The currency of branding is one of optimism. Logos and slogans are designed to be relentlessly cheery, and the intended effect of viewing them is that of Ren and Stimpy’s Happy Helmet. Be happy! No! Happier!
Graphic designer and illustrator Adam J. Kurtz wondered what advertising would be like if it weren’t quite so chipper. So he took the logos of Nike, Penguin, Chipotle, Ikea, and more, then redesigned them as if a manic-depressive nihilist designed them on an overcast day after his dead mother’s coffin accidentally crushed his baby corgi to death.
I worked at Barton F. Graf until just a few months ago, and I think there are awesome and hilarious things that advertising can do for people. It’s incredible when you can take a brand’s money and reach and turn it into an overwhelmingly positive experience while still accomplishing marketing goals. Really innovative brand activations and clever social interaction is my favorite. Keep things honest and remind people that behind even the largest brands are some genuine, human people. Again, some self-aware sadness is part of that humanity.
You can follow Adam J. Kurtz on Twitter here. Bring a trash bag of Zoloft.