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Nov–Dec 2015

Nov– Dec

2015

ISSUE NO. 1 CONSUMERISM

ISSUE NO. 1 CONSUMERISM


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A G A M K N I O Z 2


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Issue No. 1: Consumerism

The age of the millennials has been heralded in with lots of arguments, controversy, and the over arching question of what to do with this new age of adults. Rather than the spotlight of previous generations, millennials seem doomed to only be lit by the dim glow of a screen. Never before has a generation with so many resources been met with so much scorn and so little optimism. The solution, however, lies not in the reformation of older minds bending to younger inclinations. Rather, the prosaic young adults of Generation Y are better off looking to the past to solve current and future problems they face. Great minds in recent and antiquated history used ingenuity and their current resources to solve ongoing problems, a skill millennials would be wise to adapt. The post-modern world demands a revival of a new generation seeking to distinguish themselves from the trend-mongers of the present day. The time has come for a new wave of young men and women to engage with the world around them. In a culture that tends to look lowly upon new adults, it is essential for millennials to enrich their knowledge of and experience with the attitudes and events of previous generations. By studying different eras, a sum of ideologies, concepts, movements, failures and successes, the millennial adult can fully equip themselves for the obstacles of the contemporary lifetime. Reflect on the past to improve your future.

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Introduction: The Consumerism Issue

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Social Media

Brands

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The Social Consumer

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The Brand Loyalist

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The Consumer Revolution

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Branded

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The Rebel Consumer

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Design Spotlight

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My Self Image Hurts

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Trash Fashion

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Facebook Made Me Buy It

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A Brief Restructure

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Does Design Matter?

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The Young And The Penniless

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Product Placement

Ethics

Sources

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Shout Out to that Shout Out

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10 Reasons to Consume Less

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Text

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Who Owns Your Wallet?

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Quality Over Quantity

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Images

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Film Giants: Brownjohn & Bass

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Less Is More

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Credits

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Conscious Consumerism

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Form & Function: Frutiger & Eames

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Interview With Eames

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Value vs. Values

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8 Ways To Avoid Being A Jackwagon

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Artist Spotlight: Alain Delorme

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Look What You Did

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E H T

O C In her insightful book, A Consumers’ Republic, Lizabeth Cohen, a professor of American studies at Harvard University, refers to the era of postwar prosperity, during the years 1945 to 1975, as time that bred American consumerism. This era changed life as it is today; prior to the post-war economic boom, there had been no widespread convenience stores or shopping malls. American society changed to a consumer society almost overnight. Consumerism, commercialism, and materialism quickly became central aspects of the dominant culture where goods and services were acquired not only to satisfy common needs but also to secure identity and meaning. The Mid-Century Modern movement that lasted from around 1945 until 1965 reacted to consumerism’s dysfunctionality and clutter. The thoughts of those against the current consumerist culture drove the designers then to create ground-breaking ideas of how life should be lived amidst this new monster. Shaped by the nation’s freedom from economic depression and war, consumerism thrived in the expanding culture enthralled with rock music, color television, and overall social change. This was the newer, wealthier America with a thriving middle class. Figures such as Elvis Presley peaked in 1955 and started influencing teen behavior. The time was filled with hope. Teenagers, with no memories of the hardships 6

M U S N of the Great Depression, spent money as they pleased. Adults, who had survived the economic disaster of the 30s and the rationing during World War II, were just as eager to empty their pockets of their newfound expendable income. However, someone had to organize everything. Influenced by Bauhaus and International Swiss design, the designers of the Mid-Century Modern era believed in simplicity, affordability, functionality, accessibility, and overall efficiency. These ideals impacted architecture, furniture, book covers, poster designs, and much more. Houses were built to be open and airy while still appearing geometric with large glass windows and filled with visually light furniture. The organic balance with nature desired in house design was contrasted with the intense manufacturing methods that focused on quick mass production through manipulation of materials. Such practices were meant to cause people to organize for better clarity and quality of life among all of the new inventions, social norms, and ideas floating around.


Issue No. 1: Consumerism

M S I R E M E U S IS One such hero in design was Bradbury Thompson. He was truly a master of almost every aspect of the design profession. He studied production, was an art director for Mademoiselle magazine, designed books, pushed the boundaries of conventional typography, and taught design at Yale University. He designed 60 plus issues of Westvaco Inspirations for the Westvaco Paper Corporation. His designs reached thousands of designers, printers, and typographers. Born in 1911 in Topeka, Kansas and educated at Washburn University, Thompson stayed in touch with the university throughout his career. From 1969–1979 Thompson worked together with Washburn to create the Washburn Bible. The book was the most significant development in Bible typography since Gutenberg first published his masterpiece in 1455. Another significant point in his career, in the field of typography, was his publication of Alphabet 26, which was labeled as a monoalphabet. It contained only 26 unique characters, was case established by size only instead of entirely new characters (i.e. r/R, e/E, a/A). Thompson’s work garnered him the highest award of every major design organization including AIGA, the Art Directors Club, and the Type Directors Club. He died in 1995. Like many creatives at the time, Thompson dedicated his life to solving the problem of how people saw things, exemplified by

his Alphabet 26 that sought to make reading easier for people who had dyslexia, by using simplification and other Mid-Century Modern influences to make the country a better place for everyone. In response to designers like Thompson and so many others, this issue has been designed to create an awareness of how advertising, cultural norms, social pressures, and psychological associations all help to drive the idea of consumerism and how by looking to and drawing from the ideals formed during the era of Mid-Century Modern design, individuals can break free the consumerist mindset and live a healthier, more affordable, and a more simple lifestyle.

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L A I C O S A I D E M 8


Issue No. 1: Consumerism

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Social media has not only become a massive part of our everyday lives, but has also affected how companies communicate with their customers. By doing so, firms have increased the scope and impact of consumerism. Before the advent of social media and the Internet, companies would deliver information to their consumers on their own terms. Now the consumer can share information about a company with other customers; and as a result, many shoppers rely on public opinion that is posted online for all to see. Furthermore, social media is constantly changing with society and is no longer able to detect our interests based on our previous searches. Google now customizes our search results for us, Facebook remembers the faces of our friends, and Twitter helps users correctly tag tweets based off of our previous online activity. The Internet has become the mess of cluttered opinions and products that thrive just as supermarkets did during the era of mid-century consumerist America. As a result this, our families, friends, and companionships have become consumerism’s principal casualties. We are constantly channeling our desires, insecurities, and need to demonstrate our worth and success. We want to simultaneously fit in and stand out. We grow increasingly obsessed with material things like bigger homes, fancier cars, branded apparel, and more appliances and gadgets, just as Americans once did in the prosperity following World War II. The difference is that now the trend to buy the newest thing keeps growing, and the Internet empowers the process and makes purchasing faster than ever before. As Ed Diener and Marti Seligman, two leaders in the field of positive psychology, point out, “The quality of people’s social relationships is crucial to their well-being. People need supportive, positive relationships, and social belonging to sustain well-being.” 10

Being aware of changes in media and business to consumer interaction can help you be less overwhelmed by the media. It can also equip you with understanding of how to handle the social media advertisements. Guarding yourself from consumerism’s influence on the Internet will allow you to focus more on the things in life that truly matter.


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The Social Consumer 11


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Issue No. 1: Consumerism

Welcome To The Consumer Revolution by Nicholas Greene

Social media hasn’t just changed the way we purchase; it has changed something integral in the way that we communicate. Since Facebook and Twitter have taken off, many people do not only talk differently, they also see the world in a different way. Everybody is connected and has a voice; because of this, users also have the ability to instantly connect with the top dogs of an organization and give or receive negative feedback about a brand. It’s not social media that actually influences the purchasing decisions and habits of the users: rather, it’s the sharing of thoughts and opinions. Now that people realize that they actually have a voice, many people tune out the organizations that don’t listen to their voice. They now expect to have control in the evolution of an organization and feel entitled to have a say in what a brand does with itself. The bustling social network of Facebook, the massive information hub of Twitter, the large collection of videos available on YouTube, and the colossal index of content on Reddit all let customers connect with one another in ways that, a few decades ago, we could only have dreamed of. The sharing of ideas, opinions, and thoughts has never been simpler. Yet it has

caused consumers, as a whole, to become increasingly visual communicators. It’s a trend known as the visual social media era. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and it’s usually easier to share as well. People like visual stimulation as well as being impressed by how something looks and to be inspired to share a funny or poignant image. This free exchange of information through both the Internet and social media also means that every customer is equipped with the tools for in-depth research about a brand or product rather than having to rely on the testimony of a sales associate, a form of advertising, or a magazine review. Now, a consumer can just look to their social networks to see what others think about a product. Furthermore, websites like The Consumerist have an aim of keeping businesses accountable to their customers and to the law. So it never takes long for a mistake to hit the news for all to hear. Once again, the free exchange of information and ideas has lead to a large shift in consumer perspective and spending habits. Many people have always liked free stuff. Now more than ever, they’re actively seeking it because many 13


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markets are so saturated. The traditional “pay per single product” model of distribution seems, in many cases, outdated and archaic. The new subscription based models such as Netflix and deep discount sales are becoming more and more common because it makes customers feel as if he or she has continual access to more movies or games and is therefore saving money. As a result, individuals end up consuming more than they might have originally because of all of the “free things” that they can access. Consumer loyalty has always been a valuable thing, but never has it been more valuable than in the age of social networking. Before, one might share their love of a particular brand with a few associates at work, family members, and some close friends out in public. Now, they will endorse the product to friends on their social network pages. Somewhere around 2/3 of users on social networks feel that their buying 14

decisions are influenced by said networks via friends recommendations or reviews. In today’s society, it’s easier to stay connected than it is to stay disconnected from the world. This trend has bled over into purchasing habits because many users will research new products and services using their tablets or smart phones. Similarly, many people will log into their social media accounts using their mobile devices and receive more influence to buy items while there. Moreover, multiple people check their social networks before rendering a final decision on whether or not to buy a product. Something else to consider is that as a society, we are, on average, more tech savvy today than we were several years ago. All of that readily available information means that anyone can be an expert on a product or service, if they have the time to research it. The widespread penetration of personal computing devices


Issue No. 1: Consumerism

and smart phones means that, by necessity, most people at least understand the basics of how technology works, and how to use this to redefine their relationship with businesses. Likely, this will not change, and so we’ll have to continue to adapt to the way that our culture functions as a whole. Our society just spends so much time focused on purchasing that it often makes us feel like we are required to do it often. By living in a culture of distraction, media has a strong influence over our emotions and decision processes. Every user usually has a million things going on at once. Most users are stimulated in so many ways, that they barely have time to devote to just one thing. As a result, there’s a whole lot of white noise, which can often cause us to feel the need to take action into our own hands, ending in a purchase of something to calm our emotions.

When Did We Start Trusting Strangers, a report that interviewed 17,000 people in 29 countries, conclusively proved that, as we thought, social media is now directly impacting the way we buy products and services. The publishing of billions of thoughts, opinions, and experiences online in the form of blog posts, videos, ratings, reviews, and photos is fundamentally changing the way everybody online sources opinions on products, brands, and services when they buy an item. This has huge impacts on the way that advertisers and brands have to think about social media by moving from a “nice to have” philosophy to an “essential to have” one. In fact, it has become so easy to influence buyers that we can now consider everyone, especially everyone online, an influencer to some degree. The result of this is that we look to and trust new sources for information and the research clearly shows we now trust the 15


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“By living in a culture of distraction, media has a strong influence over our emotions and decision processes.”

opinions of strangers we read online as much as our closest friends and certainly more than advertising’s opinion. This demonstrates the fundamental importance of the social media revolution that we are living through now. Participation in social media is not a choice; it is a default way of living. This is a consumer revolution, they are the ones that choose who take part in supporting or discussing certain brands.The number one reason that consumers review a product is a good experience, or they have a friend who had a good experience. It’s also worth remembering that brands have online experiences, content and services all of which can establish their presence and reputation online, making us more vulnerable to their advertising schemes. Be careful of such ploys so that you don’t find yourself spending money on products that you do not really need to physically survive. 16

For example, if you could substitute that nightly run to Cookout for a granola bar or an apple back home. You could save a fair amount of money by realizing that there are other ways to enjoy your time while still fulfilling your needs.


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THE

L E B E R N O C 18


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R E M U NS 19


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Rebelling against mass society is not the same thing as rebelling against consumer society, because regardless of what you try and do, you will need to consume something in order to survive in today’s world. The problem is that comparative preferences, fueled by the Internet’s large opinion allowance, generate competitive consumption among many people. However, what you do not need to do is buy a house on a mountain top and be completely different from everyone else, knowing all the obscure brands and trends before everyone else does, like the “Hipster movement” insinuates. You can still buy a loft downtown or a house in the suburbs, eat at your favorite restaurants,

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listen to your ideal music, and live a life based off of individual decisions about what functions well for you and for those around you. It doesn’t matter how much people spend on these things or how many people share similar interests that you do, what matters is that you have intention and confidence behind what you do and who you are. By continually changing our preferences on topics such as what type of clothes to wear, it continually generates the cycles of obsolescence and waste that we condemn as “consumerism”. When in reality, as mentioned above, we all have to consume something if we want to live.


Issue No. 1: Consumerism

The point is we do not have to purchase so much so often with so little purpose other than to feel in control or more important. These ways of thinking align with the ideals of the Mid-Century Modern designers and architects who removed the unnecessary to provide clarity and freedom for whatever the message, idea, use, construction, or lifestyle needed to be.

consume and invest time in. Lastly, utilizing these ideals and learning to think ahead when interacting with the media could make you more of an individual in the long run, which appeals to both peers and future employers, improving your quality of life for the present and the future.

One such designer was Alvin Lustig. A student of Frank Lloyd Wright, among others, Alvin Lustig had a very successful career in graphic design and art direction. Revolutionizing the approach to book cover design in the 1940s, Lustig would attempt to get a sense of the writer’s direction from reading the book and then translate it into his own graphic style (the previous trend was to summarize the book with one image). The combination of new technology and creativity in his designs was reminiscent of the Bauhaus, as did his intellectual approach to problem solving. He designed books in LA for New Directions before moving to New York to become the Director of Visual Research for Look Magazine. He rose to success early in his career garnering work for all types of clients and working on a vast array of types of projects. He died much too early at the age of 40, in 1955. His simplified shapes and use of flat colors, all while creating elaborate and intensely interesting compositions, are still imitated today by so many graphic designers. Everyone can learn from Lustig’s mindset and thought processes, as we can from other Mid-Century Modern innovators who were willing to solve issues of their time, that through simple communication, ideas can be conveyed to more interestingly represent their intent Similarly, the Internet is useful for knowing how to sift through information and products if you know how to use it to your advantage instead of being influenced to consume every time you use it. By simplifying our time spent on the web, we could instead use it as an intended tool to learn more about what to 21


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My Self Image Hurts by Joe Beder

Without a doubt the media has a strong influence in what becomes popular, cool, attractive, and relevant. Such control often excludes individuals because they feel inadequate when they compare themselves to the image that the world tells them they should look like or how they should act or what their interests should be. This is largely designed to sell us something: a product, service, body image, or idea, that we should consume or invest money in trying to live up to and replicate within ourselves. One of the ways we can protect our self-esteem and body image from the media’s often narrow definition of beauty or acceptability is to become a critical viewer of the media messages we are bombarded with each day. Remember that advertisers will often construct an emotional experience that looks like reality. Just because they think their approach will work with people like you does not mean it has to work with you as an individual. Media messages about body shape and size will affect the way we feel about our own bodies only if we allow it. When we effectively recognize and analyze influential media messages, we remember that the media’s definitions of beauty and success do not have to define our self-image or potential. Use your creative mind to view all media with a discriminating eye and know that most media images and messages are just constructions; they are not reflections of reality. 22


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Furthermore, brands are often used as expressions of lifestyle and identity in the media. Identification with particular brands can define and communication group identity, social status and aspirations. As one marketing theorist wrote, “the presence of a brand (or even the attitudes held toward it) can serve to define a person with respect to others”, such that the “brand becomes an extension or integral part of the self”. This should not limit your decisions on a brand name item or service. If you enjoy a brand for your own reasons then you should be free to take part in the merchandise. However, being aware of the connotations associated with some brands cannot hurt and may inform you of what the brand stands for, even if it does not match with the definition that the media or others portray about the brand. As individuals, we decide how to experience the media messages we encounter. We can choose to use a filter that helps us understand what the advertiser wants us to think or believe, and then choose whether we want to believe the message. After, we can choose a filter that protects our self-esteem and body image; express yourself and help promote healthier body image messages in the media. When you see an ad or hear a message that makes you feel bad about yourself, your body, or others by promoting one ideal body type, write the advertiser about your thoughts. It can work and you can then be used to better yourself, which will free up mental space that can be used to better your overall person. 23


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Facebook Made Me Buy It

Drew Olanoff testifies on the impact social media has had on his personal buying habits.

Drew Olanoff testifies on the impact social media has had on his personal buying habits. The Internet is such a wonderful thing, isn’t it? I mean, it’s brought us together today to talk about things like how social media can affect your spending habits. That has to count for something, right? The question isn’t whether social services on the Web influence how we spend money, but rather how they affect your habits. At the end of the day business can’t survive without making money, and that’s why we’re seeing a flood of social services that might push you over the ledge to buy new shiny thing that you probably can’t afford. That’s how they’re making money, after all. We’ve all seen how social media can influence our spending and I’ve had a recent example that illustrates this topic perfectly. A friend of mine posted a cool pair of Converse sneakers on Facebook that, get this, had Dr. Seuss characters on them. How cool is that? I clicked the link and saw that they were on sale. Without thinking twice, I purchased a pair of the shoes for myself and less than three days later, I was wearing them on my feet. Social media totally affected my spending habits in that scenario and it did it in three ways: influence, information, and indiscretion. Let’s take a look closely at each of these. 24

Influence In the scenario that I explained above, I was clearly influenced by a friend of mine on Facebook. When I saw the link with a picture of the shoes, I jumped at clicking on them because I trust my friend. She’s pretty good at finding cool stuff. If she took the time to post the shoes, then they’re clearly worth at least looking at. The only thing that she posted along with her link was the word ‘WANT”. Clearly, these are shoes that haven’t just gotten her attention... she might actually buy a pair. She’s already gone through the process of finding the item, blessing them as “cool”, and then shared them out to her friends. All of the “hard work” was done for me, all I had to do was check them out. Information Along with the influence of a friend on a site like Twitter or Facebook, they’re giving you the information that you need before you take your credit card out to make a purchase. When it comes to sharing items for purchase on the web, you’re usually sent directly to the order page for that item. These are well thought out landing pages that companies are banking on sealing the deal once you visit. What will you find when you visit one of these item pages? A lot of information. You’ll see how many other people “Liked” it on Facebook, reviews from others who


Issue No. 1: Consumerism

have bought it, and tons of beautiful photos. All of the information you would ever need to make a purchase is right there. There’s no need to talk to a salesperson or do any comparison- shopping because you have everything packaged up nicely for you. Indiscretion Once your friend has shared something and you’ve found the information that supports the originally perceived coolness of it, then it’s time to throw caution to the wind and but the thing. Indiscretion is the part of this that makes social media so valuable for companies when it comes to tapping into our spending habits. Our friends have a lot of influence over what we do, where we go and what we buy. And rightfully so, we trust them and that’s why they’re our friends. Companies know that if they can excite someone about a product, it might turn into a slew of sales for them. Even if the original poster of the cool thing doesn’t buy the item, they’ve blessed it for everyone else.

in a physical store it’s easier to come to your senses and save your money. But even then, I’ve tweeted while I was in Best Buy, hoping that my friends could validate a potential purpose for me with their inherent influence, that’s exactly how social media affects my spending habits. And even as I type this out, it’s unlikely I’ll pass on the next awesome thing that one of my friends post online.

Once my friends think something is cool and the presented information backs that up, I will make some pretty foolish purchases. I’ve bought movie-themed items, video games on a whim, and, shockingly, Dr. Seuss sneakers. Why? Because the sales cycle was social and fast. When you’re 25


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Does Design Really Matter? Industrial design professor and former head of Seoul Design Foundation Shim Jae-jin gives his thoughts on why design is important and how it impacts everyday life.

The designer has been carrying a pen by the German fountain pen company, LAMY, in his suit pocket for twelve years. Over these years, he developed affection toward it to the point where he doesn’t go anywhere without it. “I always check whether I have the pen in my suit pocket and if it’s not there, I look for it everywhere,” said Shim, “It’s such a timeless design without unnecessary add-ons,” he added. Design greatly influences our lives, more than most of us realize. A good design is about more than just appearances, according to Shim, it can change people’s lives. Choi Soo-bin, a 24-year-old mobile web designer, said her iPad has changed her lifestyle. “I used to carry a laptop and recently bought a new iPad. It changed my lifestyle. I read books on the iPad and sketch my ideas on it,” said Choi, who described her job title as a “user experience designer” who designs user-friendly interfaces for mobile systems and devices. Choi described the “chemistry” between a welldesigned product and its user by saying, “If I look at a product with good design or enter a beautifully designed space, I attract to the object or place.” Some products are seductive enough to be praised as iconic. The citrus squeezer Juicy Salif, designed by the French designer Philippe Starck, has been selling at a rate of 50,000 a year since its launch in 1990.

Yet according to Shim, the primary value of design is to improve use, not have too much focus on aesthetics. “Design is not something that is used to make things look good. It is embedded in our everyday lives, as in the transportation system, to help people to live efficiently, safely and, comfortably,” said Shim, “Art is something driven by instinct, but design is based on a rational and commercial purpose,” he explained. Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa has taken a step further in usercentered design by incorporating people’s behavior patterns into design. His MUJI CD player looks like a simple circular device with a pull cord, resembling a ventilation fan found in Japanese apartments. The pull cord, however, enables people to instinctively turn on the CD player by pulling the cord just like they do for a cool breeze inside their apartments. Furthermore, a shampoo bottle design by LG Household and Healthcare is another good example of behavior-inspired design. A set of bath product bottles look the same, but users can tell which one they should use by touching the distinct pattern on the bottles without having to open their eyes while in the shower.

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The recent phenomenon of customized products is in line with the growing trend of people desiring a special design made exclusively for them. As consumers’ expectations rise, many brands have started to create one-of-a-kind designs for selected customers. Adidas enables customers to create their own shoes that will be a perfect fit by choosing product types, colors, and having their feet measured. “The production of customized products became more possible with developments in technology. The brand can simply enter data in their computer systems and make a special product for a customer without spending too much money,” said Shim. He noted innovative design does not start from a zero base, but means much improvement from the original design, “Innovative design is born when there’s an original design. The country which can make the original design is the one with the real design power.” An example of an innovative designer would be Ladislav Sutnar. Ladislav Sutnar, a Czech designer born in 1897, was one of the first designers to actively practice the field of information design. His work was rooted in rationality and the process of displaying massive amounts of information in a clear and organized manner for easy consumption by the general for easy consumption by the general viewer. He placed a heavy emphasis on typography and primarily used a limited color palette. While he often used punctuation symbols to help organize information one of his signature creations was the idea to place parentheses around the area codes in telephone books.

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For nearly 20 years he served as the art director for Sweet’s catalog services where he created information graphics and catalog layouts for a wide range of manufactured items. Before working for Sweet’s he taught at the state school of Graphic arts in Prague. He was heavily influenced by the ideas of Modernism and his work was so well structured that he has no problems communicating information clearly to an American audience, even though English was not his primary language.


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A R B 30


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The difference between a production society, which focused on meeting basic needs, and a consumption society, which emphasized customers’ wants, was like the difference between a 1908 Ford Model T and a 1959 Ford Galaxie. The Model T, available only in black, was a utilitarian piece of machinery intended for basic transportation. The Galaxie, decked out in shiny chrome, was a way to show off and enjoy a sense of luxury, not just to move from place to place. However, within a year or two, it would be obsolete as fashion changed. Now, blessed with abundant resources, America could afford to turn part of its productive capacity to creating glitz and fashionable waste. An older generation was careful to save and reuse; Americans in the fifties began to use and throw away as fit the fashion. They became “consumers”. Consumption became commonplace; things were readily available and easily disposable. In today’s world, we’re facing a new kind of modern consumption problem; consumption is not about conformity, it’s about distinction. Young people are consuming in order to set themselves apart from others. To show they are cooler (a fresh pair of Nikes), better connected (the best new iPhone model), better informed (a bottle of single-malt scotch), more morally superior (a growing collection of Guatemalan handicrafts), or just plain richer (not your father’s old BMW, but your BMW). Welcome to the age of Competitive Consumerism.

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The Brand Loyalist 33


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Branded by Joseph Andrew Speth

Brands do not bring us together—brands set us apart. Once we acknowledge the role that distinction plays in structuring consumption, it’s easy to see why people care about brands so much. Of course, most sophisticated people claim that they don’t care about brands—a big load of hooey. Many people who consider themselves “anti-consumerist” are extremely brand-conscious. Most people are able to fool themselves into believing that they don’t care because their preferences are primarily negative. They would never be caught dead driving a Chrysler or listening to Celine Dion. It is precisely by not buying these uncool items that they establish their social superiority. (It is also why, when they do consume mass society products, they must do so “ironically”—so as to preserve their rare bird status.) As renowned intellectual Pierre Bourdieu reminds us, taste is first and foremost distaste—disgust and “visceral intolerance” of the taste of others. This makes it easy to see how the critique of mass society could help drive consumerism. Brands today are presented as more than just a set of products manufactured by a particular corporation, but as products representing 34

a set of experiences or values, as a lifestyle. Advertisers seek to associate their brands with culturally valued images, feelings and sensibilities. Celebrity endorsements are also used to associate brands with the feelings of loyalty and admiration that those celebrities inspire amongst young people. The objective is to create a strong emotional connection between people and brands they consume. In the past, consumerism was driven mainly by advertising. During the mid-century spending on product promotion boomed, from 6 billion dollars annually in 1950 to more than 13 billion dollars by 1963. “The reason we have such a very high standard of living,” Robert Sarnoff, president of the National Broadcasting Company, said in 1956, “is because advertising has created an American frame of mind that makes people want more things, better things, and newer things. There’s no question that advertising drove the purchase of new products, which in turn kept the nation’s economic wheels turning. And as Sarnoff pointed out, Americans did achieve a high standard of living. However, some critics questioned whether a reliance on consumers


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to drive a huge portion of the economy was wise in the long term. Half a century later our current economic crisis, fueled in part by a large collapse of consumer spending, has raised that question once again. In a ‘stick a finger in the dam’ approach some advertisers have turned their attentions to a new clientele: really, a new to everything clientele. Advertisers recognize that brand loyalties and consumer habits that form when children are young and vulnerable will be carried through adulthood. According to the media critic Doug Rushkoff: “The fresh neurons of young brains are valuable mental real estate to amend and by seeding their products early, the marketers can do more than just develop brand recognition; they can cultivate a demographics’ sensibilities as they are formed.” In addition to forming life long loyalties whilst young, marketers recognize that children can form attachments to products well before they are ready and able to actually buy them.

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Erik Nitsche

Erik Nitsche left an unmistakable mark on the world of design in his approximately 60-year career. Leaving almost no field untouched, he worked as an art director, book designer, illustrator, typographer, graphic designer, photographer, advertiser, and packaging designer. His graphic design work included magazine covers, signage, film, exhibitions,posters and many other advertising mediums. Before emigrating to the United States in 1934 Nitsche studied at the Collège Classique in Switzerland and the Kunstgewerbeschule in Munich. His work has a distinctly modernist aesthetic, and although he never had the opportunity to attend the Bauhaus, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy has been quoted as saying “Who is this guy that is doing the Bauhaus in

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New York?� He designed promotional material and advertising campaigns for a host of different clients including department stores, feature films, record companies and the New York Transit Authority. Nitsche greatly influenced the young generation of designers in America in the mid-20th century including the designers Walter Bernard and Seymour Chwast.


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Lester Beall

A man with a very technology-oriented background, Beall grew up playing with Ham radios and creating his own wireless sets. He graduated with a PhD in the History of Fine Art and the years following his graduation found him expressing an interest in modern art movements such as Surrealism, Constructivism and Dadaism. His work as an advertiser and graphic designer quickly gained international recognition and the most productive years of his career, during the 1930s and 40s, saw many successes in both fields.

easily recognizable as his own. He eventually moved to rural New York and set up an office, and home, at a premises that he and his family called “Dumbarton Farm�. He remained at the family farm until his death in 1969.

His clear and concise use of typography was highly praised both in the United States and abroad. Throughout his career he used bold primary colors and illustrative arrows and lines in a graphic style that became

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Trash Fashion

Writer Lisa Chau delves into today’s young adults’ adherence to fast fashion brands, and how they may actually be the Antichrist.

Thanks to globalization and cheap labor abroad in today’s world, companies are now able to inexpensively and quickly churn out trendy garments at low prices. In an age of rampant consumerism, as evidenced by tens of millions of views of YouTube “haul” videos and other media devoted solely to consumerism, retail chains such as Forever 21, H&M, and Charlotte Russe have grown at an alarming rate over the last decade. “Fast Fashion”, as the movement is known, has paved the way for outright disposable fashion. It’s not uncommon for shoppers to don items once or twice before discarding them. Sometimes, it’s not even a choice: the garments are so poorly made that they are prone to falling apart after a single wearing. “The specificity of the fashion business is that it is subject to trends,” says Andrew A. King, professor of business administration at the Tuck School of Business, who has researched the fashion industry. “As such it brings suppliers to seasonally offer consumers new alternatives to stimulate their purchases. Fast fashion poses a threat since its logic is based on copying the designs of high-end producers and quickly diffusing them—sometimes even before the high-end goods, which are based on a complicated and high quality supply chain, are distributed. As such,

it mines the overall investment in style by design departments of high end producers.” Some research by the American Apparel and Footwear associations tend to back this up. They report that Americans annually purchase an average of eight pairs of shoes and 68 pieces of clothing. Unfortunately, I expect this trend to get worse before it gets better. As upscale brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Prada report flagging sales growth in the luxury market, shoppers will flee to lower end stores to indulge their buying addictions. This culture is a problem because it often exploits low-wage workers in other countries, feeds an industry of fakes, and is environmentally unsustainable. Moreover, the movement is definitely not limited to the apparel industry. Our landfills are packed with disposable products such as razors, drinking cups, and even furniture. Single-use goods are nothing new. Nor is planned obsolescence which has existed for decades. However, this movement is becoming much more disturbing as the trend accelerates. New electronic gadgets are constantly launched, however we haven’t figured out how to recycle all of the old components nor handle the hazardous chemicals in their cores. 41


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“Fast fashion poses a threat since its logic is based on copying the designs of high-end producers and quickly diffusing them.” As a society, we need to shift back to a time, such as the mid-century, when longevity and craftsmanship were valued. Harding-Lane’s CEO Stephan Gifford agrees and commits his company to only promoting eco-friendly materials and sustainable manufacturing of baseball caps with needlepoint stitching. His inspiration springs from watching more and more garbage wash up on the New England beaches he loved as a child. He says his company, Harding-Lane, “prides itself on producing high-quality products whose proceeds allow for us to explore the ways in which we can live a more environmentally responsible life.” Gifford’s company website offers visitors the story behind the product and links to some of his favorite companies and organizations that are also doing their part to educate consumers and protect the environment. It’s a good start, though it’s doubtful such a countermovement will have the same momentum as the culture which necessitated its birth.

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How to break the chains of consumerism and never ever go back.

A BRIEF RESTRUCTURE

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Step One Realize that your rate of consumption is what’s wrong with the world. Step Two After coming to this realization, give away everything you own, including your bank account. Step Three Realize that you’ve just burdened everybody else with your consumer waste. Step Four Retrace your benevolent steps and take it all back. Step Five Promptly find a field where you can burn your material perversions in an environmentally sustainable manner. Step Six Retreat to the woods. Step Seven Use your scout training to build a shelter out of pine needles and animal dung. Step Eight Once comfortable, recenter your consumption free life through meditation. Step Nine Survive for three days on nothing but deep thought and your own urine. Step Ten During your last meditation session, reevaluate your dramatic & impractical life decision. Step Eleven Die full of regret in your possessionless pine needle and poo palace.

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The Young And The Penniless by Tori Telfer

Dear Millennial pals, word on the street is that we’re quite a tough demographic to market to. Nobody quite knows what we want, but since we spend a good %600 billion in the United States every year, retailers have a lot to gain if they can figure it out. We spend a lot of time online, but don’t necessarily do the majority of our shopping there. Instead, we practice “show rooming”—trying on the item in the store and then racing online to find a better deal. We like a clever commercial and can appreciate the value of a well-placed ad, but we’re sick of being blatantly marketed at. As a Millennial, I have my fair share of shopping demons. Malls overwhelm me, I always spend way too much money of Christmas presents, and I’ve never had a consistent budget, but I do keep loose record of my finances in my head. While it’s interesting to see the statistics of my generation’s consumerism, I can’t help feeling that it is a little one-sided. What about the psychology behind Millennial spending? Most of us are pretty much grown up by now, with independent incomes, bills to pay, and a ton of debt, so it’s safe to say that we’ve given a fair share of thought to this whole 46

exchanging-money-for-goods thing. Retailers may know where and how we spend our money, but why do we do it that way? So I put my e-reporter hat on and took to the e-streets to take a deeper look into the real spending habits of Generation Y, and the most relevant issues to our consuming problems today. If I were a retailer, I’d listen not only to how we Millennials consume, but how they wished they consumed. That could be the key to unlocking the Millennial equation or the Millennial wallet.


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Here’s what I discovered:

Millennials don’t have budgets—and we feel guilty about it. As a part of a growing society of trendy impulse spenders, it’s easy to convince ourselves that those little things don’t dent the bank account, only to discover later the unhappy truth that small purchases really do add up.

Millennials are impulse buyers of low-cost indulgences, because it makes us feel good, and because we can. None of us are buying yachts in the spur of the moment, but give us a few years.

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Millennials are aware of the vast difference between fast fashion vs. quality items. We wish we could afford a closet of quality staples, but for the most part, we simply can’t. Or for those of us that could, we don’t do the math to rationalize that with the money it would take to buy 3 or 4 cheap items, we could have walked away with something of much higher quality that will outlast the trendy fast fashions.

Millennials prefer shopping in-store. It may look like we spend all day online, but overall we still prefer tangible shopping to the cold guessing game of online shopping.

Millennials are extremely prone to buyer’s remorse. Most of us suffer from guilt and distaste over our own impulse buys, and in materialism in general. Millennials might shop a lot, however it turns out they’re not terribly happy about it—many of us wish we used a better budget, invested in quality over quantity, and somehow avoided the shallow materialism that we’ve witnessed firsthand in American society for a couple decades now.

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Product placement in Hollywood dates back to the silent film era. But it wasn’t until E.T. craved those colorful little candies that brand marketing really took off. Now, 31 years later, it’s so pervasive we hardly even notice it—a Pepsi can here, and iPhone there. We use both in real life, so why shouldn’t they appear on the big screen? Movie characters are just like us. They drink Coke, east Big Macs, buy Ikea furniture and wear Nike trainers. But unlike us, they’re getting paid to do all of it. Lucky them. While certain smart-aleck types have managed to insert products subversively into their plot (30 rock, please stand up), others have accepted the check and signed the contract, and they aren’t planning on looking back.

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Shout Out To That Shout Out 53


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Who Owns Your Wallet? by Jay Newell

The very first film to win an Oscar was the silent classic “Wings” in 1927, it gave a prominent shout out to Hershey’s. Other products also began popping up in early cinema, from soap to gum and lifesavers. By the 1950s product placement in Hollywood had reached a new unprecedented high, with producers getting paid up to $125 dollars for every plug (or about $1,250 today). The now iconic Vespa scene in Roman Holiday doubled Piaggio Vespa’s sales after the movie came out in 1953. Similarly, Ace comb sales soared after James Dean used one in the 1955 movie “Rebel Without a Cause.” James Bond’s signature martini made way for a clutch red stripe placement in 1962s “Dr. No”. The franchise was also the first to feature cars as product placements with American Motors paying close to $5 million for James Bond to use their cars for chase scenes. This started a pattern of auto product placement that would continue in cinema for years to come. A good example of this auto placement trend is Volkswagen’s involvement in Disney’s Herbie Franchise. Initially the “love bug” didn’t have a Volkswagen logo at first, since the company didn’t give Disney the right to use the name. However, by the second movie, Volkswagen,

suffering from low sales, made sure they took advantage of the hit movie. Yet another car had a star turn in the 1960s: the Mini Cooper in the 1969 film “The Italian Job”, but despite the fact that the film amped the car’s popularity and sales, the studio still had to foot the bill for most of the vehicles used. The shoe company Vans also didn’t agree to a spot in 1982s “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, but Sean Penn’s stoner style brought the company’s checkered slip-ons into the mainstream. Perhaps the most famous piece of product placement is Steven Spielberg’s E.T. During filming Spielberg had initially wanted to lure E.T. with M&M’s but Mars Inc. had declined. Hershey’s saw an opportunity and jumped at the chance to promote the still unknown Reese’s Pieces, sales shot up 66%. In 1992 Wayne’s World changed the game when they broke the fourth wall and blatantly addressed the use of product placement in the film. This shift opened the proverbial flood gates and since then the sardonic overuse of product placement has become commonplace in both television and film. Because of this, anti-consumerism has taken the forefront in a lot of pop culture media, and in turn become

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Film Giants: Robert Brownjohn & Saul Bass

Brownjohn was born to British parents in New Jersey and had a successful career in both America and Great Britain during the 1950s & the 1960s. He immediately showed promise as a young design student at the Institute of Design in Chicago, previously The New Bauhaus, where he studied closely with Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. His career ramped up to an early start when he formed the design firm BCG with Ivan Chermayeff and Thomas Geismar. However, that career came to an early end in 1959 with Brownjohn heading to London, the firm became Chermayeff & Geismar. His career in London proved as successful as his early career in the US with his most notable contributions coming in the film industry. He also worked within several other industries, creating moving graphics for Pirelli and Midland bank and created the cover for the Rolling Stones album Let It Bleed.

guidelines, including AT&T, United Way and Continental Airlines. He designed titles for over 30 films and he won an academy award for his short film Why Man Creates. Also proficient in typography, his ‘cut paper’ style is one of the most recognized styles of design from the 1950s and 60s. He revolutionized the way that people viewed movie titles by using the time to not just display the information, but also to give a short visual metaphor or story that intrigued the viewer. Often it was a synopsis or reference to the movie itself. His list of title credits include famous films such as Westside Story, Psycho, Goodfellas, Big, North by Northwest and Spartacus. He created titles for Martin Scorsese, the last of which was for Casino.

A 240 page catalogue by Emily King was produced for an exhibition detailing Brownjohn’s career entitled “Robert Brownjohn: Sex and Typography” held at the Design Museum in London was also published as a book of the same name. Sex and Typography details the adventures of Brownjohn through detailed information provided by friends and family as well as chronicling his career and the work that he produced. Saul Bass was an American Designer whose 40-year career spanned everything from print and identity development to movie title credits. He worked with major corporations to establish logos and branding

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one of the most important cultural forces in millennial North American life, across every social class and demographic. This might seem at odds with the economic facts of the current times—an era that has given us the “extreme shopping” channel, the dot-com bubble, and an absurd orgy of indulgence in even more luxurious consumer goods. When we look at some of the most popular and critically successful films in recent history, with The Hunger Games, The Bling Ring, Wall-E, The Truman Show, American Beauty and most prominently, Fight Club, they all offer very similar indictments of modern consumer society. What can we conclude from all this? For one thing the market obviously does an extremely good job at responding to consumer demand for anti-consumerist products and literature. 58

One of the most talked about cinematic set pieces in this vein is the scene in Fight Club where the nameless narrator (Ed Norton) pans his empty apartment, furnishing it piece by piece with Ikea furniture. The scene shimmers and pulses with prices, model numbers and product names, as if Norton’s gaze was drag and dropping straight out of a virtual catalogue. It is a great scene, driving the point home: the furniture of his world is mass-produced, branded, and sterile. If we are what we buy, then the narrator is an allen-wrench-wielding corporate conformist drone. What Fight Club presents, in a user friendly fashion, is the critique of mass society which was developed in the late 1950s in classic works like William Whyte’s The Organization of Man (1956), Vance Packard’s The Status Seekers (1959) and Paul Goodman’s Growing Up Absurd (1960). The central idea is quite

simple, capitalism requires conformity to function correctly. As a result, the system is based upon a generalized system of repression. Individuals who resist the pressure to conform therefore subvert the system, and aid in its overthrow. In effect there’s no easy escape, as a society we’ve dug ourselves into a deep consumer grave, one with plenty of room for all of our crap.


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onsumerism 61


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Consumerism is all around us. It’s part of our culture. As an American, many forms of media want to dictate what I buy and why I buy. The pressure of advertising is almost inescapable. This regiment of advertising and creative marketing has been around for countless years. When the radio first came out it was costly and the production costs in regard to generating revenue was astronomical. For the radio companies to offset cost, they started to pay advertisers money in order to pitch their product. After getting advertisers to help with funding, the radio stations could then count on making a profit. Such early advertisements in print, TV, and radio were mostly used for the home and useful for working mothers. The advertisements then began a slight change when televisions became more popular. Now they still advertised useful household items, as well as recreational products. It was now not uncommon to have a household cleaner and a baseball glove advertisement in the same sitting. Mid-20th century consumerism brought forth the age of advertising beyond the printed leaflet: suddenly a pitch could be broadcast to hundreds of ears and eyes, all at the very same time. The first credit cards and company membership clubs began during this era as well. 62

During our current age, advertisements have skyrocketed. Retailers utilize them to no end. When watching TV, using the Internet, or reading the newspaper, ads are everywhere. As soon as you walk into the physical store your mind explodes with thoughts on what to buy. All of this, one would think, cannot be good for us all of the time. The line must be drawn. I can only imagine in ten years how overtaken our lives will be while consumerism continues to take over. In coexistence with the tiresome amount of consumerism in our society is the idea of brand loyalty. Brand loyalty is when a person has a good experience with a brand and therefore continues to purchase products from that brand. For example, almost twenty years ago, my dad needed a cell phone. The phone that he had purchased previously was a great big clunker, a mammoth beast of a device by today’s standards. The cell phone was from the provider Sprint. My family has been customers of Sprint for many generations, and with such dedication comes a degree of unspoken perks. Whenever one calls in for service or repair or replacement the


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establishment looks at our records and often will take the extra step to assist us, and even provide discounts in the long run. This is the benefit of brand loyalty. A two-sided question appears before the consumer. Firstly, how does one pick brands to be loyal to? Secondly, if and when a brand suffers a loss of quality in their product or service, should one remain loyal to said brand? I think the first question is quite easy to answer. Choosing brands is a matter of personal preference. Often we base our choices on recommendations from friends, family, or respected public opinion.

Could it be that the Apple designers just had a flub? Computer designers are human too, right? Personally, it would not be worth the effort to change brands. Personally, I prefer consistency when I make a purchase, and the effort of changing brands would not be worth it. However, to others, the quality of an individual product is more important than any benefits derived from brand loyalty. As a parting thought, I would like to ask you whether you would change brands after spending so much time with a company. If yes, what are those reasons, and what are our motives behind those choices?

The second question provides a larger dilemma. When one has been loyal to a brand for so long, people can understandably be very hesitant to change. A great example would be in regards to a computer company such as Apple. If Apple tomorrow decided to release a new computer, people would buy it. So in this scenario, you purchase the latest and greatest laptop, take it home, and explore with it for a little while. After a short period of time you realize that you don’t like the laptop. Based on the previous idea, you would ditch Apple products for future purchase. 65


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10 Reasons To Consume Less

Less Debt The average American owns 3.5 credit cards and $15,799 in credit card debt, totaling consumer debt of $2.43 trillion in the USA alone. This debt causes stress in our lives and forces us to work jobs that we don’t enjoy. We have sought life in department stores and gambled our future on the empty promises of their advertisements. We have lost.

Escaping excessive consumerism is not an easy battle. If it were, it would be done more often, myself included. But it is a battle worth fighting because it robs us of life more than we realize.

Less Life Caring For Possessions The never ending need to care for the things we own is draining our good time and energy. Whether we are maintaining property, fixing vehicles, replacing goods, or cleaning things made of plastic, metal, or glass, our life is being emotionally and physically drained by the care of things that we don’t need… And in most cases, don’t enjoy either. We are far better of owning less.

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Over consumption promises happiness, but never delivers. True life must be found somewhere else.

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Less Desire To Upscale Lifestyle Norms The television and the Internet have brought lifestyle envy into our lives at a level never before experienced in all of human history. Prior to the advent of the digital age, we were left envying the Jones’ family living next to us, but at least we had a few things in common (such as maybe living in the same neighborhood) Today’s media age has caused us to envy (and expect) lifestyle norms well beyond our incomes by promoting the lifestyles of the rich and famous as superior and enviable. Only an intentional rejection of excessive consumerism can quietly silence the desire to constantly up lifestyle norms.

Less Environmental Impact Our earth produces enough resources to meet all of our needs, but it does not produce enough resources to meet all of our wants. And whether you consider yourself an environmentalist or not, it is tough to argue with the fact that consuming more resources than the earth can replenish is not a healthy trend, especially when it is unnecessary.

Less Need To Keep Up With Evolving Trends Henry David Thoreau once said, “Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but religiously follows the new.” I have been struck by the wisdom and applicability of that thought whether relating to fashion, decoration, or design. A culture built on consumption must produce an always changing target to keep its participants spending money, and our culture has very nearly perfected that practice. As a result, nearly every year a new line of fashion is released as the newest trend.And the only way to keep up is to purchase the latest fashions and trends when they are released, or remove yourself from the pursuit altogether.

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Less Pressure To Impress With Material Possetions Social scientist Thorstein Veblen coined the phrase” conspicuous consumption” to describe the lavish spending on goods and services acquired mainly for the purpose of showing income or wealth. In his 1899 book, The Theory of the Leisure Class, this term was used to describe the acts of a limited social class. And although the behavior has been around since the beginning of time, today’s credit has allowed it to permeate nearly every social class in today’s society. As a result, no human (in consumption cultures) is exempt from its temptation.

More Generosity Rejecting excessive consumerism always frees up energy, time, and also finances. Those resources can then be brought back into alignment without deepest heart values. When we begin rejecting the temptation to spend all of our very limited resources on ourselves, our hearts are opened to the joy and fulfillment found in giving our personal resources to others. Generosity finds space in our life (and our checkbooks) to emerge.

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More Commitment Many people believe they find (or achieve) contentment in their lives; their desire for excessive consumption will wane. But we have found the opposite to be true. We have found that the intentional rejection of excessive consumption opens the door for contentment to take root in our lives. We began pursuing minimalism as a means to realign our life around our greatest passions, not as a means to find contentment. But somehow, minimalism resulted in a far-greater contentment with life than we ever enjoyed prior.

Greater Ability To See Through Empty Claims Fulfillment is not on sale at your local department store—neither is happiness. It never has been. And never will be. We all know this to be true. We all know that more things won’t make us happier. It’s just that we’ve bought into the subtle message of millions upon millions of advertisements that have told us otherwise. Intentionally stepping back for an extended period of time helps us get a broader view of their empty claims.

Greater Realization That This World Is Not Just Material True life is found in the invisible things of life: love, hope, and faith. Again, we all know there are things in this world that are far more important than what we own. But if one were to research our actions, intentions, and receipts, would they reach the same conclusion? Or have we been too busy seeking happiness in all the wrong places?

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Quality over quantity—it’s a simple concept taught to us throughout our formative years—but it’s one that fits like a square peg in a round hole in today’s corporate environment. The reason that it’s so hard to emphasize quality is simple—businesses are established to make money as quickly as possible and at the highest possible margins. Crafting single high quality products tends to be expensive and very time consuming, and must be sold at much higher, less attractive prices to the average consumer in order to be profitable. Lower quality work, produced quickly in outsourced factories with a minimal time commitment per product, tends to be far more profitable, with higher margins as well as a lower, more attractive price point for consumers.

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Less Is More by Leo Sun

Business managers shouldn’t entirely overlook the importance of quality over quantity. If your product becomes known for its very shoddy construction, and due to the Internet, word really travels fast— your overall sales will be quickly damaged. Modern consumers are likely to scout out opinions online before purchasing goods, wouldn’t you rather that they be greeted by a stream of favorable comments as opposed to a mass of angry ones? If your product is too cheap, it can also get easily lost in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart alongside a plethora of shoddy, similarly named foreign-made products.

throughout history, and have consequently found success by implementing the concept of quality over quantity throughout their careers. Quality over quantity—it’s an age old lesson that too many of us choose to blantantly ignore. Although sacrificing the former for the latter may grant you a few short-term profits you’ll quickly run out of steam when customers fail to come back and when products begin to fail on you. Favoring quality over quantity will not only increase an establishment’s reputation, but will increase product loyalty and develop better spending habits in Americans today.

The concept of quality over quantity is not a new one: centuries of great thinkers, makers, and designers have constantly worked this way. Two such men blossomed in the middle of the 20th century and continue to impact our own world today. The designers Adrian Frutiger and Charles Eames both worked under the ideals of creating effective, efficient, functional and quality work that has remained both popular and effective, even in our post-modern society. By producing work with timeless quality and truly masterful function, these men have made their legacies valuable and also memorable

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Adrian Frutiger

Adrian Frutiger has created some of the most used typefaces of the 20th and 21st century. Although interested in many fields including woodcut and paper silhouettes, Frutiger has been passionate about typography for his entire life. Spending most of his career working for Deberny & Peignot updating typefaces and preparing them for photo typesetting, as well as designing typefaces of his own accord, he has created almost 30 typefaces. Some of his most famous typefaces include Univers, Frutiger (created for the Charles de Gaulle airport), Egyptienne, Serifa and Avenir. Frutiger is one of only a few typographers whose career spans across hot metal, photographic and digital typesetting. He has also been instrumental in refining his own typefaces to include more weights and true italics; some examples are Frutiger Next and Avenir Next. 78


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Charles Eames

Charles Eames is best known for his ground-breaking contributions to architecture, furniture design, industrial design and manufacturing and the photographic arts. Eames attended school in St. Louis, Missouri, and developed an interest in engineering and architecture. In 1930, Charles started his own architectural office. He began extending his design ideas beyond architecture and received a fellowship to Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, where he eventually became head of the design department.

In 1949, Charles and Ray designed and built their own home in Pacific Palisades, California, as part of the Case Study House Program sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine. Their design and innovative use of materials made the House a mecca for architects and designers from both near and far. Today, it is considered one of the most important post-war residences anywhere in the world.

During World War II Charles and wife Ray were commissioned by the United States Navy to produce molded plywood splints, stretchers, and experimental glider shells. In 1946, Evans Products began producing the Eameses’ molded plywood furniture. The architectural critic Esther McCoy called their molded plywood chair “the chair of the century�. 79


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Amic: Is design used to modify an old object through new techniques?

Amic: Does design imply industrial manufacture? Eames: Not necessarily.

Amic: Can the computer replace the designer? Eames: Probably, in some special cases, but usually the computer is an aid to the designer.

Amic: Ought form to derive from the analysis of function? Eames: The great risk here is that the analysis may be incomplete.

Amic: Does design imply the idea of products that are necessarily useful? Eames: Yes, even though their use might be very subtle . Amic: Is it able to cooperate in the creation of works reserved solely for pleasure? Eames: Who would say that pleasure is jot useful?

Amic: Is there a design ethic? Eames: There are always design constraints; these often imply an ethic.

Amic: Is design a creation of a group? Eames: Very often.

Amic: Is design a creation of an individual? Eames: No because to be realistic, one must always recognize the influence of those gone before.

Amic: Is it a method of general expression? Eames: No, it is a method of action.

Amic: Is design a discipline that concerns itself with only one part of the environment? Eames: No

Amic: What are the boundaries of design? Eames: What are the boundaries of problems?

Amic: Is design a craft for industrial purposes? Eames: No, but design may be a solution for some industrial problems.

Amic: Is design an expression of art? Eames: I would rather say it’s an expression of purpose. It may, if it is good enough, later be judged as art.

Mme. L. Amic: What is your definition of design Mr. Eames? Charles Eames: One could describe design as a plan for arranging elements to accomplish a particular purpose.

ERA: Eradicating Resourceless Adulthood

Interview With Eames

Ingo Rauth, a friend of Design Sojourn and graduate of our Designer Mentoring Program back on 2009, shares a wonderful find on his blog: A video interview done in 1972 made for Herman Miller Design with legendary designer Charles Eames. Step into the mind of this famous furniture designer as Mme. L. Amic interviews him on the purpose of design.


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Amic: What do you feel is the primary condition for the practice of design and for its propagation? Eames: The recognition of need.

Amic: Have you been forced to accept compromises? Eames: I don’t remember being forced to accept compromises, but I have willingly accepted constraints.

Amic: After having answered all these questions, do you feel you have been able to practice the profession of “design” under satisfactory conditions, or even optimum conditions? Eames: Yes.

Amic: To whom does design address itself: to the greatest number? To the specialists or the enlightened amateur? To a privileged social class? Eames: Design addresses itself to the need.

Amic: How would you define yourself with respect to a decorator? An interior architect? A stylist? Eames: I wouldn’t.

Amic: Ought design to tend towards the ephemeral or towards permanence? Eames: Those needs in designs that have a more universal quality tend toward relative permanence.

Amic: Is design ephemeral? Eames: Some needs are ephemeral; most designs are ephemeral.

Amic: Are there tendencies and schools in Design? Eames: Yes, but these are more a measure of human limitations than of ideals.

Amic: Does design obey laws? Eames: Aren’t constraints enough?

Amic: What constraints? Eames: The sum of all constraints. Here is one of the few effective keys of the design problem: the ability of the designer to recognize as many of the constraints as possible. His willingness and enthusiasm for working within these constraints: constraints of price, of size, of strength, of balance, service, time, and so forth. Each problem has its own peculiar list.

Amic: Does the creation of design admit constraint? Eames: Design depends largely on constraints.

Amic: Is design an element of industrial policy? Eames: If design constraints imply an ethic, and if industrial policy includes ethical principles, then yes, design is an element in industrial policy.

Amic: Is design used to fit up an existing model so that it is more attractive? Eames: One doesn’t usually think of design in this way.

Eames: This is one kind of design problem.

Issue No. 1: Consumerism


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The year is 1955. World War II is ten years in the grave, the economy is ripe, and you, a 30-something homeowner, brought up in the very midst of a nationwide Depression, finally have leisure time and expendable income. The supermarket and the shopping mall, the Sears catalogues and the radio ads are all welcome and familiar friends, are more than willing to dictate the thickness of your wallet on any given day. Patriotic stickers and slogans dot every package and flier, a reminder that everything you buy supports your national economy and the United States of America. You are never required to consider where your

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purchase came from or how it was made: you just buy. The era of consumerism and guilt-free spending has reached its prime. Fast forward to the present day. Even though over half a century separates our post-modern society from the booming economy, utopian catalogues, and free spending of mid-century America, we are still years behind when it comes to developing a nation of conscious and ethical spenders. During the last 25 years, there has been debate about the value of corporate social


Issue No. 1: Consumerism

responsibility (CSR), particularly as it relates to the rise of “ethical consumers.” These are shoppers who base purchasing decisions on whether a product’s social and ethical positioning—i.e. its environmental impact or the labor practices used to manufacture it— aligns with their values. Many surveys report to show that even the average consumer is demanding so-called ethical products, such as fair trade-certified coffee, chocolate, etc., fair labor-certified garments, cosmetics mage without animal testing, and products made through the use of sustainable technologies. Yet when companies offer such products, they are invariably met with indifference by all but a selected group of consumers. Is the consumer a cause-driven liberal when surveyed, but an economic conservative at the checkout line? Is the ethical consumer little more than a myth? Although many individuals bring their values and beliefs into purchasing decisions, when we examined actual consumer behavior, we found that the percentage of shopping choices made on a truly ethical basis proved far smaller than most observers believe, and smaller than is suggested by the anecdotal data presented by advocacy groups. The trouble with most of the data on ethical consumerism is that the majority of research relies on people reporting back their own purchasing habits or intentions, whether in surveys or through interviews. But there is little if any validation of what consumers report in these surveys, and individuals tend to dramatically overstate the importance of social and ethical responsibility when it comes to their purchasing habits. As noted by John Drummond, CEO of Corporate Culture, a CSR consultancy, “Most consumer research is highly dubious, because there is a gap between what people say and what they do.” Companies that try to engage in proactive, cause-oriented product development often find themselves at a disadvantage: Either their target market proves significantly smaller than

predicted by their focus groups and surveys, or their costs of providing ethical features are not covered by the prices consumers are willing to pay. To understand the true nature of the ethical consumer, we set up a series of generalized experimental polling studies over nearly 10 years that allowed us to gather the social and ethical ideals of large samples of individuals. We then conducted 120 in-depth interviews with consumers from eight different countries (Australia, China, Germany, India, Sweden, Spain, Turkey, and the United States). We asked them not to confirm that they might purchase a product, but to consider scenarios under which they might buy an athletic shoe from a company with lax labor standards, a soap that’s produced in ways that harm the environment, and a counterfeit brand-name wallet or suitcase. They were also asked how they thought other people from their country might respond to these products—a well-established “projective technique” that often reveals more accurate answers than questions about the respondent’s direct purchases. Additionally, they were asked about their own past behavior; for example, all the interviewees admitted to purchasing counterfeit goods at some point. The interviews asked participants explicitly about the negatives of these ethical issues, and the inconsistencies between their words and their actions. The participants knew a great deal about the issues, and agreed that good practices involving labor, the environment, and the intellectual property are important to society. But most did not consider such issues to be relevant to them personally. They often stated that someone other than the individual consumer should be responsible: the law (“the government should protect the environment”), the competitive market (“it’s too bad, but all sneaker companies do this”), or the overall system (“I cannot do anything, so why bother thinking about it?”). Another key finding that refutes conventional wisdom on this topic is that most people will not sacrifice product function for ethics. 85


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When faced with a choice of good ethical positioning and not good product functionality versus excellent product functionality and bad ethical positioning, individuals constantly chose the latter. They revealed a very strong reluctance to consider ethical product features as anything however secondary to their primary reasons for purchasing the products in question. “It would take some kind of catastrophe to make me care,” said one respondent. Proponents of ethical consumerism want to believe that people’s socially oriented choices are somehow different, perhaps made at a level of consciousness higher than most of their general product choices. This is a straight delusion. Product ethics are more important only when individuals, comparing ethics to all the other things that have value to them, determine that they are more important. And research shows that for many people, this is seldom the case.

To some, this will sound like heresy. How can it possibly be that the cost of a bar of soap is more important than knowing that it won’t pose an ecological hazard? Whatever the moral merits of the issue, for many ordinary people in most ordinary circumstances, the cost does actually matter more. Even a factor like the color of a shoe matters more, to most people, than the conditions under which the shoe was made. The emergence of a true ethical consumer base is a long way from being reality. Some consumers today do think about the social aspects of their purchasing acts and care about a company’s CSR policies, most do not care enough to pay a higher price. Looking ahead, however, social consumption may have the potential to become a mass-market phenomenon. In fact, we see a parallel between the current ethical consumer market and the early days of e-commerce in the mid-1990s. As Internet usage expanded and capabilities and security grew more

sophisticated, consumers learned to integrate technology into their daily lives. Now, Amazon and myriad other online destinations have made e-commerce an integral part of the shopping (and banking) culture. Socially responsible consumption today is a nascent skill. Individuals do not necessarily know how to translate descriptions of ethical activity into judgment. For example, what is a truely “good” labor practice? How much of a difference does an “ethical” sneaker purchase make in improving labor conditions? Nor do they have any reason to trust in the verifiers, which are often the corporations themselves, or biased third-party organizations. For more ethically oriented consumption to really take hold, the consumer needs to become a knowledgeable participant, not a reader of labels. Rather than relying on traditional market research techniques, firms need to help their

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existing and future consumers become more socially conscious in their purchasing. This will require giving consumers more tangible, reliable information sources about the health, social and environmental benefits of their products and services, in the context of the many choices consumers have to make. Product labels will have to provide an explination as to why a certain company’s production footprint, their packaging techniques, or ingredients are better than those of the competition—and have that superiority verified, ideally by independent sources that are accessible through the Web or social media, conceivably through a shopper’s smartphone. Bit by bit, this type of information is becoming more available, and people are starting to bring their values not just to the survey but also to the checkout counter. But that movement will be gradual, and such behavior is still far from being second nature. It is possible that 10 or 88

20 years from now people will be purchasing ethically as a matter of habit, but corporations (along with third-party information providers) must make the social merit of their products and services tangible to the more pragmatic consumers who dominate the market. From either side, our current situation as consumers is as broad as it ever has been in recorded history; certainly a far cry from the vague advertising of the 1950s. The sooner we can make ethical goods more available and ethical consumers morecommon, the sooner we can bridge the large gap between healthy consumerism and a fair production market.


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8 Ways To Avoid Being A Jackwagon

While “being the change” usually brings to mind images of voting and volunteering, one of the biggest ways we can impact the world around us just by using our wallets. Unfortunately, our everyday spending often does harm without our knowledge. So here are eight consumer habits that can help ensure your green does good.

1. Read The Fine Print You’ve seen it before the signs of advertisements announcing, “A portion of this purchase will be donated to _____.” It’s exciting when companies give back and it definitely makes shopping feel a bit more guilt free. Unfortunately, companies know this and are sometimes using your altruistic tendencies to bait you. The solution? Read the fine print or just ask the question, “What portion of my purchase will be donated?” You’d be amazed how often the answer falls between 1-5%. In these cases, consider why you were drawn to this purchase in the first place. If you like the item regardless, great! If you were more excited about doing good with your dollars, opt out and proceed to the next suggestion. 2. Buy Fair Trade There’s no getting around it: fair trade is always the best option when it comes to ethical shopping. The “fair trade” designation tells you that whoever grew/built/crocheted/manufactured the product was paid a sustainable, living wage. When people are given fair compensation for their work, they don’t require charity. The more you purchase fair trade products, the more you are helping to nourish a fair and growing economy. When possible, always make fair trade your first choice. 90

3. Shop Small Business You can’t complain about your favorite neighborhood bookstore going out of business when you buy 99% of your books online. If you care about having local, independent businesses in your area, support them. 4. Give Gifts That Give Twice Gifts can be difficult—especially when it comes to that certain tricky demographic of recipients. I think you know who we’re talking about: Mr. I-Have-Everything-Already and Ms. I’m-Way-Too-Picky. For these impossible folks, you can have an ace of spades in your back pocket. Give them a cow. Yes, give them an actual cow Heifer International. Or how about giving a micro-loan to support women entrepreneurs through Kiva. Or wrap up an authentic Congolese war whistle from Falling Whistles. There are thousands of companies and non-profits that enable you to give gifts that pay it forward. 5. Be A Farmers’ Market Regular If you’re lucky enough to have a farmer’s market in your area, go! Not only is fresh, local food good for you, it also helps support and sustain farming in your community. Need even more incentives?


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Farmer’s markets are often less pricey than the grocery store and locally produced honey increases your immunity to area allergens. That’s a quadruple win. 6. Divest. Most investors would be surprised to learn that they might just be funding a genocidal government or the Middle East arms trade with their retirement funds. If you have an investment portfolio, it’s important to know where your money is being invested and who your hard earned dollars are supporting. Divesting is historically one of the most influential tools in facilitating significant change. Get to know your investments and if you discover something dodgy, allocate those funds elsewhere.

8. Hold Your Brands and Yourself Accountable How come so many brands and companies don’t care about their business ethics? Because they think you don’t care about their ethics… and in a lot of cases, they’re right. They know that you feel bad about unfair labor but not bad enough to forego the 2 for 1 sale. If we cared enough to change our habits, if we held ourselves accountable for getting real information and acting on it, companies would take note. But horrendous labor practices will never change unless we do.

7. Get To Know Your Closet There’s a reason those jeans are only $24, and it’s not because the company is eating the cost. Our cheap clothing obsession cheats millions of garment workers out of a living wage, safe working conditions, and humane treatment. Surprisingly, your $200 jeans might not be much better. So how do you buy clothes that don’t contribute to tragedies like last year’s garment factory collapse in Bangladesh? Take a few minutes to research your favorite brands and stores. Find out for yourself what type of labor practices lead to your current wardrobe and use that information to make more informed decisions the next time you decide to expand it.

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Artist Spotlight: Alain Delorme

Alain Delorme was born in 1979. He graduated from Gobelins in Paris with a degree in Photography. He also has a Master of Science and Technology in Photography from the University of Paris VIII. In this series, ‘Totems’, the composites are recreated on the basis of 6,000 images taken in Shanghai during two art residencies. The loads are exaggerated to emphasize the ‘totems’, which are highly symbolic of the ‘Made in China’ consumer culture. In ‘Totems,’ ant-like workers balance often-bizarre wares, such as flowers, furniture, balloons, and even tires, on their bikes and carts as they weave precariously through the streets. Of his work Delorme says, “Totems are usually considered special symbols with spiritual significance: Here, the totems can illustrate how objects are worshipped 94


Issue No. 1: Consumerism

by consumer society—specifically, objects that are often labeled ‘Made in China.’” He points out that the loads are often made up of identical and interchangeable objects produced in mass quantities.“ The migrant seems, at first, almost like a hero for being able to carry such an impressive pile. But soon, we get the feeling that the objects almost swallow him, and that he’s submerged by the multiplication of the same object—as consumers often are.”

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We’re All Just Material Girls

Consumerism causes the wasteful use of energy and material far above and beyond that needed for living at a comfortable level. Money isn’t the only way to measure the cost of an item. If one adds up all the materials and energy that go into the goods and services consumed over an individual’s life, the toll on the environment is huge. When this cost is multiplied out over the lifespan of families and cities, the proportions are incredible. An example: 220 billion cans, bottles, plastic cartons and paper cups, are thrown away each year in the “developed” world. “Disposable” items exemplify this. Rather than compete on quality or reliability, products are made for a one-time use. “Fun” is a catchword discarding notions of inherent value, longevity, and the environmental consequences of manufacture and disposal of the product. Where did this established idea of cheap, disposable products originate? When did we as a society start to view such purchased items as temporary keepsakes? The concept of disposable consumerism truly blossomed in mid-20th century America, and peaked during the 1950s and 1960s. Items were being made

cheaply and quickly to meet the demands of a booming, postwar, consumerist society. Even while giants in International and midcentury modern design were actively solving problems of clutter and functionality in the United States, the suburbs still thrived upon the fruits of a nation in prosperity. Quality was sacrificed in pursuit of the American dream. Today, we continue to struggle to hold to the quality over quantity ideals of good mid-century philosophy, however, we still consume outrageously, especially when we consider the state of the current economy in the United States. The solution is not to buy less (though that wouldn’t hurt us), but to buy smarter, and buy quality. Buying quality products that are warranted against failure or wearing out, learning about the materials that things are made of, their national origin and the conditions of the workers that make them, are some ways of resisting consumerism and waste. While there may be some new appliances and cars that are more productive and energy efficient, discarding the old often leads to an almost

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total waste of the energy and material already invested in these products. This alone may more than nullify the energy savings of the new. The big picture solution to protecting the environment is not to annihilate consumerism: after all, the consumption of necessary goods is essential to life. However, the sooner we as a nation—and indeed, as a planet—learn to recycle and spend smarter, the sooner we reach a healthier and sustainable environment.

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Introduction: The Consumerism Issue

Social Media

resilience.org shmoop.com brainpickings.org builddirect.com designishistory.com

The Social Consumer maryelizabethmiller.wordpress.com This Is A Consumer Revolution socialmediastrategiessummit.com this.org designishistory.com mashable.com The Rebel Consumer this.org My Self Image Hurts pbs.org herinst.org Facebook Made Me Buy It thenextweb.com Does Design Matter? thejakaratapost.com


Issue No. 1: Consumerism

Brands

Product Placement

The Brand Loyalist this.org herinst.org resilience.org Branded designishistory.com designishistory.com Opinion on Fast Fashion usnews.com The Young And The Penniless bustle.com

Shout Out to that Shout Out! & Who Owns Your Wallet? shortlist.com questia.com fastcompany.com content.time.com Film Giants: Brownjohn & Bass designishistory.com designishistory.com Conscious Consumerism jonrd.wordpress.com

Ethics 10 Reasons to Consume Less becomingminimalist.com Quality Over Quality businessdictionary.com Less Is More businessdictionary.com Form & Function: Frutiger & Eames designishistory.com Value vs. Values policyinnovations.org 8 Ways To Avoid Being A Jackwagon huffingtonpost.com Artist Spotlight: Alain Delorme featureshoot.com We’re All Just Material Girls verdant.net

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Images Introduction: The Consumerism Issue Cover vintageyoungins.tumblr.com Magazine intro groovylabinabox.com Contents buzzfeed.com wehadfacesthen.tumblr.com maybesurprised.tumblr.com pariszigzag.fr katiemetcalfe.wordpress.com unsplash.com The Consumerism Issue thepatternlibrary.com

Sources Header vivianmaier.com Credits metmuseum.org chestchest.tumblr.com tikitacky.tumblr.com

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Social Media Header margaretfeinberg.com The Social Consumer dezignwithaz.com Welcome To The Consumer Revolution avantipress.com crandall1950syoungculture.files.wordpress.com thedroidyourelookingfor.files.wordpress.com The Rebel Consumer silfarione.tumblr.com mitvergnuegen.com My Self Image Hurts buzzfeed.com Facebook Made Me Buy It flickr.com Does Design Matter? thetemplesofconsumption.blogspot.com archdaily.com splitshire.com


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Brands Header i.dailymail.co.uk The Brand Loyalist flickr.com Branded notetosarah.tumblr.com Design Spotlight adcglobal.org s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com blog.iso50.com 4.bp.blogspot.com kingydesignhistory2012.files.wordpress metmuseum.org Trash Fashion flickr.com media2.s-nbcnews.com A Brief Restructure flickr.com The Young And The Penniless onf.co

Product Placement Header moviesofcourse.files.wordpress.com Shout Out to that Shout Out! petapixel.com Who Owns Your Wallet? arts-wallpapers.com Film Giants: Brownjohn & Bass designishistory.com media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com 3.bp.blogspot.com Conscious Consumerism darksilenceinsuburbia.tumblr.com everyday-i-show.livejournal.com harpersbazaar.com

Ethics Header lifeonsundays.com 10 Ways to Consume Less buzzfeed.com ffffound.com Quality Over Quantity apartmenttherapy.com Less is More bforbonnie.wordpress.com Form & Function: Frutiger & Eames byricardomarcenaroi.blogspot.com fontshop.de eamesoffice.com fastcodesign.com Eames Interview lemonde.fr Value vs. Values mylittlekids.fr buzzfeed.com mylittlekids.fr vivianmaier.com npr.org 8 Ways To Avoid Being A Jackwagon tackorama.tumblr.com dtxmcclain.tumblr.com Artist Spotlight: Alain Delorme featureshoot.com We’re All Just Material Girls roundmonkey.tumblr.com flickr.com

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Savannah Mabry

Credits Ethics & Magazine Intro Sourcing & Copy Main Copy Editor Main Image Compiler Designed Eames Interview Spread Designed some Illustrations Compiled Sources Title Creator Section Header Designer Typesetter The Reality Check Dumpling Sensei

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Cameron Ohls

Matt Swank

Brand & Product Placement Sourcing & Copy Image Layout Coordinator Color Schemer Spread Designer Designed some Illustrations Tagline and Headline Creator Wrote and Designed “A Brief Restructure” Image Editor Typesetter The Creative Rebel Child Tater–Toter

Social Media and Issue Intro Sourcing & Copy Image Layout Coordinator Copy Layout Coordinator Color Schemer Spread Designer Designed some Illustrations Headline Creator Overall Master File Compiler Typesetter The Grid Pixel Master and Party Pooper Dumpling Forker

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ERA: Eradicating Resourceless Adulthood The post-modern world demands a revival of a new generation seeking to distinguish themselves from the trend-mongers of the present day. The time has come for a new wave of young men and women to engage with the world around them. In a culture that tends to look lowly upon new adults, it is essential for millennials to enrich their knowledge of and experience with the attitudes and events of previous generations. By studying different eras, a sum of ideologies, concepts, movements, failures and successes, the millennial adult can fully equip themselves for the obstacles of the contemporary lifetime. Reflect on the past to improve your future.

ERA: Consumerism Issue  

Anderson University History of Graphic Design project incorporating Mid-Century Modern ideals into the millennial lifestyle in regards to ma...

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