No, I’m not dead.

It has been a while since my last post (sorry about that). A good friend pointed out the irony  in saying, “Hey, I’m going to make shorter, more frequent blog posts” and then vanishing from the blogging world. You can see from her blog that she knows a thing or two about this whole “blogging thing”.

So why did I drop off the face of the earth? Well, I am building a company! It’s a tech startup called ThompsonParks. My business partner and I have been working on this for quite a few months now. I assure you, more information is to come about this wondrous LLC.

As for this blog, I thought to myself…do people really want to see a blog that is negative in nature? Bad design is ubiquitous…it’s already everywhere. Do people want a virtual hub for bad design?

So here’s what I Kern’t Stand It is going to do: Yes, it will still feature bad design. Yes, it will still make fun of it—mwahahahaha! However, being in the process of starting a company with a partner, I am constantly learning valuable information about design, web development, marketing, networking, etc. This blog is going to give you valuable information that comes from first hand entrepreneurial experience in New York City.

Let’s start with some tech news—a first for I Kern’t Stand It.

Every designer’s go-to example of excellent design is Apple. Steve Jobs’ death, though tragic, is old news. It’s irrefutable that he revolutionized several different industries. Think about it:

-The iPod: He changed the music industry.

-The iPhone: He changed the phone industry.

-Pixar: He changed the animation industry

-I think it goes without saying that he changed the computer industry.

My question is—will his legacy change Hollywood?

According to TechCrunch, Apple has saved up nearly $100 billion in CASH! That’s more than enough to buy Time Warner, Dreamworks (yes please!) and Viacom. And there’s speculation that they might just buy their way in to Hollywood.

Personally, I would love for Apple to buy Dreamworks and here’s why:

Dreamworks, though a good studio, has always been subpar to Pixar. I’ve always been a huge Pixar fan…but the last few years, they’ve been a little disappointing (I blame Disney). I mean, come one guys…what’s with all the sequels?? You used to be the imagination think tank of our generation. Toy Story 3, Cars 2, and Monsters Inc. 2? I loved Toy Story 3 and everything but let’s try to have some original plots again. Piggy backing off of has-been successes isn’t in Pixar’s DNA. If you don’t believe me, watch The Pixar Story. They were highly intentional in re-creating themselves every time they made a new film (before Disney bought them out). That’s why they stood apart from their competition.

What do you guys think? If Apple bought Dreamworks, could they dethrone Pixar?


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Filed under Advertising, Apple, Art, Branding, Business, Graphic Design, Steve Jobs

Shorter Posts, More Posts.

Things have been a little crazy lately—the good kind of crazy though. Either way, sorry for the lack of life on this blog.

I’ve been looking at some popular blogs out there like Seth Godin’s blog and Stuff Christians Like. I’ve noticed that both of these blogs, along with most of wordpress’s featured blogs, have substantially shorter posts than what I’ve been producing. Conversely, they post much more frequently than I do.

So I thought to myself, “Hey. Why not give that a try?”

What do you guys think? Would shorter, more frequent posts be more of your cup of tea?

Unlike the above mentioned blogs, this is an image heavy one. Let’s not forget that this is a design blog. As I welcome you to think and post about my question…I leave with you some stock photography I have dabbled with and captioned.


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Filed under Art, Graphic Design

Parody: the cop out of creativity

I can enjoy a good parody—I love Mel Brooks. A parody can be great for comedy. In design, however, it’s usually an unsuccessful substitute for a concept.

Concept is crucial in design, it can not be substituted. Without a concept, the design is worthless.

Really, food network?? An Indiana Jones parody. Wow, very timely, guys. Whenever looking for a good cookbook, I think to myself, “Hmm. What parody of a 1980’s icon would entice me to cook?”

Below is what I call a good parody:

This is poor/pixelated quality but if you know anything about hipsters…it’s kind of appropriate. Don’t worry, I’m not about to go off on an anti-hipster rant. I think hipster HATERS are much more annoying than hipsters. If young adults with affluent parents want to gentrify low income areas of Brooklyn, who am I to judge?

I don’t understand all of the hate. They’re a people who love bicycles and irony. Just let them be.

Back to terrible parody, the commercial below makes me wish Virgin Mobile would go bankrupt. I’m not being dramatic. I seriously wish that upon them.

Gosh, that video vexes me. Let’s see what Indy thinks.

Well said, Professor. Well said.

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Filed under Advertising, Art, Branding, Critique, Graphic Design, Products

What the heck is in that box?

My last entry ended on a phallic note. I had asked that you not think less of me and now I’m writing this post. Oh dear.

What kind of logo is this? Why is a man holding a box? I guess it’s because you put stuff in a box before putting it in a storage unit? Whatever the reason, it’s a poor concept…so poor…it IS the 99%.

Moving on to the obvious question: What is going on here, exactly? I don’t think one has to be perverse in order to wonder what the heck is inside that box. All I can think of is the iconic SNL digital short with Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake. I won’t post the video or the title, I’m trying to keep this blog somewhat clean, but here’s an image from the video.

Can you guess what’s inside their boxes?

If we can go back to the logo, I’m also seeing two letter D’s as in double d’s. Look, I’m not trying to make this sexual, it’s just there!

Double D’s and a genitalia beckoning box, what does this have to do with a storage unit in Queens?

Do you see it? The arms make the D’s.

It’s kind of like one of those mom and pop gas stations in which one of the D’s in the logo is backwards for some inexplicable reason.

A designer shouldn’t have his mind in the gutter but he should be aware that many people do. If your designs can be easily turned into dirty humor, it’s probably not good for a brand image.

When it comes to a brand image, even if it’s something like storage units, clean professionalism is everything.

I had a professor in college who told a story of a student who designed a brand for a festival. I can’t remember where the festival was (my college had people from all over the world) but it was a grape festival. They called it the “Grape Fest” (creative name, huh?). This student wanted to give it an elegant look. I suspect he was inspired by something like a first edition classic book…you know how first letter of each chapter would be highly ornate? Anyway, the student’s presentation looked something like this:

Like I said, it’s important to be aware of how your designs can be perceived. This could have easily been highly, highly offensive!

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Filed under Advertising, Art, Branding, Critique, Graphic Design, Signage, Typography

Razorbacks, the AFLAC duck, and whatever Iago was

‘Tis a good feeling to know that I’m making a difference in this world. Here’s a message from a good ol’ Arkansan friend:

“Hey man, hope you’re having fun in the big city.

I’m sending you this picture because you seem to be a connoisseur of bad visuals.

It appeared in a flash ad on Yahoo, trying to lure me into attending Razorback basketball games.

But instead I was just scared by the accusatory guy with an angelic glow.”

He’s a good writer, isn’t he?

Just so you know, I’m not claiming to be Superman or anything…but you’re welcome. You’re welcome for making the world a better place—a more beautiful place…perhaps even a SAFER place.

Ooooh my, the Arkansas Razorbacks. Why do Arkansans care about this team? While we’re on the the subject of animals that make me want to punch through glass, let’s talk about Gilbert Gottfried (the former AFLAC guy).

You should be ashamed of yourself—not only for your repulsive voice, not only for agreeing to do the AFLAC commercials, not only for getting fired from AFLAC (loser), but you should be ashamed of having the comical depth of a teenage boy. “Haha” yeah, we all get it…the balls and the bottle are supposed to be phallic. Wow, the sexual subtleties of Gilbert Gottfried are so cunning. Shall I demonstrate that a group of college kids had the same idea several years ago?

Think about that for a second, Mr. 56 year old: a group of teens and early 20’s had the same joke…first. How embarrassing this must be for you.

Alright, perhaps I’m not maintaining my composure as I did with my last entry on Ray William Johnson, but that guy never made fun of the victims of the tsunami in Japan, a woman who was molested by her father, or 9/11 victims (not to my knowledge, at least). I wish ol’ Gilbert would do us all a favor and end up like his character, Iago, from Aladdin—crammed in a tiny lamp and buried in the Arabian desert.

The typography on the book is so grotesque, even Comic Sans would look away in terror (no pun intended, designers).

Gilbert Gottfried is sitting little a little boy in Indian Style. Sorry, I believe the politically correct term is now “criss-cross-applesauce”. It’s okay though, I’m like 1/64 Cherokee so I say “Indian Style”.

His clothes and hair look…well…dreadful. No self respecting 56 year old man should ever dress that way. This is just tacky design. I can understand giving a low-class guy a low-class cover for his book but as I discussed in my last entry, there is a difference between inexpensive and cheap.

Please don’t think less of me, but well done phallic humor can be funny. I think it’s deeply embedded within the DNA of a man (don’t quote my biology on that). Ranging from Homer, the ancient Greek poet, all the way to Disney—phallic humor is out there (that may have been an inappropriate choice of words).

When it’s representative of a struggle for alpha status, it’s stinkin’ hilarious. However, I think it goes without saying that we’ve reached well beyond Gilbert Gottfried’s intellectual grasp. Like any comedian who tries to compensate for his lack of intelligence—he simply goes for shock factor.

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Filed under Art, Branding, Critique, Graphic Design, Typography

Ray William Johnson, take a design class. Now.

Here’s a collage I made from Ray William Johnson’s youtube channel. These are the thumbnails to his videos. Wow, where do I even begin?

I’d like to start by saying that I don’t know the guy personally so I can’t personally attack him. He’s an entrepreneur and I respect the crap out of that. He’s a professional speaker, another thing I respect. And he’s pop culture savvy—I love pop culture. In case my blog doesn’t make it evident, I also hold very high respect for comedy.

However, and this is a big however, I hate, hate, hate, HATE his videos. I despise his persona. I’ve never been able to finish one of his videos and I’ve given him more chances than he deserves. He’s not funny—he doesn’t make me laugh. And for the love of all that is sacred and holy, take just one design class, man! His “hypnosis meets a Mexican diner meets Perez Hilton wannabe” brand just doesn’t do it for me. Granted, each of his videos has millions of views…but I suspect he appeals almost exclusively to adolescent boys with ADD.

Hey, maybe it works for the guy. He’s the one with millions of followers, not me (yet, mwahahaha). Maybe I should take a page out of his book and learn a thing or two. Keep in mind, if we were talking about a literal book, I’d take one look at it and use it to fix a wobbly table at best.

Guys, if any of you has an argument for Ray William Johnson’s image, I’d love to hear it.

Here’s my argument: there is a difference between inexpensive and cheap. This guy is cheap. I’m talking Turkish flea market kind of cheap.

Take the Gap, Inc. for example. They own Banana Republic, Gap, and Old Navy. These brands range from luxury to inexpensive respectively.

Above is their most expensive line: Banana Republic. I love this brand, love it! It’s chic and clean. It’s obviously high quality. Their use of photography and white space is phenomenal.

Above is Gap. This is lower quality and less expensive than Banana Republic, but it’s still very nice clothing. This site contains less content and less photography. The color palette isn’t as much of an earth tone palette as Banana Republic’s. Instead, we see some orange and blue-green in the palette.

This is the main point I’m trying to make: above is Old Navy (the lowest quality and least expensive of the three mentioned brands). This is more affordable. It’s great for a younger demographic. If I were to think from a parent’s perspective, this would be the ideal choice? What kid needs luxury wool and cotton? They’re just going to outgrow it in three days anyway, right?

The color palette isn’t made of earth tones. We’re seeing playful blues and oranges. I think this is terrific branding for a not-so-luxurious brand of clothing. This is the perfect example of inexpensive, which is much, much, much more than I can say about:

What’s with the ALL CAPS, you hooligan? I feel like you’re screaming at me and pressuring me into doing something I don’t want to do. Just shut up and leave me alone.

Wow, that is the single most distracting freakin’ background I have ever seen. My eyes just don’t know where to go.

Ladies and gentlemen, I feel as though my eyeballs have just taken an aerobics class (don’t think about the biology of that statement and the joke is funnier). My eyes are exhausted after writing about this mess. I think I’m going to put a spoon in the freezer, take it out when it’s cold, place it on top of my eyelids, and call it a day.

P.S. Julian Smith dances circles around this guy in terms of comedy, presentation, and branding.

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Filed under Advertising, Art, Branding, Critique, Graphic Design, Web Design

Weird, hairy, abnormal growths of typography.

Big things have been happening on my blog. Because I am now advertising, the amount of traffic has more than quadrupled! Life is good.

If you’ll recall from an earlier post, I was in East Harlem the other day. I stumbled across one of the greatest atrocities that has ever happened to the world of typography.


I apologize for having such a poor quality photo, I had to use my phone. I wish I could go back and take a decent picture with my camera but…yeah…it’s night time right now. East Harlem is not the safest place to be at night! I could take my camera but “shooting someone” would have a very new meaning for me.

This is what it says though:

When I was in the 8th grade, my class spent a week in a sex ed class. At least, they claimed it was. Sex ed, is short for sex education. This usually entails educating about sex, right?

I’m not going to lie, I was pretty excited about the class. This was my initial reaction:

But it ended up more like this:

Scare tactics, that’s all it was. They tried to coerce abstinence by fear.

They showed us gruesome slides of STD’s. They never explained the benefits of abstinence. They never said that it would bring counterintuitive peace and simplicity. They just said, “Here’s a vagina with warts. Very painful warts! Do you want this, ladies? Then don’t have sex until you’re married. Here’s a penis that is turning black, fellas. It burns when he pees. Do you want this to happend to you? Then don’t have sex until you’re married.”

I’m going to shed a little light on my views (blogs are about transparency, after all). I am a big proponent of abstinence. But fear can not be the driving force. And you can’t coerce someone into being abstinent. If fear is your foundation, you’re going to fall…and you’re going to be uneducated on the subject. The stakes are high in that game.

If you’re wondering what in the heck this has to do with a laundromat sign: Jokerman is the STD slideshow of typography. It’s hideous. It’s scary. It doesn’t get the message across. It also looks like it has weird, hairy, abnormal growths.

Here’s everything you need to know about Jokerman:

Non-designers don’t know these things. That’s why this blog is absolutely imperative to your existence (designers also have a tendency to be a bit dramatic at times). But seriously, this does ensure the need and practical application for my industry.

Remember those people I surveyed for the Halloween costume logos? This is what they had to say about these typefaces:

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Filed under Advertising, Art, Critique, Graphic Design, Signage, Typography