Stand-out projects from studios that hustled in 2020.

via Brand New; designed by Porto Rocha

No snoozing happening here.

Casper, a company that provides a single mattress that suits most sleepers, launched a series of subway ads last year. Attempting to play the field in the less-polished medium of subway advertisements, Casper ingeniously caught the attention of eye-contact-avoiding riders with these visual logic puzzles. It not only engaged viewers in a moment of tiny victory (I solved it!), but stood apart from other ad competition by cutting out the white space in design.

David Dobrik’s campaign for his new perfume, ‘David’s Perfume.’

A Brief Evolution of Marketing

In The Brand Gap, Marty Neumeier discusses a term called ‘tribal identification,’ where the trajectory of marketing is headed from functional benefits (“what it does”) to personal identity (“who you are”). He describes the general evolution as follows:

1900: The features, “What it has”

1925: The benefits, “What it does”

1950: The experience, “What you’ll feel”

2000: Identification, “Who you are”

2020 and beyond: ???

I believe Neumeier’s marketing evolution above is highly correlated with the historical events, cultural trends, and disruptions of our society. In the 1920s, consumerism was marked by mass production, and people bought more than they…

What’s the selling point of Twitch? And how do we appeal to new users?

As many other creatives, designers, and artists did this past week, I attended the Adobe Creative Cloud Max virtual conference. One session stood out to me in particular — a talk featuring Brian Collins (CEO of creative agency, COLLINS) and Bryon Phillipson (Global Creative Director of Twitch) titled, “How Twitch’s New Brand System Seeks to Amplify Creativity around the World.”

On the design side, there was a ‘buffing-up’ of Twitch’s visual brand system: small adjustments to an already fitting logo, new gradient graphics, a cute ‘Glitch’…

As a recent college graduate (Class of COVID?) and individual straddling the edge of Gen Z, I realize that I have membership to an important demographic — part of a generation that will have no choice but to redefine a new era of the job industry playbook. We are the generation forever in a state of partial attention, yet able to spot inauthenticity from a mile away, and thus we champion brands who don’t sell us ‘things,’ but sell us ideas and values we can proudly wear as badges on our chest.

With the pandemic catalyzing disruptive innovation in a…

This is a big idea i’ve taken away from learning about branding, strategy, and design in the past few months. It fits into an analogy I came up with (while listening to Douglas Davis’ lecture from AIGA Charlotte AIGA Eye on Design )…

Being a good brand strategist is kind of like being a good doctor: A client presents you with ‘symptoms’ and problems with their company and then requests a specific remedy (i.e. a logo re-design, a new website, a re-brand).

But you, as a good brand strategist, need to have the intuition to properly ‘diagnose’ your client and…

Sometime it feels as though every director/writer believes that weaving a Greek myth into the story somehow chemically transforms it into a richer, deeper, more weighted story. That because it reflects a great Homeric or Euripidic tragedy that it can lean on this pre-written narrative as the backbone of its essence.

Such is not the case here.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire uses the story of Orpheus and Eurydice like a true painter (good artists copy, great artists steal?) From the moment Marianne leaves, is the moment we step back and observe the painting in whole. …

Maurizio Cattelan’s $120,000 banana

We are in an era where the consumer proposition has changed from ‘What can I buy?’ to ‘What can I achieve?’

Companies now need to respond to a more considerate and considered consumer mindset. The shape and sound of our world is changing (circles of people to rectangles, and by rectangles, I mean screens.) This is a time of bursting creativity among Gen Z and millennials (TikTok, ‘let’s make a start-up together’), the search for human connection (Zoom) and a narrative shift towards the local and the personal.

Gabe Miller (Landor + Fitch) presses us to more keenly observe the…

Steven Yeun, Jeon Jong-seo, and Yoo Ah-in star in Burning (left to right).

The greenhouse, elusive cat, tangerine peeling, and a (perhaps imaginary) well big enough for a body to fit into — leaves you pondering the meaning of the ending in the shower, long after watching. This is a brilliant example of a literary film. Adapted from Haruki Marukami’s short story “Barn Burning”(1983), which also nods to Faulkner’s short of the same title written in 1939, this cinematic representation masterfully interprets the nuclear exploration of humanity present in both stories. …

Saoirse Ronan, left, and Laurie Metcalf in “Lady Bird.” (Merie Wallace / A24)

Lady Bird is a painstakingly authentic example of a mother’s love for her daughter. That’s why it’s so hard to leave the theater without wiping away tears, and feeling as though a little piece of yourself was on the screen for those two hours. It is both so evident and yet so unapparent that Lady Bird’s mother loves her. Truly loves her.

I’d like to take a step back from reviewing this film like a film, and rather as an observation of one of the most important and necessary relationships a person can have in their lifetime: a mother and…

Michelle Wang

Ramblings about film, branding, design, and whatever my brain wants to tell you.

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