Friday, January 30, 2015

LA History: The Birth of Sunset Boulevard

It's hard to believe, but in 1900 Los Angeles was a small city and Hollywood was another, five or six miles away.  When city planners with a vision laid out a country road to connect the two, and eventually lead West to the Pacific, they called it "Sunset Boulevard".  The name was possibly in honor of another developing town West of Hollywood which long since vanished, but we like to think of the new road starting off at downtown and heading West and off into its sunset "happily ever after".

Hunter Communications original news source:

Link to article:
How LA Celebrated Sunset Blvd's Opening in 1904

Excerpt: "Sunset may have been its name, but the boulevard's grand opening on May 14, 1904, marked the dawning of a new age in Los Angeles. A parade of a dozen or so automobiles -- accompanied by horse-drawn carriages, tally-hos, and electric rail cars -- puttered over the freshly macadamized roadway that now connected Los Angeles with the then-independent city of Hollywood. Crowds of well-wishers gathered along the route. Buildings displayed patriotic bunting.

The idea of a Sunset Boulevard had been around since 1887. As originally conceived, it would have run west from the Los Angeles city limits to the sea, connecting several of the towns that sprang up during the Southland's great real estate boom of the 1880s. But while some isolated segments were soon built (notably a stretch through the short-lived boomtown of Sunset, possibly the source of the road's name) a crucial link remained missing: the section between downtown Los Angeles and the rapidly growing suburb of Hollywood.

Property owners in the hilly area now known as Silver Lake and Echo Park soon realized that the road would catalyze development and boost the value of their holdings. In 1892, led by the Los Angeles and Pacific Railway and a Confederate Civil War veteran named George H. Smith, they petitioned the city to open Sunset Boulevard through their land. The city council mapped out a route the following year, tracing the path of the defunct Ostrich Farm Railway. Actual work, however, didn't begin in earnest until April 18, 1903, when contractor Charles Stansbury and his workers began carving the boulevard's meandering path into the area's soft sandstone hills.

When the new boulevard finally opened in the spring of 1904, its future as one of L.A.'s iconic automobile routes might have seemed unlikely. The road surface was uneven in places, and there had been no effort to plant shade trees -- an oversight that celebrants hastily remedied by fastening palm fronds to telegraph poles. Furthermore, the boulevard didn't yet extend to the sea and wouldn't until 1934, when sinuous Beverly Boulevard was remade into the westernmost stretch of Sunset."

Thursday, January 29, 2015

What Were They Thinking? Inappropriate Logos Give Totally Wrong Impression

When a company adopts a new logo design, a very important step is to step back and look at how the logo might appear to an outside eye.  Obviously this is easier said than done, since so many logos end up giving a laughably wrong impression of the image the company seeks.

Hunter Communications original news source:

Link to article:
14 Totally Inappropriate Logos

Excerpt: "Companies spend serious amounts of cash on getting their branding just right.

Usually, a re-brand takes months, a lot of navel-gazing, and hundreds of unfathomably expensive consultants.

Which is why we’re so confused by these NSFW logos, most of which have taken a seriously dark turn.

Seriously. Who signs these things off?

Here’s 14 totes inapropes logos that really shouldn’t have got past the guys in quality control. We’ll call them ‘rogos’.

 1. What do you need the pharmacy for, just out of interest?

 2. This Sushi restaurant logo is meant to be a sun rising behind a traditional Japanese tea house. Yep..."

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Retail Consultant Predicts Half of America's Malls will Fail in 15-20 Years

The landscape of shopping habits for modern consumers is rapidly changing, with online shopping becoming more the norm every year.  Now America' retail shopping centers are finding they must adapt or die, and one prominent retail consultant is predicting that as many as half of all America's 1200 malls will fail in the next 15-20 years.

Hunter Communications original news source:
Business Insider

Link to article:
The Shopping-Mall Crisis Is Getting More Ominous

Excerpt: "Dozens of shopping malls across the US are struggling to survive.

More than two dozen malls have shut down in the last four years and another 60 malls are on the brink of death, The New York Times reports, citing Green Street Advisors, a real-estate and real estate investments trust analytics firm.

The firm predicted last year that about 15% of US malls would fail or be converted into nonretail space within the next 10 years. That was an increase from two years earlier, when the firm said that 10% of malls would fail or be converted.

Retail consultant Howard Davidowitz expects as many as half of America's 1,200 shopping malls to fail within 15 to 20 years. He predicts that only upscale shopping centers with anchors like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus will survive.

'Middle-level malls are disappearing,' said Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates, Inc., a national retail-consulting and investment-banking firm. 'Developers are trying to do all kinds of things to save them, but at the end of the day, half of them are going to close.'

Even some luxury shopping centers are hurting. The formerly upscale White Flint Mall, for example, is nearing demolition. The 874,000-square-foot shopping center is located in the affluent suburbs of Washington, D.C., and once housed high-end department stores such as Bloomingdales, I. Magnin, and Lord & Taylor."

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Typography and Design in Modern Genre Movie Posters

This recent article in PASTE took on the simple task of how to help readers sort out the genres of movies on NETFLIX by looking at the posters. It soon became a more interesting meditation on how modern movie marketing has taken on its own set of tropes when it comes to what viewers expect as far as typography and design elements in posters for various movie genres.  The one almost-universal in current movie posters is the use of the Trajan / Trajan Pro font.  Another is that studios try to create a quirky individual image for "indie" films with the use of cartoony graphics and hand-drawn fonts, but end up making their poster indistinguishable from every other indie movie's.
Here are a few of the genres, but follow the link to see many more.

Hunter Communications original news source:

Link to article:
Type on Screen: Use Movie Poster Design to Pick A Flick on Netflix Instant

Excerpt: " Unless you want to spend your time on Netflix Instant like this, you have to judge a movie by its cover.
There are hundreds of movies to scroll through in your queue, and it’s time-consuming to sift through descriptions. To solve this problem, we looked for movie poster type and imagery trends in 10 popular movie subgenres over the past 10 years. Instead of spending the runtime of a movie trying to choose something to watch, you’ll be able to tell if it’s a movie you’re in the mood for at a glance!
 1. Psychological Thriller: These movies are all about the smoke and mirrors, so it’s not surprising that the majority of the film covers we looked at incorporated smoke or fog into their design. Type usually takes a backseat to imagery. It’s relegated to the lower or upper center, is white, and is usually a sans-serif like DIN Next or Akzidenz-Grotesk Std. The characters shown in these posters have part of their faces obscured or have their backs turned looking over their shoulder. All of these design elements combine to create a cold, suspenseful, and cerebral mood.
Superhero:  Superhero posters feature the hero or the hero’s symbol front and center. Pretty much every single member of the supporting cast with dialogue will be pictured in the background, arranged in accordance to the popularity of the actor. Preferably, something will be on fire or glowing. Typography includes a whole lot of Bank Gothic or 3-D versions of sign-painter typefaces like Avengeance and American Captain

Indie Romance:  Hand-drawn type equals Indie is practically the industry standard. It’s interesting to note that handwritten typography is meant to make the movie seem unique and alternative, even though every other indie poster is doing a variation on the same theme. There will often be quirky illustrations to accompany the hand-written type."