In The Wild – The North Face Logo

The North Face is an active lifestyle wear brand that was founded in 1968 in San Fransisco, California by Douglas Tompkins and his wife, Susie. Engineered for outdoor performance; mountaineers, climbers, snowboarders and skiers, The North Face is known for the durability and contemporary sensibility of their products. With the ability to withstand intense weather, it’s no surprise that even non-active consumers are enticed by the range of insulated outerwear they offer. In addition to their gear, they also manufacture outdoor and camping equipment which include footwear, backpacks, tents, and sleeping bags.

The North Face logo, 1968-present
The North Face logo, 1971-2010
The North Face logo, 2010-present
The North Face logo, 2010-present

The North Face logo draws inspiration from Half Dome in Yosemite National Park which is a well known rock formation in the park, named specifically for its distinct shape. The stylized rendering of the Half Dome is composed of three repeated curved lines in different sizes, along with “The North Face” placed adjacent to each rounded line — thus, achieving a unified look. The logo – simple yet marketable, was created by graphic designer graphic designer David Alcorn.  What makes this a successful logo is the backstory attached to it. The name refers to the north face of any mountain in the northern hemisphere, especially one that requires an arduous and rimy route to get there. There are two variations to the colour choices adopted in the logo over the decades. The black is used to symbolize elegance and dominance while the red symbolizes passion, courage and strength. Having said that, it makes sense that name and logo integrates the idea of performance and durability.

Works Cited

  • “ The Idle Man.” The Idle Man, 13 Nov. 2018,
  • Marino, Toni. “Toni Marino.” Toni Marino,
  • “Thingiverse.” Thingiverse, 23 Feb. 2018,
  • “Logos Download.” Logos Download,

The Evolution of Playing Cards

Crystal Chiu  (3168083)

Playing cards have become such a common household object that pretty much everyone one now. A deck of cards contains 52 examples of graphic design. For example, the nine of clubs, has a very simple design of nine black club symbols arranged in with symmetry (Figure 1). The card is designed to be able to be viewed in either orientation, explaining the flipped pattern on the bottom half – though it is still directional because of the odd number. The card also includes the number 9 written in the corner with a small club under it, and flipped in the other corner. This allows for it to be easily recognized when fanned out in the hand. The single colour design connects back to being designed for the printing press; the limited colours allowed for them to be made faster and cheaper. The Jack of Spades, however, shows two profile portraits of a male figure wearing patterned clothes (Figure 2). It is also designed to be viewed in both directions,  but also creates a balance because of it. Because his image is repeated, only his shoulders are shown. However, he still portrays royalty, since he represents a prince. His blue robes help demonstrate this, since the colour is similar to Ultramarine; historically, a pigment reserved for paintings royalty and saints (Mangla 2015). This card uses more colours than the nine of clubs, but is limited to primary colours, which are only used in face cards.


Figure 1: Goodall, Charles. “9 of Clubs.” 1860.

Figure 2: Goodall, Charles. “Jack of Spades.” 1860.


During the 14th century, Italy created a 40-card deck with 4 suits (swords, clubs, cups, coins) including cards like the king, queen and knave. During this time, playing cards were like books: hand-crafted, decorated, luxury works of art for the rich (Roya 2018). (Figure 3). Likewise, as they grew popular, cheaper versions came up with printing. Germany’s innovations in with wood-cut and copper engravings made them the front-runner in the playing card industry – since they could make cards faster than Italian paintbrushes (Romanoswski 2007). Though this control did not last because like always, the power of French culture happened. During the 15th century, the French designed their own suit system: hearts, pikes, diamonds, clovers; and designed graphic black or red symbols for them, which we still use (Roya). This improved the clarity of the design, but more importantly, meant they could stencil and print cards even faster than Germany. So, they created the 52-deck format (which we still use), illustrated historical figures on their face cards (Roya), and spread those all through Europe to take over the industry (Figure 4). That is, until taxes ran manufacturers out of the country, dispersing them throughout Europe again (Roya). From this, England approached card design with an idea: standardization! Previously, manufacturers created their own designs, specifically for face cards. But 1700s England, aka the industrial revolution, they decided to simplify and unify the design of playing cards across multiple manufacturers, making them cheaper to produce and easier to identify (Bernard 2018). The final design was created by Charles Goodall in 1860, which we use today. Goodall introduced the double-ended design, meaning cards could be read from either direction (Roya). (Figure 2). However, standardization removed all artistry in playing cards – until tax laws. Manufacturers needed to prove taxes were paid on cards before they left the factory – so they stamped this on the Ace of Spades. While they were at it, manufacturers also included their name and ornamentation (“A Breif History of Playing Cards”). This tradition helped in branding and is likely why English cards exploded, and why this is still done today. The name of English cards let them dominate, until 1800s American – who designed lithograph machines to print all 4 colours of standardized playing cards together. They took over the card industry by printing the popular English design (Romanoswski). So, plagiarism. But they got better; they later added many small key features of today’s cards. They rounded corners for easier handling, added Jokers and most notably, a designer named Bestock, added symbols to the corners of cards to indicate value and suit more easily when held (Roya). And this takes us to today.


Figure 3: Unknown Italian painter. Card Designs. 14th century.


Figure 4: Unknown French artist. Card  Designs. 15th century.


Today, America still dominates in production, though with updated technology. Designs haven’t changed and often, the only things that does is the card backs – the artistry really hasn’t been the same since. There are exceptions though; Bicycle, an American card company, regularly releases limited edition designs for sets of playing cards, such as their Steampunk Goggles deck (Figure 5). These decks bring back the idea of playing cards as design, as they were in history, rather than just a manufactured product now.


Figure 5: Consorte, Dennis. Steampunk Goggles Card Design. Bicycle, 2014.



Work Cited

“A Brief History of Playing Cards.” White Knuckle Playing Cards,

Bernhard, Adrienne. “The Lost Origins of Playing-Card Symbols.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 2018,

Mangla, Ravi. “True Blue.” The Paris Review, 2015,

Romanowski, Perry. “Playing Cards.” How Products Are Made, 2007,

Roya, Will. “The History of Playing Cards: The Evolution of the Modern Deck.” PlayingCardDecks, 2018,


Thrasher mag as a piece of graphic design

Thrasher mag is a skateboarding magazine.It is one of the most popular skateboarding magazines and is often referred to as the skateboarders bible. The first ever thrasher magazine was published in january of 1981. It was sold for one dollar and featured 30 pages of content. This to me and many others is one of the greatest pieces of graphic design. For many skateboarders such as myself, that first issue is one of the most iconic pieces of skate history. The cover was black featuring an illustration of a man skating a pool, the thrasher logo taking up a third of the page and some yellow stripes with text. The first ever thrasher issue featured articles about: downhill racing, semi secret spots, on board the curbs of san francisco. It also featured a full page advertisement for independent truck co and a full page ad for the skateboard brand sims. It also had half page ads for companies such as madrid skateboards. The design of the pages of the magazine gives off retro vibes, and utilizes things like checkerboard pattern and bold lettering using the font “Banko” that was designed in the 1950s.

Nowadays almost 40 years later this magazine has been nothing but successful. Throughout the years there have been changes made to how the magazine was being designed. Currently in february 2020 thrasher magazine will tend to have anywhere between 60 and 110 pages, many of those pages will be full page advertisements, or sometimes a full spread ad. Companies such as Adidas and emerica will be seen commonly in the two page advertisement spreads. The magazine features different iterations of its logo and tends to be more modernly designed. While the page layout and the colours used in the design of thrasher mag issues still has a punk rock vibe it is made to feel more modern compared to the older versions of the magazine. Despite the layout changing over the years thrasher as a whole has stayed very loyal to its roots as a skateboarding magazine and to its aesthetic.

In sum Thrasher mag is a magazine that’s been around for a couple of years and you can often find lying around skate shops. It is an incredibly well designed mag with lots of attention payed to its colours, page layout, illustrations and photography used. it has stayed true to its skate punk aesthetic for many years.

“Banco Font Free Download.” Free Fonts Family, 24 July 2019,
“January 1981.” January 1981,

design in the wild- savor the crunch!

Feed the crave, savor the crunch!

Everyone loves the Cheetos cheesy flavor accompanied by that giant crunch. The original Crunchy Cheetos, invented by Charles Doolinin 1948, is still being sold today, nearly 70 years later. (Laskow 2015). by now we should all be familiar with the mascot for Cheetos, Chester the Cheetah, but he was not the original mascot. (Hennessey & Spoon University 2015). The original illustration designed by Paul Coker was a mouse, but in the late ’80s it reign had faded and Chester the Cheetah was introduced. Laskow 2015).

Chester brought something new to the brand that the mouse could not. He was cool, passionate and relatable. (Laskow 2015).

The Cheetos brand mainly targets a younger audience. The character Chester could fly, sail, spy and skateboard, and unlike the mouse, he made it look good. Chester even used the same slogan, “the cheese that goes crunch” as his predecessor. (Laskow 2015).

Soon after the introduction of Chester, the Cheetos mouse has faded into obscurity (Laskow 2015) and Chester Chester’s slick Wayfarers and ferocious snacking appetite have become a worldwide marketing campaign. (Hennessey & Spoon University 2015).


Chester Cheetah created by Brad Morgan-1986


Original Cheetos mascot designed by Paul Coker -1971


Evolution of Cheetos logo- Frito Lays-1970 to present

Work cited

Laskow, Sarah. “The Original Cheetos Mouse Never Had a Chance Once Chester Cheetah Came Along.” Atlas Obscura, Atlas Obscura, 20 Aug. 2015,

Strutner, Suzy. “The Original Doritos Did NOT Look Like Today’s Doritos.” HuffPost Canada, HuffPost Canada, 12 Dec. 2016,

Taylor, Heather. “Cheesy Rider: A Look Back at the Cheetos Mouse • Advertising Week 360 • AW360.” Advertising Week 360 • AW360, 25 Apr. 2018,

Parsons, Chloie, and Chloie ParsonsChloie Parsons. “Step By Step Naming Guide.” Rewind Capture, 25 Apr. 2018,

“Chester Cheetah.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Feb. 2020,

Netflix Logo History – Hyelin Kim

Netflix, a subscription-based streaming platform with over 150 million worldwide users, has distinctive logo history over the recent twenty-two years. It all started in 1997 when Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph got together to build a DVD rental business.


Fig. 1 Netflix 1st logo, 1997-2000

The very first logo Netflix had was a very generic black text in a serif font with a spiral, representing a celluloid film, dividing the words “net” and “flix.” It has a poor representation of the company as it is hard to recognize Netflix’s identity without recognizing the film reel. Although it does manifest an aspect of what the business offers, it was not enough. The logo only lasted three years until the replacement came in in 2000.


Fig. 2 Netflix 2nd logo, 2000-2014

Unlike the first one, the second logo did perform quite a successful remark. It was eyecatching and full of bold characteristics: A clear, white, long and narrow typeface framed with black casting shadows laid on top of the notable red background. The arched bottom of the text, possibly an influence derived from the round film reel of the previous logo, paid an additional flavour to its characteristics (“The Evolution of the Netflix Logo”).

This design was successful as it remained for fourteen years; however, it had to give up its place due to the big shift in Netflix’s business model. Although they started as a disc distribution rental company, the evolution of media and emerging technologies like smartphones and tablets eventually replaced the DVD with online streaming services. Netflix quickly grasped on to the change and began to mainly offer online subscription-based streaming services that we know today. 

The revision in the logo was necessary as the typographic style and bold black outlines reminded “too much of old Hollywood posters to properly represent Netflix’s growing model of streaming TV shows, and even personally licensed Netflix series” (“Learning from Netflix’s New Logo Design”). Moreover, the growing use of smaller devices, like tablets, had to be considered since the logo had to be rendered into smaller sizes fit for smaller screens.


Fig. 3 Netflix current logo, 2014-present

With all the aforesaid factors considered, the current logo that we know now came to the surface in 2014. The significant colour red and the arched text persisted; however, they were utilized differently. The red coloured the type laid on top of the black background to create a vivid contrast and to emanate a “premium cinematic feel” (“Symbol”). They maintained san-serif typography but in a Gothic font, which stands less narrow with higher legibility than the previous design. Removing the bold, black outlines and replacing with bold, yet balanced, san-serif font enabled a more versatile and well-defined design.


Fig. 4 Netflix symbol, 2016-present

In 2016, Netflix stretched further and revealed another logo for the main use in a smaller-size application, such as an app icon, by bringing the initial “N” into the model. Maintaining its recognizable black and red colour palette, a drop shadow is pronounced to give out a simple 3D design in the letter (Marateck). The logo embodies a “z-axis design element,” endowing the “N” with the subtle depth. This clean yet distinct logo design has taken a critical part in representing the company on mobile devices.

The type of design approach made in the symbol for Netflix is notable. The official Netflix website says that N represents “connection and a never-ending stream of stories” (“Symbol”). Some add to that it almost reminds of a “red carpet” or a folded “ribbon that is streaming” (Marateck). This metaphorical design approach is currently prevailing in logo designs compared to the dying trends of skeuomorphism, a design concept that represents the items to “resemble their real-world counterparts” (Marateck). Now that enough time has passed for the consumers to get a profound insight into the digitals, less literal and less “hand-holding” in the design framework can be done (Marateck). This shift in consumer perception became another factor that enabled today’s Netflix logo design in the current design market.

In conclusion, the Netflix logo is an example of a successful rebranding of a company. Over the twenty-two years of period, it could reflect the company’s identity through constructing a proper and strong logo design.


Works Cited

“Learning from Netflix’s New Logo Design.” Nxtbook Media, 23 July 2019, Accessed 13 Feb. 2020.

Marateck, Julie. “Netflix Logo Design: The Sequel.” Medium,, 27 Jan. 2017, Accessed 13 Feb. 2020.

“Netflix Logo Design – History and Evolution.” Turbologo, 27 Aug. 2019, Accessed 13 Feb. 2020.

“Symbol.” Netflix Brand Site, Netflix, Accessed 13 Feb. 2020.

“The Evolution of the Netflix Logo.” WordPress, 7 Dec. 2016, Accessed 13 Feb. 2020.

Brief Talk about Evolution of McDonald’s Logo Over Time

Brief Talk about Evolution of McDonald’s Logo Over Time

By Xinyi Mao (3166819)


McDonald ’s is one of the most famous and valuable fast-food restaurant brands in the world (Hess). It has huge market potential in the restaurant industry, and it also has a huge influence in the world. McDonald’s was founded in 1940 as a formal restaurant operated by brothers, Richard and Maurice McDonald, in San Bernardino, United States (Inkbot Design). Its distinctive logo has become one of the most representative designs in graphic design today, famously known as the Golden Arches.

1948: Speedee Service Logo






In 1948, brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald designed their first iconic symbol (Sagar).  A happy winking chef in the logo is holding a sign of special dishes, and he seemed walk fast. The logo looks vivid, representative and promotional. The purpose is to promote the meal and to introduce their ‘fast’ service principle. In addition, the font of the logo is a handwritten sans-serif. Unfortunately, another colour did not consider into the design of this period. The logo was limited to a circular frame, but there is a little occlusion relation between the title and frame, showing a little hierarchy.

1952- 1961: Golden Arches






In 1952, the first iteration of Golden Arches logo was designed by Jim Schindler (Sagar). Inspired by the iconic arches of McDonald’s newly-constructed architecture of the first franchised restaurant. However, the two arches was mistakenly regarded as an uppercase ‘M’ from a certain angle. Jim Schindler added an interlocked arch to represent the roof of the restaurant. The golden arches symbolize a hope of their flourish business (Sagar). The second logos are still in a frame. Compared to the first version, this one has more balance, showing a symmetrical style. Text and illustration have aligned. Moreover, there are more attractive colour added. The layout is no longer crowded, leaving more space in between. Typeface also changed to digital sans serif font.


1962: Further Iterations






The designer tried to incorporated all previous iterations into one illustration. Its purpose is to reflect the expansion of the interstate highway system and America’s burgeoning car culture (Sagar). The entire logo is reflected in  asymmetrical. There are alignments, such as the characters’ fingers aligned with the feet of golden arches. Moreover, there is also the concept of visual hierarchy in the character depicting. For example, the left foot is in the front of the right foot. Cleverly, the logo uses a good negative and positive space, such as the white space between and around, it helps create a shape and highlight the important components of the design. In the choice of colour, blue is removed, and yellow and red are retained.


2003: I’m Lovin’ It






The most successful and interesting logos was designed by Heve & Partner GmbH in 2003 (Sagar). It retains the yellow golden arches, removes unnecessary elements over the years, turning into a simple and neatly style (Darwin). And have strong characteristics and representativeness so that customers can remember. The golden arches are morphologically emphasized. Alignment plays in the logo, and creates a visual connection with the design elements, and gives an order to shapes and texts. The logo is still symmetrical, with a clear balance. There is a strong contrast in colour, only yellow and black are retained. A visual hierarchy is formed, what I find interesting is when three-dimensional effect is built in the logo, and using smaller text fonts to highlight and contrast the golden arches logo. On typeface, they used digital sans-serif.






Work Cited

Darwin, Charles, et al. “McDonald’s Iconic Logo – The Story Of Its Evolution.” Designhill, 23 Nov. 2019,

Hess, Alan. “The Origins of McDonalds Golden Arches.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, vol. 45, no. 1, 1986, pp. 60–67., doi:10.2307/990129.

Inkbot Design. “History Of The McDonald’s Logo Design.” Medium, Medium, 12 Apr. 2018,

Sagar, Julia. “The Story behind the McDonald’s Logo.” Creative Bloq, Creative Bloq, 19 Nov. 2013,





Illustrative Movie Posters by Ola Oyenuga

Nowadays there seems to be very little innovation in the realm of movie posters. The same compositions, color schemes, poses and graphic treatments are recycled, and circulated all around the movie industry. Especially in Hollywood, there’s a high chance that any recent movie poster you see is an unoriginal remake of an tried and established poster format. This makes film posters – in my opinion – an increasingly boring and uninspired example of graphic design today. It’s intriguing to ponder why this is the case.

Ethan Anderton, 2011. (Check This Out: Hollywood’s Most Common Trends in Movie Posters | FirstShowing.Net)

However, there’s a specific style of movie posters which, while not completely original, is almost always unique and never fails to hold my attention. This is the illustrated style. Posters illustrated by the hand of an artist, usually incorporating illustrated typography as well. A modern example of this sort of poster would be Stranger Things’ classic poster illustrated by Kyle Lambert, or more recently the poster for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood illustrated by Steve Chorney . These posters posses a an enchanting quality to them largely because of the of painstaking detail in the illustration and the amount of time and attention that surely went into their production. Illustrated movie posters were most popular from the early 1940’s when fantasy films rose to popularity in an effort for the movie industry to recapture the attention of the public that now had Television screen for entertainment., up until the 80’s at the advent of computerized special effects (History of Movie Posters | FFFMovieposters.Com). Some of the most iconic illustrated movie posters are that of Star Wars and Indiana Jones by Drew Struzan. These posters posses a charm that is almost universally recognizable.

Kyle Lambert, 2016. (Kyle Lambert – Stranger Things – Poster)
Steven Chorney, 2019. (Movie and TV)

Drew Struzan, 1997. (Www.DrewStruzan.Com)

The illustrated movie poster is making something of a comeback today. Relatively few productions today patronize artists to illustrate their posters, those that do are usually deliberately trying to express a retro or nostalgic style, films such as Baby Driver or Read Player One which have either an aesthetic/theme that hearkens back to the older generation or that try to capture a nostalgic period. Or Deadpool which uses it for satirical intent. But regardless of the reason for employing this style of film poster, the effect is grand, effectively breathing life and expresses a uniqueness and fantastic wander that would make one at least curious to see what such a film might be about. Especially when placed next to the repetitive film posters of today, this style is truly one of a kind.

James Goodridge, 2018. (James Goodridge Illustration)


Artist Steve Chorney on Crafting Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood’s Poster & More | The Credits. Accessed 14 Feb. 2020.
Check This Out: Hollywood’s Most Common Trends in Movie Posters | FirstShowing.Net. Accessed 14 Feb. 2020.
History of Movie Posters | FFFMovieposters.Com. Accessed 14 Feb. 2020.
History of Movie Posters | FFFMovieposters.Com—. Accessed 14 Feb. 2020.
James Goodridge Illustration. Accessed 14 Feb. 2020.
Kyle Lambert – Stranger Things – Poster. Accessed 14 Feb. 2020.
Movie and TV. Accessed 14 Feb. 2020.
Www.DrewStruzan.Com. Accessed 14 Feb. 2020.

Studio Ghibli film posters – the new released Chinese collection

After 30 years of waiting, Chinese fans finally were able to watch studio Ghibli’s films in local cinemas. On December 14, 2018, the first Ghibli import film – My Neighbor Totoro started showing in Chinese cinemas (东莞塘厦凤凰国际影城, 2018). Studio Ghibli is a world-famous film studio. It was founded by Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki in 1985 (Rendell and Rayna, 2018). Since the mid-1990s, studio Ghibli films were the highest-grossing movies in the Japanese domestic box office (Rendell and Rayna, 2018). Studio Ghibli has a very distinctive style in their films. Hayao Miyazaki likes the environmental themes and he always discusses the relationships between humans and nature in his films. For example, the Castle in the Sky and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. This time, the introduction of their films to China reflects their extraordinary success. Although this attempt in the Chinese market may be considered as fan service, they produced a Chinese version of the posters for promotion.


Fig.1, Zao Dao, 2019

A collection of five Ghibli films were released in China according to South China Morning Post, including My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and The Wind Rises (Ashcraft 2019). The films’ Chinese posters are produced by Chinese local artists and designers. Spirited Away was officially released last year in Chinese cinemas, and this amazing poster (see Fig.1) was painted by a Chinese artist – Zao Dao. She is a talented illustrator and manga author. She uses brushes to paint. Her style inherits the characteristics of traditional Chinese brushwork, and also has the reflection of modern Japanese comic style. In Fig.1, clouds are the subject of the entire poster, with the protagonist and the building hidden in the painting. Zao Dao uses unsaturated colours and thin lines to create the texture of the clouds. The large landscape of clouds creates a fantasy atmosphere.


Fig.2, Unknown, 2018

The styles of these Chinese Ghibli posters are quite different from the original Japanese version. In the last thirty years since these films were released, audiences experience the development of film posters and the localized visual expressions of these film posters. This series of Chinese posters no longer references the scenes directly from the film but instead uses more abstract expressions. The publisher also hired local artists, especially those with painting experience in Chinese style, to make these film posters. In Fig.1 and Fig.2, both two artists use lines to describe the texture, which reflects the traditional Chinese painting styles. These popular posters cater to the preferences of local audiences and reflect the subtle differences and connections between Chinese and Japanese cultures.


Work cited

Ashcraft, Brian. “China’s Official Studio Ghibli Posters Are Excellent.” Kotaku, Kotaku, 14 June 2019,

Rendell, James, and Rayna Denison. “Introducing Studio Ghibli.” East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 4, no. 1, 2018, pp. 5-14.

东莞塘厦凤凰国际影城, “宫崎骏首部在内地上映的电影作品终于安排上啦!_龙猫.” _龙猫, 15 Nov. 2018,

The unmistakable Generic brand

The No name brand was originally launched after Loblaws was on the brink of bankruptcy. The No name brand was a success ever since its 1978 launch, helping turn Loblaws into the largest grocery retailer in Canada ”Canadian encyclopedia”. The genius behind the iconic yellow packaging with bold, black Helvetica font is Don Watt, a marketing mastermind most remembered for his work making no name, president’s choice, and home depot the behemoth brands they are today.

When one looks at food and grocery packaging in the 1970s and even packaging today, it’s not hard to see that Don Watt’s no name branding is a radical choice. Leading many to ask, why did Don Watt design his packaging in this way? And what was it about this simple design that made it so successful? 

In Don Watt’s unpublished book “Fast Forward: the changing face of retail” he explains how he first saw a similar concept working for the French retailer “Le Carrefour”. Their products were packaged in white containers with simple black text describing the product and very little ornamentation. 

Le Carrefour advertisement from 1976 (Carrefour twitter account)
Le Carrefour advertisement from 1976
(Carrefour twitter account)

Don Watt took this idea then pushed it further by replacing the bright white boxes with one even brighter neon yellow. The neon yellow boxes and bags interact with each other when on the store shelf like no other product does. Instead of simply being multiple products sitting side by side on a shelf, they become a swarm of yellow making each product almost indistinguishable from its neighbouring clone. This effect is made through the packaging’s complete lack of ornamentation and removal of all non-essential elements, making most packages almost completely yellow. This sea of yellow instantly dominates and separates itself from all other packaging in the aisle through its extreme lack of ornamentation and luminosity.

A shelf full of no name chips (
A shelf full of no name chips

Don watt recognized how powerful this lack of ornamentation was and that it worked because it created a stark contrast between his products and everything else on the shelf. In his unpublished book Don Watt explains how no name’s lack of branding was actually a form of branding used to separate no name’s products from all others: “This “anti-brand,” commodity image flew in the face of conventional wisdom, but recognized that packaging was actually part of the architecture. It served to differentiate the line from all other brands in the store.” ”no name necessary”.

No name’s current advertising strategy is unlike that of any other, creating a humorous postmodern dystopian feeling wherever their advertisements lay. No name does this by branding objects the same as their products, with a bland description in Helvetica on their iconic neon yellow backgrounds. Billboards saying “billboard”, Buildings saying “building”, and taxi’s saying “taxi” are all just a part of this wildly different marketing campaign. Whether you love their low-cost products or not, it is hard to see their wildly blunt advertisements and not smile at their postmodern bluntness.

A no name billboard (Loblaw)
A no name billboard



Works Cited:

Yusufali, Sahsa, and Derrick Clements. “George Weston Limited.” Edited by Eli Yarhi, The Canadian Encyclopedia, Historica Canada, 9 Aug. 2010,

Wexler, Emily. “No Name Necessary.” Strategy Online, Brunico Communications Ltd, 1 Mar. 2010,   (top image) (middle image) (bottom image)

Design in the wild | Polyphia Tour Posters

Polyphia Logo, By Lionel Fraiser, 2018
Polyphia Logo, By Lionel Fraiser, 2018

Concert posters; like an album  cover, serve as a window for what the audience can expect from an act both musically and in performance. The music and artwork both go hand in hand, a strong poster will capture the appeal of a performer into an easy and digestible piece of work, but also create a good first impression; after all, the poster is a promotional tool (Cutruzzula, 2017).

Polyphia is a predominantly progressive rock instrumental band based in Dallas, Texas, who can frequently fall into the progressive metal and math rock genres (Thomas,n.d.). The band states their influences are drawn across a wide variety of unexpected genres from hip-hop, pop, and EDM, to jazz and funk (“Dunlop Sessions: Polyphia”). This hodgepodge of musical tastes can be seen throughout the band’s evolution over the years, and can be visualized in their tour posters.

Polyphia Texas Tour Poster, unknown artist, 2016

Originally starting out as a very “shreddy” progressive metal band, their second studio album titled Renaissance, saw the band stray away from the metal path into a more progressive rock sound with EDM elements and pop licks. The title “Renaissance” is very much in reference to the rebirth of their sound and this theme is carried out in the imagery they use. Using classical, angelic figures as visual elements, they look like they were taken directly out of a painting from the Italian Renaissance. The colour palette used is very bubbly with pastel hues that speak to their new pop inspired sound. Notice how the type used is also very light both visually and stylistically, this will not be the case later as their sound further progresses. The entire composition is brought together as a collage, which parallels their musical collage of sounds and genres.

Polyphia Japan Tour Poster, unknown artist, 2018


Polyphia EU/UK Tour Poster, unknown artist, 2020

A third full-length album: New Levels New Devils is released on October 12, 2018, featuring a new hip-hop inspired sound (TK, 2018). Like their last album, the album title can be seen as a commentary on Polyphia’s new level of stylistic sounds, including a dark and devilish vibe. This new sinister sound very much affects the visual language used in Polyphia’s posters, introducing a focus on the theme of death and mortality. The collaged style is still used but now a very metal, blackletter and characteristically illegible death metal font design is used for their logo, adding to the confusion of what genre Polyphia falls into. Not only does their logo follow a darker energy, but the rest of the type on their posters is bolder and aggressive compared to that from their previous album.


In a sense, Polyphia’s poster designs helped the spectator process what exactly was happening musically in their songs. Although it is hard to categorize Polyphia into a single genre, their visual language contextualized certain sounds that were present in their albums. Their posters can be interpreted as stories about the coming of their sound.

Works Cited

Cutruzzula, Kara. “What Makes a Great Tour Poster.” Medium, Magenta, 23 June 2017,

Thomas, Fred. “Polyphia: Biography & History.” AllMusic,

TK, Leon. “Album Review: POLYPHIA New Levels New Devils.” Metal Injection, 16 Oct. 2018,

“Dunlop Sessions: Polyphia.” YouTube, uploaded by jimdunlopusa, 17 August 2015,