Socially Responsible Design

As more companies recognize the imperative of lowering their environmental impact, it’s essential to be informed about the latest in sustainability design. Green design and design for good are the way of the future, and savvy designers are creating projects that are positive for people, communities, the planet, and profits. Imprint highlights innovators and eco design strategies, allowing you to truly go green.

Vintage Orange Crush Soda Bottles Take a Ribbing

I grew up drinking Orange Crush and hearing my mom tell stories of how it used to come in brown bottles, supposedly to protect the flavor. But by the time I was a kid, those days were long gone, and Crush’s bottles were clear. I was also aware that Orange Crush was made in...

Food Fights for Freedom

Most readers have not experienced rationing first hand (other than gas rationing in the late 1970s, perhaps). But during World War II virtually every essential and consumable product was strictly rationed by the government. This was to preserve valuable stores of food, manufactures, and raw materials. In the spring of 1942, the Food Rationing...

The Motion-Graphic Ads Of Burma-Shave: 1927-1963

In a simpler time, when automobiles went slower and the pre-Eisenhower highway system in the United States was less developed, there was a popular advertising campaign that ran from 1927 until 1963. It consisted of rhymed messages sequentially staked on the right side of the road, all ending with the advertiser’s name, “Burma-Shave.” These...

Howdy 7Up!

I became interested in pop bottles (I grew up in the Chicago area where we all said “pop”) and related stuff when I was about 12 years old. I had gone inside an old garage that was attached to a neighborhood house that was being torn down and inside was a cache of un-returned...

Amazing X-Ray Glasses And 9000 Other Novelties – Johnson Smith & Co.

With Chicago’s “C2E2″ 2012 ComicCon (http://www.c2e2.com/) approaching this week from April 13-15 at McCormick Place, it seems fitting that I do a piece on an aspect of comic books that everyone even remotely acquainted with the realm knows well – the Johnson Smith & Company of Detroit, Michigan. You may not recognize the firm’s...

For the Love of Cardboard!

I usually steer clear of trade show booth design since there are so many nit-picky rules but West Paw asked me to design their booth, and they are so cool I just couldn’t help myself. They are truly “eco” and not in the trendy “trying-to-look-eco” way. Their main focus is dog beds made from recycled...

Lunch Break Video: an Anti-Globalization Animation

Animations of real life chitchat have a rich – and even an Academy Award winning – history. John and Faith Hubley received Oscars for their cell painted Moonbird, a visualization of their kids’ playful fantasies, back in 1959, and for their 1962 The Hole, a transformation of a Dizzy Gillespie verbal improv riff. And Nick...

Letting Off Steam

Steam Punk is the retro fitting of retro fits. It is ironic nostalgia for the Victorian past – the complexity of old steam-run machinery. The great turbines that ran the early technologies are now mere chips. But one thing remains the same: Steam furnaces. They may look a bit more sleek – more like...

A True Visionary Gives Chicago A Landmark Branding Campaign Circa 1920-30

(This piece is a much expanded version of an article co-written with photographer/writer John Gruber for Print Magazine and the British trade mag Ads International in 1998.) The thought of Chicago in the 1920’s usually conjures up images of gangsters, Prohibition, and other Roaring 20’s clichés, but there was another movement in the Chicago...

From A Frisky Bruce Lee to Stephen Colbert’s “Tek Jansen”

The Bruce Lee craze of the 1970s produced an endless array of merchandise in the hopes of cashing in on the world-renowned martial artist’s popularity – especially after his untimely death in 1973 at the age of 32. I’d been a fan of his since he’d played “Kato” in the old “Green Hornet” TV...