attin002: March 2010 Archives

In my last blog I cover Marketability in relation to Finance, but after considering it I realized I was actually talking about marketability and its social impact, more specifically the ethics concerning the branding of public space. I kind of got on a tangent on the issue of control and how when anyone, specifically companies, try to control others by through any means it may harbor for the devolution of society, for it prevents the individual from being self-reliant. I kind of regret seeming so cynical, and I wanted my next blog to focus on the positives of a post-modern capitalist society and the idea that society is like a living organism and we are all working together to help each other out. Initially one might feel intimidated or fearful of entering a world that seems everyone is competing in the exact field you are, however call me naive (which is fair) but I have faith that once we are in the 'real world' we will be in the habitat of networks and support systems where people are helping each other out. You know, that story about the Chinese people in Heaven and Hell and the chopsticks and the food and stuff? Where both Heaven and Hell ended up being one large circle of people with long arms (or chopstick or something) shoulder to shoulder around a pile or delicious food? And the people in Hell were starving around this food because they were all trying to feed themselves, but the people in Heaven were happy and full because they were feeding eath other? Yeah, something like that. So what I'm saying is next class we will have a potluck and you can only feed other people. hm.

With that long introduction, I am choosing to blog on 'marketability' in relation to 'personal.' At first when pondering the idea of marketing oneself, my cynicism jumped in and I internally scoffed and thought, "just another downfall of our capitalist society dependent on the vulnerability of specialization, selling 'yourself'." But then I considered this a little more and had a more 'Danny Tanner' take on the whole thing. We've been told hundreds of times that the working world is a semi-permeable (becuase these connections don't really exist, you know, it is an idea, but maybe one of these connections are currently shaking hands, therefore: 'semi-permeable') web of networks. So what I'm saying is next class we will have a potluck, and play Red Rover.

Marketability, a measure of the ability of a security to be bought and sold, is relative to a company and its ability to sustain its existence; marketability is also relative to the individual and his or her ability to sustain their existence. I think where marketing in general has strayed from in the past few years is the sort of marketing that is boastful, dishonest, and misleading.

Examples of more honest/modest design and marketing:

+ Apple (or course)clutter-free aesthetic and 'honest' personality of Apple (except for their 'dishonest' representation of consistently prevalent dimensional and hyper-buffered floors for every damn icon and product they own)

+ Playstation- Honesty is funny, watch this ad if you haven't already, its pretty good.

+Aveda and their campaigns for social and environmental progress. Designs are simple, honest, an informative

Ok I've only given a few examples, but I do see this being a trend. But when companies are honest, they spend more time making really neat things instead of putting effort into pretending they are something they aren't. They probably were able to reach this point after being successful, for they weren't afraid to take the risk. Fear makes people do crazy things, while honesty makes people do interesting things. In the words of Stefan Sagmeister, "Everybody who's honest is interesting." and.. "Being not truthful works against me."

With 'marketability' and 'personal' I probably could have listed a bunch of resources for creating websites and networking, but I hope my message still seems relevant. What I am trying to conclude here with all this seemingly random information is this: when going into the scary real world we should fight any fear we have with confidence and honesty, not with the mindset that the world will take care of us but because of the freedom honesty gives us in creating work that can be innovative and interesting. Sure intimidation is a great motivator, but we can at least try to create a world free from superficiality.

I'm looking forward to this Red Rover potluck thing.


www.watchfullhouseepisodes.com
http://www.sagmeister.com/index.html


In season 5, episode 1 titled, "Fizz Ed," in response to the proposal for the marketing of a cola brand in Lawndale High, Daria asks the principle "Do you really think a public high school should be using its status as a place of authority to serve as one more marketing tentacle of corporate America with the taxpayers subsidizing it?" Daria agrees with the author of No Logo, Naomi Klein, that the individual has a right to unbranded space, especially in an educational institution. (1) Naomi Klein, a well-established Canadian writer who writes on topics dealing with corporate globalization, is an advocate for the importance of 'quasi-sacred' space, space that is free from financial purpose. We are in a pioneering and rapidly growing time of globalization and I feel as emerging designers we have the responsibility to be constantly considering the ethics and possible outcomes in a economy dependant on mass marketing, whether that marketing is in print, interactive web design, or projections on a building.

Post-modernism, starting around the 1960's, is different from Modernism, Transcendentalism, Romanticism, and other collective intellectual movements in that we are in a time where the individual is much more complicated than ever before and takes on infinite identities, whether it is on a personal, local, national, or abstract level. Throughout our day we are constantly hit with marketing that speaks to these many identities. Ad agencies are interested in 'expanding their market' to new identities or personas. While they may believe they are speaking to already constructed personas, I believe it is marketing campaigns that actually do much of the constructing. The individual in today's capitalist society is overwhelmed with advertisement, yet completely dependent on the stimulus it provides. The increase in stimulus in a day may not necessarily be a bad thing, for according to author of 'Everything Bad for you is Good for You' this actually allows for a more intellectual society.

In my opinion, in this type of high-stimulus society, the individual can ether observe and react in a positive way through reaction and the formation of opinions, or the individual can be overwhelmed and consumed by the marketing so they end up like corporate zombies.

In 2007 Sao Paulo, the world's 4th largest city, outlawed outdoor advertising under the "Lei Cidade Limpa" or "Clean City Law." (3) The mayor said it was for environmental reasons but also describes the advertising as visual pollution. "We decided that we should start combating pollution with the most conspicuous sector - - visual pollution." I believe it is important to consider what might mean 'too much' advertising and what sort of negative reaction might be made by the observer.

So what as designers can we take from this information? I believe it is important to be aware of our increasing 'branded space" due to the post-modern individual's infinite identities, therefore infinite demographics and target markets. I believe it is important to consider that because of increased stimulus from advertising corporate societies are becoming more intelligent and able to formulate opinions easier, meaning advertising and design work should be intelligent as well. It is important for designers to be constantly learning and viewing the world in retrospect, for unintelligent designs either offend the intellectual individual or further polarize the zombies.

I got to quote Daria and use the word, 'zombies' in this post, I'd say it was successful.

(1) http://www.naomiklein.org/no-logo
(2) Johnson, Steven. Everything Bad is Good for You. Riverhead
(3) http://www.alternet.org/story/60084/

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