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New moon links 1/24/12

2012 January 24

Okay, my calendar says last night was the new moon, but close enough. (For all I know the moon could even still be in the sky, here, at the moment, except that it’s overcast.) What news?

Let’s begin with three items from The Atlantic. First, Alexis Madrigal compared examples of letterhead from Thomas Edison and rival Nikolai Tesla, and concluded that “it’s no contest whose letterhead is better. Judging by these examples from Letterheady.com, Tesla wins by a mile.” I wonder, though. Perhaps it depends on what your criteria are for judging “better.” The Tesla letterhead is eye-catching, but at the same time might be great for convincing people you’re a dangerous mad scientists while less effective at winning business from Westinghouse, e.g.

And then two from the excellent spinoff site Atlantic Cities. Wonderful old TWA posters by David Klein, possibly one of the last gasps of this kind of style in the realm of non-ironic corporate advertising. And the “Patchwork Nation” map which assigns every county in the United States to one of various community types. The terminology might be improved—I’m not sure I would associate the phrase “monied burbs” with Lorain County—but it’s fun to play around with.

Next some vintage design of a different era, circa-1980 postmodernism. Oh yeah, I remember this stuff, its traces still lingering around when I first began studying graphic design. Just go browse the image gallery at least.

And finally, a more recent change in tastes, with Seth Stevenson’s amusing and gleeful examination of the rise and fall of advertising agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky. I have to generally agree; they really were almost worshipped for a while, and they probably did deserve a good smacking-down for those horrible Burger King ads, alone.

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