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Sinclair Smith & Company is a multi-disciplinary design studio based in Brooklyn, NY. Our services include strategic consulting, industrial design and interior design.

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Saul Bass pitch for the Bell System logo

Posted on Oct 30, 2012 in Advertising, Branding, graphic design, History, Tech, Typography

This film is Saul Bass‘s 1969 pitch for updating and unifying the brand of the Bell telephone system. Bass’s proposal was accepted almost in its entirety making it the largest rebranding project ever at the time. The breadth of the proposal, tackling everything from the ubiquitous logo to the representational and behavioral needs of the workers and their clothing is mind blowing. Take a half hour and watch this. You can watch the film a little larger on the AT&T site here.

Steve Ballmer on connecting with consumers

Posted on Oct 25, 2012 in Advertising, Branding, Business

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spoke to BBC radio today on the occasion of the much anticipated release of Windows 8 and was questioned about the company’s varying successes at competing in the mobile and tablet space. It’s a relatively thorough interview for radio and I encourage listening to the whole thing. The interview is here. Quotes that stood out to me as they relate to my class at SVA are, “we have to prove it. we have to get out there and tell the story. And we welcome the opportunity to do that…” as well as “how do we put those in the market in a way that captures consumer imagination?” You can dump billions into development, design, manufacturing and distribution, but if you don’t connect with the consumer, you’re dead in the water. You have to teach the consumer how to integrate new products and product behaviors into their existing habits and behaviors. Everyone does.

Vigilantes of the Montana Territory

Posted on Sep 12, 2012 in Advertising, Antiques, graphic design, History, Typography

Umm… AWESOME!!!! (via nytimes via the Grolier Club)

Snotty ketchup

Posted on Jul 8, 2012 in Advertising, Branding, Food, Packaging, sustaina-bling

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Heinz has been going kind of nuts with their use of the big squeeze bottle’s real estate on the label. I commend their labels that support troops, sending a string message while reinforcing a good ole American product image, and I’m glad they are engaging the consumer in their effort to reduce waste and raise awareness. But this level of conspicuous conservation is too ostentatious and self-satisfied for my tastes.

Even if is do like the taste of Heinz.

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Citi Bike

Streetsblog.org has announced that Citi Band will sponsor New York’s bike share program beginning in July. Those guys are no dopes. It’s a great lifestyle brand extension for them. Good for the city. Good for people and quality of life. Good for business. Ka’ching!!

Vintage stationary with architectural vignettes

BibliOdyssey has a post displaying fantastic samples from Columbia University’s collection of commercial stationary.

Uline stickies pallet

Posted on Jan 24, 2012 in Advertising, Branding, Endless stuff, Quotidien things

Awww, how cute is that? (Yes, I placed a quarter there for scale. So?)

Coke and Pepsi race to be first to replace teeth with plant based plastic. Wait, what?

No, sorry, that’s not right. A New York Times story today reports that “the beverage rivals are racing to become the first to produce a plastic soda bottle made entirely from plants.” And in all sincerity I hope they both get there soon. But in a load of BS so incongruous with a century plus rivalry between two industrial giants, the piece ends with this quote from Pepsi’s VP of global beverage packaging: “We don’t feel it’s a race” Ms. Lefebvre said. “We feel like were all working together to do better for the environment and also to make good business sense.” Yeah right. (more…)

Mid Bronx Haulage

Posted on Aug 27, 2011 in Advertising, Branding, Color, graphic design, New York, Typography

Mid Bronx is a commercial garbage collection company that I found up by the job I’m on and they’ve been doing weekly collections from my site. Super nice guys and I really love the type treatment on their truck. It’s a classic industrial logo type. And they have great shirts to match. I managed to score one. XL. It looks like a dress on me. (Please don’t tell them.)

Scope Outlast packaging fail

Posted on Jul 22, 2011 in Advertising, Branding, Color, Dysfunction, Featured, Packaging

Ok, so I am SUPER late to the party on this one, but I just saw the Scope Outlast bottle in the store and was really taken aback. I got four words: gypsy cab air freshener. As reported in the Dieline in 2009, brand management at Scope and the designers at Webb deVlam wanted to ensure the bottle would not be relegated to under sink cabinet status for reasons of exposing the brand and encouraging routine use. All well and good, so they went with a jewel and perfume bottle inspired form to elevate status by form association. Ok, also well and good, particularly when you think that Scope makes your breath smell fresh. Ok, doing great, and then along comes the semiotic disruptor– blue liquid!!! Noooooooo!!! So here’s a question: what’s a blue or brightly colored liquid that comes in a jewel like bottle so it can be elevated to above the counter status when really it’s trash? Four words: gypsy cab air freshener.