Tag Archive: marketing


Review by C.J. Bunce

In art director and designer Roger Christian’s book Cinema Alchemist (reviewed here at borg) readers learn how the Oscar-winning set designer changed the way audiences see the future through intentionally distressed sets and props and the clever incorporation of real-world components.  In books like Dressing a Galaxy, Star Wars Costumes, and Star Trek Costumes, readers can see how costume designers create what we think of as the future.  Now writer Dave Addey takes science fiction fans back to visit how visionary filmmakers of classic science fiction used futuristic and sometimes even classic fonts and type styles to convey what lies ahead and in his book Typeset in the Future: Typography and Design in Science Fiction Movies, available now from Abrams Books.

At first focusing on what he believes to be the most pervasive font of the future, Eurostile Bold Extended–used in Back to the Future, Apollo 13, Battlestar Galactica, Independence Day, and hundreds of other films–Dave Addey highlights seven key science fiction films and how they used a wide variety of typeface designs to make us see the future.  2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Blade Runner, Total Recall, Wall·E, and Moon (alas, no Star Wars, possibly because it is not technically science fiction per se) each get taken apart and dissected.  With numerous screencaps, and identification of several dozen font designs inside the films and used in marketing via posters and other advertisements, readers will be surprised what set designers came up with over the past 50 years.

Addey finds some of the fonts made famous in film have filtered into our daily lives as real-world corporate logos–Gill Sans Light, City Bold, Univers 59 Ultra Bold Condensed, Manifold, Futura Bold, Kabel Book, Computer, Micr, Data 70, Stop, Handel Gothic, Pump Demi, Swiss 911 Ultra Compressed, Gunship–these will all be familiar to you even if you don’t know them by name.  With his own pop culture knowledge and sense of humor, he has also built his own framework to analyze the success of these fonts, using manipulation via italic slant, curved lettering, straightening others, adding sharp points, adjusting kern or spacing, creating slices through letters, adding texture, adding a bevel or extrusion, and/or a star field background, although he says no title font has yet used them all to become the most futuristic of all.

Here is a look inside the book:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

How do you get your kicks?  Maybe you buy them online, maybe at a mall shoe store, or a classic locally owned standalone shop.  Wherever you buy your sneakers, tennis shoes, running shoes, however you define them and whatever you call them, they are as personal a purchase as anything you need, jeans, T-shirts, socks, etc.  According to author and frequent writer on the shoe industry Elizabeth Semmelhack, a small but growing crowd of shoe buyers are looking for shoes that express their personality, in what has become an industry taking in billions of consumer dollars in a merger of haute and popular culture.  This week fans of exclusive shoe wearing–and collecting–have a new guide to this burgeoning trend, Collab: Sneakers X Culture, from Rizzoli/Electa books.

This is the latest of the high-end art books from Rizzoli that focus on style and culture in areas you might not have thought about.  This full-color hardcover with a textured leather shoe feel–and a book mark that is really a yellow shoe string–has photographs representing the spectrum of designer sneaker collaborations with a key focus on the 21st century.  Shoe companies have partnered with all sorts of “personalities of the week” to advertise, market and even influence the evolution of sneakers going back to the very first examples of the modern athletic shoe.  You can search your favorite shoe manufacturer right now on Amazon with the word “Collab” and find the latest combination of celebrity–usually the latest pop music icon or athlete, but sometimes including social media influencers, too–and shoe manufacturer that partnered with them because together they believed they had the right fit.

Concept artwork for the Pyer Moss x Reebok, DMX Daytona Experiment 2.

It begins with a smart foreword that sets up the background for anyone not familiar with this mash-up of two worlds by rapper Jacques Slade.  Author Elizabeth Semmelbeck takes readers back to the beginning, with shoe innovations conceived by Adi and Rudi Dassler, Josef Waitzer, Jack Purcell, Robert Haillet, Stan Smith, and Chuck Taylor.  She documents Walt Disney, Run-DMC, Chanel, Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams, Eminem, 50 Cent, Wu-Tang Clan, Rihanna, and dozens of other shoe and artists “collabs” in the book’s 256 pages.

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Sometimes the marketeers get everything exactly right (one of our favorites is still that Coma ad pack we received 7 years ago).  And that goes for a new roleplaying game from Wendy’s.  Yep, that’s right, a fully fleshed-out roleplaying game from everyone’s favorite fast food restaurant that serves Frostys.  And best of all, it’s free (you can download the entire 97-page rulebook and campaign guide below).  Not only is it capitalizing (“capital” as in in-your-face, unapologetic commercialism) on the recent wave of interest in Dungeons & Dragons that was re-kindled by Stranger Things, the new roleplaying game Feast of Legends will probably divert at least a few groups of Wednesday night gamers to join in on a fun (and humorous) new adventure.

Feast of Legends is another good introduction to roleplaying games and springboard to the real deal.  It includes a Rule Book and Game Master’s Guide with five campaigns to be led by your designated Game Master: Take on The Queen’s Quest, Trouble at Frosty Canyon, Lighting of the Bacon Beacon, The Biggie Vale, and The Deep Freeze, plus there’s a chapter on expansion play.  Make your own character, join one of the 14 orders, or use pre-designed character sheets via a “quick start guide” to get on your way, with instructions on how to do so.  This isn’t your typical throwaway giveaway.  Players have five levels to achieve, and the book has all of the details on gameplay, adventuring, and yes, you will use food, specifically Wendy’s menu items, cleverly incorporated along the way.  One of the underlying themes is Wendy’s advertising fresh meat over frozen, so a key villain here is the Ice Jester–a not-so-subtle jab at Ronald McDonald.  His lair?  A playhouse with tunnels and a colorful ball pit.  Brilliant!  Constable Von Freeze steps in for Mayor McCheese…  Beware the Mimic Meal…  Can you help Queen Wendy, by sneaking into the Deep Freeze and stop the Ice Jester before he can march on Freshtovia and start a new Frozen Age?

Although we wish we could credit by name the Wendy’s inside marketing team that wrote these rules, a big shout-out is owed to Alex Lopez for illustrations that mash-up the visual style from both classic RPG and Wendy’s iconography.  Neither Lopez nor mapmaker Collin Fogel appear to have created illustrations before for D&D producer Wizards of the Coast, but this rule book should help them get their foot in the door (if D&D is really their thing).

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No other subject rips conversations apart like it.  It sets brother against brother, spouse against spouse.   What can you say about Pumpkin Spice that hasn’t already been said?  It may be the elephant in the room at your house, but here we’re goin’ to throw all our cards on the table.  It’s everywhere, so why not embrace it?  (Unless you hate it).  You can’t love pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and shun the same flavor dripped into your coffee, or muffin, or yogurt, or cereal.  (Right?)  So like the “Big G” Monster Cereals, the arrival of the most sought-after of spices is in full swing (they’re back, too, all again except for Fruit Brute and Yummy Mummy).  We first saw the flavor of pumpkin spice in grocery stores beginning way back on August 18.  But now you don’t need to be a spice smuggler to find it.  The flavor has done more than infuse itself into a few coffee shops.  And it’s now taken over pretty much every aisle of the store.

Often labeled “with pumpkin” or “pumpkin-flavored” or “limited time only” in marketing materials–presumably to ward off buyers offended by the PS banner–the “sans spice” labeling will not fool us.  Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice and maybe some actual pumpkin or just a flavoring added in, is mixed-together-magic.  We’re going to tell you it’s okay to climb aboard and enjoy the ride.  (Or don’t).

We finally decided to track everything we see this year.  And here’s what we found, some new, some you may have seen before:

Just try to tell us these Toll House Baking Truffles wouldn’t make for an amazing cookie.

Pumpkin Spice Life.  What more can you say?

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atari

If you didn’t live through life with an original Pong video game console or the groundbreaking Atari 2600, then you missed out on the beginning of the video game phenomenon.  Coinciding with the advent of the coin-op video game, the home version ultimately sold 30 million units, making Atari the legendary brand it became to this day.  And it all started with a couple of visionaries and an idea to get a dot on a television screen to be moved using the vertical and horizontal hold.  The history of Atari is interwoven with the early history of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak of Apple fame, the founder of the Chuck E. Cheese pizza and gaming parlors, creators who would leave to form competitor Activision, and countless others who finally get their story told in Tim Lapetino’s book, Art of Atari.  We have a preview of the book for borg.com readers below, courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment.

If you’re like many, including Lapetino, you likely threw away the boxes that housed the video game cartridges to your Atari 2600 immediately after getting the game home.  If you missed out on the Atari games altogether, like classic games Breakout, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Asteroids, Centipede, Pole Position, Jungle Hunt, and hundreds more, you may not be aware of the role the box art played for early video game buyers.  The artwork on the boxes was much closer to the video game realities of today than the original games of the past, which frequently were as simple as boxes and line barriers with the same dot representing a football, a cannonball, a bullet, or a laser bolt.  But, as the designers interviewed in the book recall, it just didn’t matter.  It didn’t really, as the new form of gameplay was exciting in its own right.  Yet the box art is memorable for many, providing an easy recall to every game from Atari you once owned in an instant flashback.

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Lapetino provides interviews with former Atari designers and staff, including those who created everything from the games, to the consoles, and the marketing materials that sold it all.  The artists who created the box art are identified and featured in their own sections.  No doubt Atari fans will likely encounter games they’ve never seen, including countless movie tie-ins.  You might recall the Raiders of the Lost Ark game and the infamous E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, but how about Superman, Dukes of Hazzard, Pigs in Space, and Gremlins?

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Radioactive girl in green hoodThe new TV series Defiance and Graceland have been using Imagine Dragons’ powerful hit song Radioactive as the background music for their promotions. Remember last year’s Phillip Phillips’ song Home during every sporting event, including a live performance at the Major League All Star Game, product ad placements, and even the U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team’s theme for two (long) weeks?  We think Radioactive is a far better tune, and it’s addictive.  It’s also been used to promote the movie The Host, for the video game Assassin’s Creed III, shows on the History channel, and the TV show Chicago Fire.

If you haven’t seen the video for the song, we’re posting it here because its depiction of a Muppet vs. Care Bear cage fighting death match can’t be beat.  That’s right, a Muppet (actually a Muppet lookalike) and a Care Bear.   And a haunting girl in a hood with the secret weapon.  That’s just… neat.

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