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Thursday Thinky: Video, Texture & Typography

The Superbowl is behind us. We were rooting for the 49ers, especially in our SF office, but congratulations to the Chiefs! Like many of you, we were also eager to see all the ads… and frankly we were a little disappointed.

So, instead of making this Thinky the 4,586th article over-analyzing these ads, we decided to share with you videos of another kind: art, cultural expression, social celebration, innovation, and issue impact. And as usual, we threw in a few bonus articles on design inspiration for good measure.

Happy Thursday!



Less Reading, More Watching


Google Search – A celebration of black history makers (YouTube)

Google is always doing a good job with their ads, even when they remind us that they know everything about us. Their “year in search” videos might be their best work. They are always eye opening, and they’ve taken that same approach a few times now to address specific moments in time, cultural movements, etc. The simplicity of these always gets us, especially thinking about how intimately linked they are to data.


Thinky Grade: A-



National Trust – Celebrating its 125th anniversary with words of its founder & a beautifully edited found footage video  (YouTube)

We didn’t realize that the text was from the trust’s founder until the end, which we would imagine was purposeful. What really caught our attention here was the artful juxtaposition of the parks against all of the other chaos and noise of our everyday lives, and the simplicity of the supers carrying the story. Our guess is that most of what was used here was found footage, and what a great job they did editing it together to tell a story.


Thinky Grade: B+



Ad Council – Bullied teens speak from the future  (Muse by Clio)

As is usually the trend with things from AdCouncil, we’re kinda torn on this. The basis is solid: celebrating teens who stepped in to combat or prevent bullying, and showing how that one impact can have a ripple effect on someone’s life. Kudos to them for coming at the issue of bullying from a place of positivity and individual empowerment. Where my head-tilt comes in, though, is the aging piece of this. It feels more like a gimmick than something central to the story and impact.


We actually found it distracting, esp. because at the end, the real present day friends came back into the room. If the point they wanted to hit home was the lifelong impact of friends standing for each other, could they have found two people who were ACTUALLY in their 20s, who hadn’t seen each other in years, and one shares how the other’s small gesture made an actual difference in their lives, vs creating a computer generated future? It looked like this was more about trying out some cool new tech than adding to the story, and it detracted from the authenticity of it.


Thinky Grade: C+



Design Inspiration 


This movie poster is made entirely of weed (Muse by Clio)

Not even mixed, just… smokable media! Which makes perfect sense, because the movie is about an American expatriate who became rich by building a marijuana empire in London. What a cool way to bring part of the story to life with texture and relevancy.


Thinky Grade: A+



Geeking out on typography (New York Times)

First, we had no idea the  Type Directors Club existed–it’s a nonprofit that promotes education in type. Second, type is so damn important, and nuanced, and cool. Just think about everything a typeface can convey about a personality, how it alters our perception of something, and how even if you’re not a typeophile you can still sometimes tell when something’s just doesn’t feel quite right. Such a cool area to explore.



Using photography to show the connection between poverty and mental health (Creative Review)

We all know how powerful a photo can be in trying to capture a moment, a condition, an emotion, a plea…but that there’s also a fine line to tow between being compelling, and being  “poverty porn.” This photographer, who began her career as a psychotherapist, explores the ethics, sensitivities, and considerations behind her work, and how building relationships with the people and communities she profiles allows her to tell much deeper, richer stories through her images while honoring and upholding their dignity and humanity.


There’s so much more to talk about when it comes to effectiveness and measurement…but that’s a post for another day. Thanks for reading today’s Thinky. See you next week!

PS: If any of the above made your wheels spin, we’d love to hear your thoughts–get in touch with us!

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