jove, we think we've got it!

This is it! Except for the clutter. And lack of balance. And a few other things.

Now this is some bold-ass typefacin’, yo? Lower case is [still] trendy and shows a degree of humility, yet the letter thickness makes a solid statement. [Just between you and us, and the US, it’s Gotham! Yes, the same typeface that pushed Obama through the doors of the White House!] The bi-colored name emphasizes pronunciation; KA-sich! [Trust us, this is an issue.] We’ve moved you out of that deceptive and somewhat depressing blue shroud and wrapped you primarily in a red that pops, but included some flag blue to imply that your “rising star” can bridge the gap between left and right. And speaking of “rising stars,” yours soars valiantly toward the future at a steady 4°, which every designer knows is exactly where the future lies! We turned your bacon strips into a real flag and hung it off the K, but immediately hated it, so…

Winnah, winnah! Chicken dinnah!

Winnah, winnah! Chicken dinnah!

Boom. Mic drop. It’s not a simple logo, like K-bacon, but neither is it a confusing logo, like K-bacon. It has a trendy, quirky boldness, yet retains a stoic sense of past campaigns. What’s most important is that it’s more recognizable, more direct and more understandable at a glance, which is about all the time you have to catch someone’s eye at this stage of the game!

We’ve switched the Perry hotline with a direct link to your campaign manager, John, all he’s got to do is pick up the line!

-M Styborski

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We Fix Your Brand: 08 Mike Huckabee https://humidcity.com/2015/09/10/we-fix-your-brand-08-mike-huckabee/ Thu, 10 Sep 2015 13:02:28 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6434

Now this is design by committee. For a basketball shoe it’s pretty whack, yo? [We confess, we don’t know if whack is good or bad anymore. Either way, we stand by our statement.] Where to start? Well, how about that train wreck at the bottom? Is it a Bank of America logo going through a […]

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Now this is design by committee. For a basketball shoe it’s pretty whack, yo? [We confess, we don’t know if whack is good or bad anymore. Either way, we stand by our statement.]

Somebody call an ambulance!

Somebody call an ambulance!

Where to start? Well, how about that train wreck at the bottom? Is it a Bank of America logo going through a wormhole or an actual train wreck? We bet on the latter as there are four little yellow stars floating above the point of impact signifying head injuries! Wait… yellow stars? Where are the pink hearts, blue diamonds and green clovers? And why four? Is that supposed to represent a four year term of office? Far too esoteric! Then there’s the slogan: From Hope To Higher Ground. We admit this is devilishly clever! Consider: Obama ran on a message of Hope, Huckabee is going to do even better than that! [By the way, there’s also a spiffy little in-joke here as Huckabee is from a town called Hope, Arkansas! We told you it was devilishly clever!]

But here’s the problem: that train wreck there at the bottom really is meant to be a train wreck! The long downward track being the Obama years of Hope, the stars representing whatever butthurt du jour Huckabee perceives as the rock bottom point where the Democratic Choo Choo jumped the rails and the upward track implying the Huckabee Presidency, raising us to “higher ground” because there’s only so much record high stock market and record low gas prices a nation can stand!

Unfortunately, the design team used blue and red lines for that train wreck, telegraphing that both Democrats and Republicans are responsible for whatever mess we’re allegedly in and the red being on top pretty much accuses the right of being responsible. Maybe the design team are closet Green Party members. But as if this bag of sad weren’t cluttered enough, there’s this:

Oh, you were right. It can get worse!

Oh, you were right. It can get worse!

Whoops… the stars got higher, the train wreck got shorter and somebody opened up TypeTwister to imperfectly add the website address to a graphic that’s on the website… Listen, Mike, people who don’t even own computers know that they can find your website just by Googling you on their phone! You don’t need the website on your brand and you sure as heck don’t need the www. anymore. It’s not 1992! Start over.

Hey! Our eyes aren't bleeding anymore!

Hey! Our eyes aren’t bleeding anymore!

We tried a number of variations of the train wreck theme and they all stunk. [Everything from gloomy chasm to circus tent.] They looked better than yours and none of them infringed on BOA, but still, they stunk. So we boiled the elements down to one rising red arc for the illusion that your presidency is the only thing that can save us from ourselves and keep those pesky Democrats down. We even left you with that trendy thick/thin type that Chris Christie stole from you, after all… you stole it first. But then you went to Rowan County and set your campaign back thirty years. So be it…

You really deserve less than this, but we're artists.

You really deserve less than this, but we’re artists.

This, we feel, is more in line with the mid-Eighties, Holier-Than-Thou, Moral Majority, Burn-In-Hell-Vibe hate rays you’re zapping out of your eyes lately. Simple and dull, much like your fan base. Technically we could have made it duller with some Helvetica, but we had already opened a can of Dax and didn’t want it to spoil. Honestly, as dated as this looks, we like it! It’s clean and easily readable from a distance or at small sizes which is what every campaign brand should aim for. You could do worse, and apparently have.

We’d await your campaign manager’s call, but we think he’ll be busy with the EMI case for a while. Oh well, there’s always 2020!

-M Styborski

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We Fix Your Brand: 07 Jeb! Bush https://humidcity.com/2015/09/10/we-fix-your-brand-07-jeb-bush/ Thu, 10 Sep 2015 09:18:58 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6425

Goodness, have we done half a dozen rebrands already? Indeed we have! And now it’s time to take a look at one of the 2016 campaign seasons great unknowns. A secretive contestant known only by his exciting first name: Jeb!. [Yes, we ended that sentence with a period. Three guesses why.] Admit it. Those of […]

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Goodness, have we done half a dozen rebrands already? Indeed we have! And now it’s time to take a look at one of the 2016 campaign seasons great unknowns. A secretive contestant known only by his exciting first name: Jeb!. [Yes, we ended that sentence with a period. Three guesses why.]

Jethro done knocked all mah clean bloomers inta tha cee-ment pond!

Jethro done knocked mah laundry inta tha cee-ment pond!

Admit it. Those of you over 40 hear Daisy May Moses screaming this out every time you look at it. Still, there probably isn’t a voter in this country that doesn’t know who Jeb Bush is. Despite laying low in Florida behind that lackluster job market, his secret identity has somehow been sussed by those pesky, meddling kids. Damn bloggers! But what exactly is the story behind this brand of bland flavored potato chips?

It all started back in 2002 when future political poison pill Mike Murphy was picked to run a gubernatorial campaign for plain old Jeb Bush. Murphy had a marketing brainstorm: divorce the candidate from his past by 1) burying his surname in a box under an oak tree at new moon and 2) create faux buzz by pasting a big exclamation point where it used to be! It was a strategy that went over like sliced bread with decaying retirees, their brains weakened by the harsh Floridian sun, and candidate Jeb! was born!

That the strategy was accepted by the campaign at all is incredible in itself because Murphy had crashed and burned it in 1995 with Lamar!. Who? The Presidential Candidate Formerly Known As Lamar Alexander. Unfortunately, even though Alexander wasn’t ashamed of his surname and the idea was actually viable for a relative unknown, the country wasn’t buying Murphy’s oil-soaped excitement. What we have here is a brand that apparently works on just one level. Local. Disagree? Tell us, where are Jeb!’s poll number right now? Yeah, moving on…

Let’s face it, this is as forced and boring as when Yahoo! launched it in 1995. Cripes, it’s even the same shade of red. [We really don’t care who stole whose idea. Google it if you must, but keep it to yourself.] Here’s a screenie:

We can't find Jeb! Games or Jeb! Sports. You'd think at least the Jeb! Mail link would be front and center!

We can’t find Jeb!Games, Jeb!Sports or even Jeb!Mail…

It’s easier to find Waldo than Jeb! on this page. And check out that big slogan in the center; bright, huge, clear, bold type that screams for an exclamation point and… bupkiss! You may as well set it in lower case twelve-point courier and make it 50% gray. This is a baker’s dozen of ho-hum. If you’re going to run your brand on a gimmick, aim for consistency.

Now designers will tell you that a good logo should convey the essence of the product. This is mostly trade babble used to justify astronomical paychecks, but there is a grain of truth there. So what does Jeb! tell us about the product? That it’s easily excited? That it’s imperfectly assymetrical? That it’s going to grab 2016 with both feet and never let go? Or that the product, Jeb!, is hiding from reality. Not only has he dropped his toxic surname, but Jeb isn’t even his real name! I polled two dozen alcoholics and only three guessed his real first name. Go ahead, guess! Nope, it’s John. John Ellis Bush. Get it? J-E-B.

And that’s where you need to start the brand! Not as some folksy nickname with fake punctuation thumbtacked to it. Here’s our solution to what we still view as a relatively weak concept:

We're not thinking of potato chips anymore.

We’re not thinking of potato chips anymore. We might be thinking of jumping some double-deckers on a Harley. In a cape.

Dump the fuddy-duddy, weak-chinned, redneckiness and misshapen punctuation of Baskerville for the bold strength and downright uprightness of Minion Black! Three capital letters which relay the nickname and enforce the initials, underscored by three stars and three stripes [a hidden triple exclamation!!!] representing the three Bushes who would be King! You can’t escape your past so use it, brother! Put it right there in front, warts and all, and show the people you aren’t afraid or ashamed of anything or anyone! But, as they say on the infomercials, there’s more!

Symbolism within symbolism. Like Shakespeare but nobody dies.

Symbolism within symbolism. Like Shakespeare. Or Watchmen. But nobody dies!

Holy Hannah! Did you know the middle letters of your last name are the shorthand initials of our very own country? [We’re certain someone tried this years ago, but we didn’t feel like researching today so we’re claiming it as our own.] So here we have initials hidden in words made out of initials, like a textual Mobius loop! [We can’t wait to ask our therapist what we think of this!] Put it all together and you get JE [Jeb] Bush: US President! You don’t need a fake exclamatory in the graphic because the graphic itself implies the excitement! It’s true! Look at all the exclamations here in this paragraph! Seven! No, wait, eight! Hang on… OK, nine. We’ll leave it at nine. [And that’s three times three…]

We aren’t all that excited about you dragging Murphy out of his coffin, so maybe you could call us personally about this, kk? We promise not to tell him!

-M Styborski

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We Fix Your Brand: 06 Rick Perry https://humidcity.com/2015/09/08/we-fix-your-brand-06-rick-perry/ Wed, 09 Sep 2015 02:36:51 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6413

It’s a beautiful day in the park, folks, and the Perry Lone Stars are ready to play some baseball! You know, even for a baseball team this is a crappy logo. This is what happens when politicians cut arts programs from schools. You end up with a logo your neighbor’s cousin based off of a fast […]

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It’s a beautiful day in the park, folks, and the Perry Lone Stars are ready to play some baseball!

Hey, pennant starts with P too

Pennant starts with P too!

You know, even for a baseball team this is a crappy logo. This is what happens when politicians cut arts programs from schools. You end up with a logo your neighbor’s cousin based off of a fast food chain.

Whaddya mean "out" of onion rings?

Whaddya mean “out” of onion rings?

You did this to yourself, Rick, and we should let you steep in this steaming pile of “Oh, Hell no!” but we are honor bound to a promise we made to improve every candidate brand, regardless of our personal feelings.

Easy stuff first, the ringed text is far too uneven. You see this a lot when people with no graphics skills ask you to design logos. “At the top make it say “Ed’s,” then on the bottom  it should read, “The Place To Go When You Want A Family Dinner For A Low Price But Still Want To Have A Nice Cocktail At The Bar With Your Wife Before Your Meal Is Served By One Of Our Friendly Wait-staff!” ” To put it graphically:

S      P      A      C      I      N      G
ANDBALANCEARECRUCIAL!

See what we did there? Aside from the horrible kerning, Perry is set in a larger font than President. Amateurs do this to make up the space difference. The correct fix is to move the break characters, in this case the stars, up or down to balance the text. It’s not hard, just complicated.

And speaking of those stars: Why? You come from the Lone Star State. The Media refer to you as the Lone Star Candidate. You have three stars here! Three is more than lone! Looks like you cut math programs as well. Drop the ring stars and just use bullets. They still have those in Texas, right?

Hey, pennant starts with P too

Because we never get tired of seeing a trainwreck

However, the true horror here is that conglomeration of suck dead center. At first glance we thought. “Whoah! Reddened, sore, flaccid cock spewing a silvery star-load right at us!” And we were sober! Rick, people feel dirty after seeing this. I’ve gone through a whole pack of Wet Ones just writing this post! The top graphic designers in the country can’t fathom what’s going on with that ugly P at the center of this mess and neither could I until I had a few shots in me. You were trying to be clever!

Pull daddy's handle…

Pull daddy’s handle…

You were going for an old-school, lever-action voting booth motif! It’s so obvious to everyone over the age of 60 who have actually used these antiquated torture chambers to exercise their right to vote! Trouble is, a lot of those folks are dead, Rick. And even if the dead vote in record numbers in Texas, they don’t see the ads! It might have been more apparent had you not covered it up with that slimy star! There are at least a hundred different ways to make this design work and you didn’t come close to a single one. Fortunately, we’re here to pick up your slack!

Say, I don't feel dirty after viewing this!

Say, I don’t feel dirty after viewing this!

We didn’t spend too much time on the ringed text because there was so much work to do elsewhere. It could be better, but at least this gives you the idea. We added “For” because “Perry President” puts a pregnant pause into the mix and is just awkward. Inside the ring however, is a big, bold P for Perry! You can tell it’s an initial because it has a star-shaped period right there. And look… the star is swishing! We realize you wouldn’t accept anything without a little swish to it and luckily your letter P comes with the swish built right in! But we didn’t stop there…

We told you it was an abbreviation. See? Rick P.

We told you it was an abbreviation. See? Rick P.

But wait, there’s more! This is just for the low-thought crowd. We followed through on the whole alliteration thing you were aiming at in the ring and came up with a few humdingers for you…

Perry 11 Passion

Perry 12 Poise

Perry 14 Proven

Perry 15 President

Now don’t those look purdier than a little red pup under a speckled wagon? We do have a caveat, though: when combing our thesaurus for words starting with P, we noticed that pejoratives outnumber the positives, so don’t be surprised when they eventually surface. And some of them are mean!

We anxiously await your campaign manager’s visit. Bring some of that good barbecue! The Kansas City kind, not that bland Dallas stuff!
-M Styborski

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We Fix Your Brand: 05 Donald Trump https://humidcity.com/2015/09/08/we-fix-your-brand-05-donald-trump/ Tue, 08 Sep 2015 10:13:49 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6405

OK, this is a quickie, which is what we all thought Donald Trump’s foray into politics would be. Man, he sure put one over on us! Here’s the nicest, richest, classiest, smartest punk on planet Earth and with all the resources he has at his bellicose beck and call, this is what he comes up […]

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OK, this is a quickie, which is what we all thought Donald Trump’s foray into politics would be. Man, he sure put one over on us! Here’s the nicest, richest, classiest, smartest punk on planet Earth and with all the resources he has at his bellicose beck and call, this is what he comes up with for branding…

Is that all it does?

Is that all it does?

I take issue with the slogan in particular. America is still great. It’s the small-minded, self-serving, pandering jackasses we elect that are the problem. Still, you’ve got to admire someone so blindingly full of himself that all he needs are a name and a slogan that he outright stole from Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campain! No logo, no stars, no flames, eagles, flags or wavy lines. A red field to remind folks he’s a Republican [for now] and a heavy-handed gradient which, we guess, is supposed to conjure an image of shiny silver! Happy fucking days are here again! But technically, this is just the start of things on his website. Here’s his most recent design:

Ten bucks a pop at The Donald's campaign domain

From zero to ten stars in just ten bucks

There are children on Zazzle selling cooler Trump yard signs! We do like the creme, though. We think it adds the slightest touch of professionalism and class to one of the biggest boors to ever set foot in the political ring. The blue field is clearly an attempt to confuse voters into thinking he’s some kind of a Democrat. Still, it’s just a whole lot of run-of-the-mill here. Truly, we expected six-foot by eight-foot digital yard signs that played a “Vote for me or you’re FIRED!” MP3 while his wife-of-the-month jiggled around in a bikini made of thousand dollar bills, blowing kisses to passers-by. Another case of Jetson’s flying car denied, we suppose. Still, how can we hold that against the man who made Nixon’s peace greeting cool again!

I am not a crook

I am not a crook either

So we had to at least try to do something here. The point of these exercises is not to create the perfect campaign design, but to at least create something better than what the candidates relatives have created for them. And while we’re quite proud of many of these designs, we really think we hit upon the single most important design of the 2016 presidential race. A design so bold that it will galvanize millions of people to Trump’s camp upon viewing! A design so honest that no-one could ever read anything into it that wasn’t there! Ladies and gentles, we give you, for your entertainment pleasure, the be-all and end-all of the 2016 presidential race:

Game over, man

Game over, man

No color because there is nothing but black and white in Trump’s mind; no gray areas at all. Trajan for his name because only the most annoying, overused, pretentious, sick-of-the-fucking-sight-of-it Hollywood typeface in the world could hope to encompass what it is to be Trump. And the slogan that will win this election hands down, “I’m rich. Fuck you.”

Seriously, every political talking head, reporter, journalist and blogger has said as much about his campaign, yet in far less direct terms. Trump’s wealth is the reason he’s on the stage and it’s the reason he gets away with being the callous pig he is. The small-minded, small-town yokels like those at his recent Alabama dirt track hoe-down love his “speaks his mind” attitude! NBC interviewed a half dozen of them and every single one gave that as the reason they liked him; loved him, even! When asked about his platform and policies, none could muster anything beyond, “Well, I dunno much about that, but I do plan to read up on it!” Yeah, just as soon as you get them new-fangled electricical light hooked up, right?

A slogan like this would drive his current gaggle of fans into a batshit frenzy, straight to the to the polling booth! Millions more would sign up to vote for the first time ever just because they finally found someone who speaks their language! I’m telling you; this is the winner, right here!

Donald, fuck your campaign manager. I want to negotiate this one with you personally. And bring the big wallet!

-M Styborski

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We Fix Your Brand: 04 Martin O’Malley https://humidcity.com/2015/09/08/we-fix-your-brand-04-martin-omalley/ Tue, 08 Sep 2015 08:30:40 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6390

Well so far we’ve taken on three Republicans in a row. I’m not picking on them, it’s just that there are so many more of them out there this year. Believe me, there’s a ton of suck on both sides of the political branding spectrum. Case in point: Martin O’Malley. This is the essence of […]

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Well so far we’ve taken on three Republicans in a row. I’m not picking on them, it’s just that there are so many more of them out there this year. Believe me, there’s a ton of suck on both sides of the political branding spectrum. Case in point: Martin O’Malley.

You missed a spot at the corner there

You missed a spot at the corner there

This is the essence of the O’Malley design plan. It’s a word balloon. Kind of. More like a word square. With big, blocky, obnoxious text in it. The idea here is to convey some sort of word-of-mouth thing like everybody’s talking about O’Malley. There are other iterations that have O’Malley quotes inside and a logofied version that give us the impression that Martin is some kind of transcendental hippie with one foot still in the commune.

Ummm…

Ummm…

Now don’t get me wrong, this is a pretty decent idea but I think it’s a bit of horse before the cart. It probably would have been better to get O’Malley some name recognition first, outside of whatever state he’s from, then bring out this campaign after people started talking about him. So far my only recollection of him is that he was somewhere near Bernie Sanders when some unruly protesters broke up a speech. But enough of poor planning. That’s not what we’re here for. We’re here to fix the suck of this brand.

First, the “word balloon” just isn’t doing the job. Has Martin ever read a comic book or strip? Has his design team? Square word balloons aren’t widely used in comics unless a robot has something to say. There are some lazy letterers who do use them now, and the result is a pretty dull and antiseptic page where space is wasted that could contain what passes for art these days. Not only that, but the tails-the little pointy things that show whose mouth is making the words-generally fold under the balloon and not out of the panel. Lastly, you don’t fill a space meant to convey human speech with thick slabs of blocky text. This isn’t word-of-mouth; this is a logo for a soon-to-fail computer company from 1995.

But how to fix this? We ran through quite a few roughs before hitting the nail on the head, which only goes to show you that you shouldn’t just run with the first thing your nephew draws for you! At first we tried making more realistic word balloons and filling them with traditional hand-lettered text. Looked just like it leaped off the funnybook page! The drawback was that it looked just like it leaped off the funnybook page. Not an image you want to project when running for president unless you’re Larry Harmon.

Then we scrapped the whole word-of-mouth idea for a more traditional design. It looked nice, but boring. No matter the typeface, that darn old apostrophe got in the way. So we hid it. We used a typeface that had square O with rounded corners [Bank Gothic] and placed a big, red, hand drawn check mark right on top of it. The idea was to emulate old hand signed ballots. The end of the check mark came out of the box at the top right and essentially became the apostrophe. It looked hideous. Another example of a good idea that just didn’t play well on the page. [So don’t feel bad Team O’Malley, even geniuses like us squirt out a few clunkers! We just don’t let anyone see them. You know, because we’re geniuses! Genii?]

So then we just started moving things around randomly. At one point our word balloon tail landed on the edge of the O and a eureka moment was born! The word-of-mouth concept was saved and the tail became the apostrophe! Except that in order to use the shorthand “O’M” it would mean multiple reducing images inside each other as an infinity shot, each one leaving the M outside its box and gah… horrible! Curses, foiled again!

So we gave up and went drinking.

For a day.

And when we came back, we got it right. We really don’t remember how because there was a lot of vodka involved, but after another day of drying out we looked upon what we had wrought and declared it good.

Who knew vodka was this good at design?

Who knew vodka was this good at design?

Sugo is a bold, dynamic font without being cold and mechanical. I think if Charlton Heston spoke in type it would look like this. The brackets serve as the word balloon without making the whole image look confined. The tail comes from the left [Democrats, liberals, etc,] and from the top [representing that someone is speaking to you. A tail pointing downward makes it look as if you’re the one speaking,] and the main graphic is set to the left to allow the 2016 to rest there innocuously [for now] at the lower right. And while that 2016 may seem out of place, it fits into a more dynamic part of the campaign, as you’ll see.

Like I said earlier, unless there’s a certain name recognition, nobody is going to get the “O’M” thing, so you need to spread a few ads around containing both the shorthand and longhand of the candidates name before you can just start plastering the shorthand around on its own.

This is starting to look like a well planned campaign

This is starting to look like a well planned campaign

The dialogue bracket and the O’M are in the exact same place while the closing bracket has, well… closed. To the right is the campaign slogan. [Actually, the slogan is “Rebuilding the American Dream” but dreams don’t need rebuilding; they need realization! So, yeah, we changed that for you. You can thank us with cash or vodka.] Below the slogan is the candidates full name and election year [set in a more mechanical Packenham to differentiate speaker from spoken] split by a thin white line which connects to a longer white underline. In the early days of newspaper editorial cartoons, this is how word balloons were done. A single underline below the text and a directional toward the speaker. This doubles down on the word-of-mouth concept as everything above that white line comes directly from the candidate, while it may be inferred that the O’M logo represents someone asking the viewer, “Did you hear what O’Malley said?”

O'Malley 03

O'Malley 04

No, there are no capital letters here. O’Malley speaks in long, properly punctuated sentences and sometimes the best stuff is in the middle. Save the caps for his name and logo. And no, there aren’t any quotation marks. You really don’t need them with this concept. You could have them if you want them, but honestly they just clutter up the space. Keep the quotes short and specific; keep the design simple, open and bright. The scope of this design can run forever, seriously, as long as Martin has something interesting to say. I picked my two favorite quotes for this exercise and I could see a series like this going over big in the political ephemera market. People love to collect a series!

Oh, and have your campaign manager call us. We’ll do lunch!

-M Styborski

 

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We Fix Your Brand: 03 Chris Christie https://humidcity.com/2015/09/07/we-fix-your-brand-03-chris-christie/ Tue, 08 Sep 2015 03:59:56 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6380

In our third episode we tackle the incredible lump of boredom that is Chris Christie. This isn’t a bad brand, but it’s generically bland. As bland as Mike Huckabee’s text, in fact, which this essentially copies width for width. Thin/thick weighted text is all the rage for the next few months until someone breaks a new hard […]

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In our third episode we tackle the incredible lump of boredom that is Chris Christie. This isn’t a bad brand, but it’s generically bland. As bland as Mike Huckabee’s text, in fact, which this essentially copies width for width. Thin/thick weighted text is all the rage for the next few months until someone breaks a new hard and fast design rule and creates the Next Big Trend In Design. Politically, however, this just sits there and says, “Vote for the fat guy for a lean tomorrow.” The slogan does nothing to inspire voters about the candidate or the future, but just reminds them that this guy won’t shut up about what’s wrong long enough to think of a way to fix it. Additionally, the slogan been spread to death. you have to look twice to be able to read this while it’s stagnant on a computer screen. Imagine the trouble your dad will have trying to read it on a yard sign at 20 mph!

We'll tell you, like, it's boring

We’ll tell you, like, it’s boring

Christie had a much better slogan a while back: “Let’s Get To Work!” Nobody actually believes that will happen, but it conveys an infinitely more inspiring message! We admit having trouble with this one at first. We had tried a two-tiered Chris Christie using one big C that wasn’t doing anything for him or us and we were just staring blankly at our laptop keyboard when the power button invaded our eyespace. And there it was. Truncate the candidate to C Christie, turn him unconventionally on his side and marry that to the better slogan! Done.

Boring+unconventional=distraction

Boring+unconventional=distraction

For the top text we used the trendy Keep Calm typeface which thickens nicely and has a less overused set of numerals. Down below we went outside the box for Synchro, a typeface that resembles the CRT screens which somehow still manage to infest many government offices. We toyed with green and orange here, but on white it’s somewhat offputting. On black it’s OK, but not terribly political looking. Then we ust kind of scotch-taped Christie’s big button there at the end.

Technically, this isn’t great design, [though that logo rawks,] but considering Christie’s checkered record a branding controversy is just the thing to make people stop talking about his gubernatorial problems. Instead of awkward “bridgegate” questions he can spend hours explaining why the logo is sideways and how computers are the wave of the future!

Chris, operators are standing by to take your campaign managers call!

-M Styborski

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We Fix Your Brand: 02 Ben Carson https://humidcity.com/2015/09/07/we-fix-your-brand-02-ben-carson/ Tue, 08 Sep 2015 01:48:21 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6371

In our last episode we tidied up Marco Rubio’s brand and in all honesty, there really wasn’t a lot to do. Ben Carson is a different matter. The Carson team broke out of the gate with a truly bad branding attempt. So bad it only lasted two short months under heavy criticism before being mothballed. Gold […]

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In our last episode we tidied up Marco Rubio’s brand and in all honesty, there really wasn’t a lot to do. Ben Carson is a different matter. The Carson team broke out of the gate with a truly bad branding attempt. So bad it only lasted two short months under heavy criticism before being mothballed.

We just threw some ideas against the wall and left them there...

We just threw some ideas against the wall and left them there…

Gold is a nice change, I suppose, but we’ve been force fed so much red, white and blue by campaigns that it just looks showy. Still, that’s nothing compared to the semaphore eagle cleverly hidden within the A of America. I think he’s signaling an “L” for “Lame.” I didn’t even see the eagle when I first saw this on my phone. I thought it was a pair of Abbie Hoffman’s bell-bottoms! And nobody has yet been able to justify that ribbony apostrophe flailing off the A and creating the epithet that represents the fact-averse, mouth-breathing crowd of yokels that haunt a thinking man’s dreams: ‘Merica! Apparently the backlash against this brand petrified the Carson team so badly that all they could muster as a replacement was this:

Just use Helvetica. And don't get creative with the colors!

Just use Helvetica. And don’t get creative with the colors!

Helvetica! Nothing screams President of the United States like the world’s most inescapeable Swiss typeface! Unless you add in an unbalanced color scheme capable of causing epileptic seizures in people who don’t actually have epilepsy. And what’s with the baby blue? Clearly your design team couldn’t handle balancing two colors; why on earth let them try three? Then there are those teensy little plus signs. We get it: plus signs in your text equals trendy! Except that really only works when they’re the same height as the text and unspaced. This just looks like your team wasn’t certain if they’d look good so they tried to hide them. If that’s your thought process, then take them out entirely!

So, what can be done? Plenty! The slate is basically blank but let’s take a little direction from both of these hideous designs and see if two wrongs can actually make a right! First, the name merging; CarsonAmerica is awkward. But notice that they share two letters in the same order at the extremes. Just swap them around! We put your name in red to make it pop which leaves blue for America. The shared letters stay red for name recognition but use a blue outline to complete America. No more ‘Merica, but an easily distinguished America Carson! Bonus: the colors combined with the text imply that you’re the guy who will unite the blue Dems on the left and the red Reps on the right! The red pinstripe ties it all together and we set the text in Eagle to make up for the loss of the eagle graphic.

You seem like you really wanted a jazzy graphic inserted into your text, so we went with the overused-so-much-it’s-now-expected motif of using a star to compliment a letter. You’ve already dazzled your audience with a word merger, keep the rest simple! Designers hate that star trick, but sometimes you gotta give the people what they want! Bold, clever and most importantly, readable at all sizes!

The best of both worlds

The best of both worlds

We got rid of “For President 2016” because at this point that’s useless information. You’ve got the name recognition and people realize your ambitions. Slim down to the essentials! The last thing we did was strip in an uncluttered and more balanced version of your slogan, also readable at all sizes in Bank Gothic. Straight white text for the full red, white and blue American effect and it balances nicely with the star above.

As always, we invite your campaign manager to contact us!

-M Styborski

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We Fix Your Brand: 01 Marco Rubio https://humidcity.com/2015/09/07/we-fix-your-brand-01-marco-rubio/ Mon, 07 Sep 2015 23:05:14 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6359

Introducing a new series to keep you entertained during the coming political wasteland that will be the next thirteen months! In this series we will be fixing the terrible design choices made by the folks who want to run our country. As we all know, style is everything! All designs in this series will follow […]

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Introducing a new series to keep you entertained during the coming political wasteland that will be the next thirteen months! In this series we will be fixing the terrible design choices made by the folks who want to run our country. As we all know, style is everything! All designs in this series will follow a standard 11.5″ x 3″ bumper-sticker size.

Marco Rubio's second time at bat

Marco Rubio’s second time at bat

So, the interwebz is in an absolute tizzy because Marco Rubio didn’t include Alaska and Hawaii in his refurbished campaign brand. You know, because it’s written in The Constitution that any graphic depiction of the United States must include all 50 states, right? Wrong.

Remember when everybody cried about the missing 49th and 50th states here? No. Neither do we.

Remember the butthurt over this? Neither do we.

Alaska and Hawaii get shafted a lot because of their geographic locations, not to mention the size difference between the two make it doubly difficult to include them on product or political packaging and still maintain any sense of balance. Use of the continental United States has long been marketing shorthand for representing the nation as a whole and there are even a few political precedents for this as well, not the least of which is LBJ’s 1964 campaign. Back in the internetless dark ages of The Sixties our collective feelings weren’t trained to lash out at the smallest little things as if someone set our children on fire. My, how far we’ve  evolved!

I really don’t have an issue with the missing latecomer states, but there’s also a bit of a kerfuffle over Rubio’s design team squishing our massive chunk of landscape to a smudge above his name. While I don’t agree that it implies Marco thinks himself bigger than the country, I do agree that there are complete morons out there who will think this, so it’s probably a good idea to find another idea. If you’re really stuck on this, then make your design team work for their money and dot the i with individual states. All 50 of them! Use each state in media designed for that specific state! [Note: Hawaii is still going to be a problem.]

Granted, this is much better than the Macy’s logo he was using previously, but truth be told, “rubio” combined with the USA graphic just kinda screams talk-radio station. All that’s missing is the call sign and frequency. And maybe some of those jagged, radiating electrical lines leading from the little USA graphic.

Menswear sale! This weekend only!

Menswear sale! This weekend only at Marco Rubio!

First, get rid of Avant Garde. It’s a good font if you want interconnected capitals that make your logo look all 1970’s newspaper advert, but the lower case letterforms–which is all you need–can be found elsewhere with better kerning, shape and weight. Futura, for instance. [Which appears to be what your slogan is set in.] It keeps the Art Deco style going, but to add that touch of young and hip, drop the dot! Nothing says modern, fun, youthful attitude than throwing caution, and your i-dot, out the window! But that leaves you a little texty and overly sparse and there’s that ascender sticking way up in the air like a big flagpole or something! [Yes, OK, we raised the bar here by custom ascending that ascender. So sue us.] Oh, what to do? Wait… did we say flagpole? Why yes, we did!

Look ma, no dot!

Look ma, no dot!

We created a bespoke American Flag for this and ran it up the pole! Not only does it fill out that section, but it dots the bejeepers out of the i without sacrificing any of the fifty states! Look, count the stars; they’re all there! Last thing is to move that slogan off the bottom and use it to balance out the top. Of course, this is still a tad texty, so we stripped in an action stripe for you! Finally, we took some of the depression out of that blue you were using. Seriously, our cat saw it and sulked under the bed for an hour. Cat people vote in record numbers, you know!

Now this is a logo your mom can be proud of!

Now this is a logo your mom can be proud of!

One typeface, minimal customization and you have a fresh, lean brand. No muss, no fuss! Which brings us to the “Boom! Mic Drop.” portion of our series. Feel free to have your campaign manager give us a ring!

-M Styborski

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Airbnb: Unraveling the fabric of New Orleans’ neighborhoods https://humidcity.com/2015/06/23/insideairbnb_nola/ Tue, 23 Jun 2015 23:19:27 +0000 http://humidcity.com/?p=6338

Thanks to InsideAirbnb, quantification of Airbnb’s impact upon New Orleans may now be examined easily with a critical eye. Its summary of the real-time data presented includes the following: Airbnb in New Orleans According to Inside Airbnb data, there is at least 2,614 Airbnb listings in New Orleans, and while the City requires all Bed […]

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Image courtesy of http://insideairbnb.com/new-orleans/

Image courtesy of http://insideairbnb.com/new-orleans/

Thanks to InsideAirbnb, quantification of Airbnb’s impact upon New Orleans may now be examined easily with a critical eye. Its summary of the real-time data presented includes the following:

Airbnb in New Orleans

According to Inside Airbnb data, there is at least 2,614 Airbnb listings in New Orleans, and while the City requires all Bed and Breakfast operators obtain a permit, the city registry currently only lists 320 properties, most of which appear to be held by established operators.

In addition, there are an estimated 1,211 listings (or 46% of listings) for an“Entire home/apartment” rented out frequently for an average of 193 nights per year. With the “host” not present in these “homes”, these listings are illegal and, more importantly, taking away residential housing in a city named by CNN/Money as one of the worst cities for renters in the U.S..

Of the 2,614 individual listings noted, 1,764 or 67.5% allow for use of the entire home/apartment. As noted above, 1,211 listings (46%) are occupied as illegal short-term rentals often enough to effectively prohibit more traditional occupation by a standard rental tenant. The data also reveals that an estimated 45% of the listings are posted by individuals offering more than one property for use as an Airbnb rental.

One can drill down on the various neighborhoods identified to discover exquisitely specific real-time data:

  • In the French Quarter, there are currently 183 active Airbnb listings with 93 (50.9%) of those being wholly unavailable for residential rental use; 90.7% of those listings (166 units) allow for use of the entire home/apartment.
  • In the Faubourg Marigny, there are currently 174 active Airbnb listings with 82 (46.9%) being wholly unavailable for residential rental use; 70.7% of those listings (123 units) allow for use of the entire home/apartment.
  • In Tremé-Lafitte, there are currently 194 active Airbnb listings with 83 (42.6%) being wholly unavailable for residential rental use; 54.6% of those listings (106 units) allow for use of the entire home/apartment.
  • In the Bywater neighborhood, there are currently 141 active Airbnb listings with 68 (47.9%) being wholly unavailable for residential rental use; 71.6% of those listings (101 units) allow for use of the entire home/apartment.

In just those four neighborhoods, the data indicates that a cumulative total of 496 homes/apartments are presently unavailable as rental units for the citizens of New Orleans. As it is unlikely that all illegal short-term rental operators/hosts solicit guests via Airbnb, it is worth emphasizing that this number reflects only those sites being offered via Airbnb.

I began asking Mayor Landrieu the following question at the District C Community Meeting in September of 2011:

In the French Quarter, one of the biggest threats to the residential base is the proliferation of illegal short-term rentals. What action will the city’s Administration take to stem this tide and enforce the laws on the books? This is a potential revenue stream for our cash-strapped city. These operations don’t pay the hotel/motel taxes and they undercut legitimate hotels and bed & breakfasts. They reduce the availability of rental units for people who wish to reside in this neighborhood.

At the District C Community Meeting in 2012, I repeated that question — word for word — and received an equally lackluster response.

In 2013, I briefly referenced the subject again, but instead of repeating the question noted, I chose to use that opportunity to address the mayor by advocating on behalf for the New Orleans Police Department’s budget, as it had become obvious by that time that addressing the issue of illegal short-term rentals was not a priority for our city’s administration.

Yesterday it was reported that Councilmember Susan Guidry had expressed her frustration regarding Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration’s recent decision to indefinitely shelve the prosecutions of nine suspected short-term-rental operators:

“‘I agree that it is imperative that we act to restrict short-term rentals. We are working on a way to regulate the property owners,’ Guidry said. ‘Meanwhile, it is my belief that we could act more aggressively to enforce. I have spoken with Safety and Permits about my thoughts on this and will do so again.'”

The same article also notes that “Councilwoman Stacy Head has been leading an effort to draft a regulatory framework for short-term rentals, but a vote is likely weeks, if not months, away.” One has to wonder why, given that the city of Santa Monica, CA has recently adopted a home-sharing ordinance that could easily be replicated as a sensible approach:

 
Santa Monica has also created new webpage added to its Planning and Community Development website which clearly and concisely outlines the applicable rules and regulations applying to two types of Short-Term Rentals:

  • Home-Sharing” – The new law authorizes Home-Sharing, which is an activity whereby a resident hosts visitors in their home, for periods of 30 consecutive days or less, while at least one of the primary residents lives on-site throughout the visitor’s stay.  The guest enjoys the non-exclusive shared use of the unit with at least one of the persons who is domiciled at the location.
  • “Vacation Rental” – The new law continues the City’s longstanding prohibition against Vacation Rentals.  A Vacation Rental is a rental of any dwelling unit, in whole or in part, to any persons for exclusive transient use of 30 consecutive days or less, whereby the unit is only approved for permanent residential occupancy and not approved for transient occupancy.  The guest enjoys the exclusive private use of the unit.

Mayor Landrieu and New Orleans City Councilmembers: When something this simple and sensible already exists, it is unconscionably foolish to delay meaningful action any further — the hand-wringing can stop now. Please act now to ensure the stability of our city’s neighborhoods and in a manner which reflects that New Orleans, first and foremost, is a community — not a commodity. May these words from a letter to the editor of the North Denver Tribune guide your actions:

Residential neighborhoods are prized for their comparative stability. One knows one’s neighbors, whether owners or renters, and changes in the makeup of the neighborhood are relatively slow and predictable. Neighborhood stability is a shared social good – created by all together, it is not a commodity for sale by any particular resident. 
 


 
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