Category Archives: Media & Advertising

“But First, Coffee” Curb … Silver Lake, Los Angeles

The curb in front of the Alfred Coffee in Silver Lake, Los Angeles has been cheekily employed as signage, and as such a clever branding device that bears the cafe’s slogan in stenciled white-on-black paint: “But First, Coffee.” Whether this guerrilla marketing tactic is legal is unknown. (We suspect it isn’t legal and they didn’t ask the city for permission.) In the extreme car culture of L.A., where people are especially attuned to the meanings of the city’s various color-coded curb markings, finding free, legal street parking can be frustrating. Alfred Coffee brings a welcomed touch of levity to the experience, as well as a reminder of our caffeinated priorities.

One more note … On the sidewalk is a purple stencil street art that riffs on graphic designer Milton Glaser’s iconic “I Heart NY” logo concept, but the graphical quality with this street stencil is muddled and it isn’t clear what the message is. But the “heart” part of the visual trope looks a lot like the face of legendary film actor Jack Nicholson as he appeared in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.”

A Visit from Apartamento Magazine Editor Omar Sosa … Los Angeles

We recently attended a small talk with the co-founder and editor of Apartamento magazine, Omar Sosa. The talk was at one of the creative marketing companies run by mega-global advertising agency TBWA in Los Angeles. Sosa (pictured at right in the photo above) with Emilien Crespo, the talk moderator at the agency, spoke at length about how he and his designer friends started Apartamento in Barcelona in 2008 and how the magazine has grown and developed a devoted, almost cult-like, global readership.

We’ve been picking up copies of Apartamento since the first time we spotted it on the rack at the McNally-Jackson Bookstore in New York City way back in 2009. Part of what sets the magazine apart is its documentation of what it calls “everyday interiors.” Rather than showing slick images of pristine, carefully-staged, aspirational living spaces in the tradition of many commercial “shelter” mags, Apartmento shows the spaces of various creators in their cluttered, lived-in, natural glory and in a more intimate photographic style.

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Obama “History” Street Art Sticker … Venice, Los Angeles

In 2008 street artist and designer Shepard Fairey created a colorful poster depicting then U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama with a single-word message “Hope” written on it. The image had a graphic, illustrative quality and was based on a press photo of the candidate. The poster was an instant classic of graphic design and became an important piece of the Obama campaign’s visual communications arsenal. Obama’s winning of the 2008 election sealed the poster’s iconic status. Eight years later, in the final year of Obama’s presidency, we stumbled upon an updated version of the same poster image on a rubbish bin in Venice, Los Angeles. Now the same iconic image is rendered in black-and-white version and instead of “Hope,” the word “History” is written across the bottom. The phrase “dustbin of history” comes to mind. Is the fact that the sticker is on a garbage bin a political statement?


Japanese Summer “Hanabi”-Themed Billboard Ad For Coca-Cola … Tokyo

Japan has a long-established, globally recognized and highly-developed sense of aesthetics, especially when it come to design and graphic communications like advertising. This large indoor billboard poster for Coca-Cola at Ark Hills Tokyo references the Japanese summer tradition of hanabi (massive fireworks displays) as beautiful flat, abstract graphics.

Design … Surfer Magazine’s New Logo and Format

Surfer magazine has boldly introduced its new, artsier design and wider format with this stark black-and-white cover illustration in a style reminiscent of late children’s book creator Maurice Sendak. The illustration is inspired by the theme of this month’s issue, “addiction” (as in, “addicted to surfing”).