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A Full Tank of Terrorism?

Stop your engine.
No smoking.
Return nozzle to pump when finished fueling.
Pre-pay after dark.
Thank you for financing global terror.

Post these official looking ‘Thank You’ stickers at a gas station near you. The stickers (and T-shirts) are being sold at cost directly from Subvert. Over 1200 stickers have been ordered so far.

Google has refused run ads for the project. Google’s letter states: “At this time, Google policy does not permit the advertisement of ‘Hate/anti’ on our website. We also do not permit sites that sell these products to advertise on Google.”

Found via kottke.org

>  30 August 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , , ,

Printer Drivers

Two projects from the Institute for Applied Autonomy:

GraffitiWriter is a tele-operated field programable robot which employs a custom built array of spray cans to write linear text messages on the ground at a rate of 15 kilometers per hour. The printing process is similar to that of a dot matrix printer. GraffitiWriter can be deployed in any highly controlled space or public event from a remote location.” See also instructions on how to build your own.

“The StreetWriter project expands on the research gained from the successful Robotic GraffitiWriter project. The system consists of a custom built, computer controlled industrial spray painting unit that is built into an extended body cargo van. The vehicle prints text messages onto the pavement in a manner much like a dot-matrix printer. The expanded width of StreetWriter allows for messages and simple graphics that are legible from tall buildings and low flying aircraft and is capable of rendering message that are several hundreds of feet in length.” Lots of pix and videos at both sites.

See also Bike Writing, a project to turn any bicycle into a printing, street writing device that prints as you ride.

“The bike writer incorporates interchangeable rubber stamps into the wheels so that while riding, the user can inscribe text into public space. An ink roller is applied to the wheel through a simple mechanism, which is activated by squeezing the rear break handle. This activity is extremely covert and effective.”

>  29 August 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , , ,

Posters and Japanese Social Movements

The Ohara Institute for Social Research at Hosei University has an enormous collection of 20th century Japanese poster and propaganda art online: 2600 posters from before 1945, 400 posters of labor and social movements in the post-1945 period, posters and handbills from the 1930’s and an essay on the virbant history of the Japanese social movements between the two World Wars.

Found via coudal partners

>  24 August 2002 | LINK | Filed in , ,

Archie Loves Betty, Veronica, and the FBI

Since 1954, the Comics Magazine Association of America has issued a Comics Code Authority Seal to comics submitted by publishers which meet the standards of the Comics Code. In practice, the Code was used as a tool of censorship, since it was nearly impossible to sell unapproved comics to newstands and mass merchandisers. With the rise of specialty comic book stores in the mid-80’s, most publishers have opted out of the Comics Code.

The code was updated in 1971 and again in 1989. The 1989 version adds:

“In general, recognizable national, social, political, cultural, ethnic and racial groups, religious institutions, law enforcement authorities will be portrayed in a positive light. These include the government on the national, state, and municiple levels, including all of its numerous departments, agencies and services; law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, the Secret Service, the CIA, etc.; the military, both United States and foreign; known religious organizations; ethnic advancement agencies; foreign leaders and representatives of other governments and national groups; and social groups identifiable by lifestyle, such as homosexuals, the economically disadvantaged, the economically privileged, the homeless, senior citizens, minors, etc.”

CPB notes, “DC Comics and Archie are the publishers who still abide by the Code to portray the CIA, ethnic advancement agencies and the economically privileged in a positive light.”

>  22 August 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , , ,

Enjoy Sara-jevo

Enjoy Sara-Jevo!

In 1985, three graduates from the Sarajevo faculty of fine arts formed the design team TRIO Sarajevo. The group created designs for bands, theatre companies and art and culture-based magazines.

“In April 1992 the Bosnian war began, and Sarajevo was besieged. Despite the obvious hardships of life in a city under siege for two and a half years, and although they had many opportunities to continue work outside Bosnia-Herzegovina, TRIO opted to remain in Sarajevo throughout the war. Faced with a market suddenly reduced to a 3km wide stretch of a city under siege, TRIO have nonetheless continued to earn a living as commercial designers, receiving payment for their work in food, cigarettes and (occasionally) small amounts of money. During the war TRIO have managed to assemble a computerised design office put together from various components which were borrowed or begged from friends and colleagues in Sarajevo.... In addition to their regular work, TRIO have also invested a great deal of time putting together a collection of graphic art aimed at raising awareness of the plight of their city throughout Europe. The work which has made them famous in western capitals is based on a series of reworkings of well-known advertising and pop-art images, such as the logos for Speilberg’s Jurassic Park, Coca-Cola, Absolut Vodka, Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup, and satirical adaptations of famous posters, such as Monroe’s Some Like it Hot, Your Country Needs You, Wake Up America!, Munch’s Scream, and many more.”

From The Design Group - TRIO SARAJEVO. The visual formula is direct and simplistic, but according to “Ironic Postcards from a City at War” the intent is to inject notice of the crisis into Western pop culture, to attach new associations to strongly recognized brands. My favorite is not one that uses the commercial brands, it is the stamp the group designed in 1995 with an image of one of destroyed post office buildings:

Stamp of post office destroyed in Sarajevo

Found via OpenDemocracy

>  21 August 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

Wheatpaste for Global Justice

Check out Mike Flugennock’s anarchist and anti-globalization posters. Print ‘em out, plaster the streets - they’re free to use and download as EPS or PDF. Also lots of video of the pasters being hassled by The Man in Washington, DC.

>  19 August 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

Paper without Wood

“There does not exist enough wood fiber to supply the ever growing appetite of the global pulp and paper industry. The industry itself no longer debates this issue with environmentalists; even they accept that we all face a looming wood fiber shortage. Pulp and paper is a 107 billion dollar industry, which accounts for about 85% of nationwide revenues for wood products, making it one of the nations top income generating industries. This ostensibly indestructible industry cannot be ignored; our global economy revolves around it and is reliant upon it.”

The crisis thus made plain, the ReThink Paper Web site presents strategies for paper reduction, a ranked list and searchable database of papers that contain no virgin wood, a host of non-wood alternatives for paper (such as kenaf, hemp, and agricultural residues,) a directory of non-wood paper friendly printers and designers, even a cooperative buying guide. The site is a project of the Earth Island Institute. (Free registration required.)

>  18 August 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

Nutrition Facts Facts

Says @issue: The Journal of Business and Design:

Nutrition Facts“Less than a century ago, food labels barely identified what was inside a box. Consumers had to trust the manufacturer to use only healthy ingredients—not always a safe bet. In 1924, the Federal Food and Drug Act gave the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to clamp down on bogus health claims and misleading labels. The FDA also tried to make manufacturers more accountable by requiring them to list their names and addresses on the packaging. By 1973, packaged food makers were also required to supply nutritional values listing the amount of vitamins and minerals inside, but the manner in which this information was presented was often inconsistent and incomplete. The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 finally called for a major overhaul of food labels. The FDA and U.S. Department of Agriculture set out uniform guidelines for the new labels. Launched in 1994, Nutrition Facts offers a plethora of health-relevant information.”

Brand design firm Greenfield/Belser, best known for their law firm marketing material, designed the new nutrition facts label. Reknown designer Massimo Vignelli lauded the label design in the July 1996 AIGA Journal. Praising the clarity of the information architecutre, its visual integrity, and flexibility of the design on packages of all shapes and sizes, he writes, “The label is a clean testimonial of Energy Guidecivilization, a statement of social responsibility, and a masterpiece of graphic design. Not a small achievement in today’s graphic landscape.” He does not point out that the generic, anonymous design and apparent lack of “marketing devices” actually brands the space and its information as neutral, scientific, institutional, and authoritative.

Greenfield/Belser’s Web site describes other forays into design in the public interest as well:

“In 1999, we applied a variation of that label design, Drug Facts, to all over-the-counter drugs. Years earlier, we designed the Energy Guide that appears on all major appliances.”

>  17 August 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , , , , ,

Choking Victim; Poster

In 1974, Dr. Henry Heimlich published findings on what was to become the Heimlich Maneuver. A week later, the first choking victim was saved by the method. In 1978, New York City passed a law requiring that every establishment, regardless of size or design, “where food is sold and space is designated specifically as eating areas shall have posted in a conspicuous place, easily accessible to all employees and customers, a sign graphically depicting the Heimlich Maneuver or a comparable technique instructing on how to dislodge food from a choking person.” The bill was passed unanimously by the City Council in 1978 (five days before Christmas and its feasts.) “Dislodging food from person choking; poster” became Local Law 43 when signed by Mayor Koch on December 29. The law notes that it “does not impose any duty or obligation on any proprietor, employee or other person to remove, assist in removing, or attempt to remove food from the throat of the victim or a choking emergency,” and that the NY Department of Health “shall make signs available, and may charge a fee to cover printing, postage and handling expenses.” The posters are distributed along with your restaurant license.

In 1997, the posters were dramatically redesigned. An article in the UK Independent On Sunday (November 30, 1997) notes

“The Department of Health grew concerned that, in a city like New York, where dining in is the exception, habitual restaurant-goers may suffer from over-exposure to Heimlich signs, and that, over time, the charts risk becoming so much civic-minded wallpaper.”

To the rescue came students from Parson’s School of Design who redesigned the old institutional orange design with a jarring new constructivist design in primary colors. The poster is certainly harder to miss, though with 10 years of exposure it may be time again for a redesign.

Choking Victim Poster


Update 1/2005: For a more extensive history of this poster design, see Guns, Butter and Ballots. Citizens take charge by designing for better government, January/February 2005. (Towards the middle of the page.)

>  16 August 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , , , ,

Propaganda Posters for Bush’s America

Quiet! Know Your Place! Shut Your Face!

Micah Wright has put together some funny World War II style propaganda posters satirizing the current “war on terrorism” and all the hopped up rhetoric. Some of my favorites: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Found via Dr. Menlo and warbloggerwatch.

>  1 August 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , , ,



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