Archive for the ‘political’ Category

USA Lapel Pin by Michael Bierut

There were some hoo-ha a year ago about the wearing of lapel pins as a sign of patriotism in the USA elections. The small metal accessory was suddenly cast into the spotlight. It became a marker of loyalty and patriotism – the absence of which signifies the absence of these values as well. For all its absurdity, it became a big talking point particularly between the Republicans and Democrats.

One year on, Men’s Vogue commissioned renowned graphic designer Michael Bierut to redesign the lapel pin, “which members of both political parties can wear into the voting booth and beyond”:

According to the blurb:

“I tried to defamiliarize a very familiar configuration of letters,” [Michael Bierut] explains, referring to his unconventional, interwoven font — inspired by the country’s history as a melting pot. “A flag is a corporate logo. A monogram is much more private.”

After nearly a decade of limited lapel options (you’re either with the flag pin or against it), sporting this one shows support for the true meaning of bipartisanship — pride in America.

The first thing I saw on the pin didn’t remind me of ‘melting pot’ and ‘multiculturalism’ though – the $ sign is definitely and unmistakeably the most prominent element on the whole pin. Perhaps this is what you can say unites America – the pursuit of wealth and capitalism?

The next, secondary element that I see is the A that has the horizontal bar removed, with a particularly wide stance. This to me looks much more like a chevron in the military ranking insignia – perhaps a subtle allusion to the US’s military might.

The article makes no direct mention of either of these symbologies – even though to me they are quite readily apparent. While these are certainly facets of America that are quite distinctive, I’m not sure if they are integrative or ‘private’, particularly at this trying economic climate with war that has dragged on, where the positions on these issues are frequently much more divisive than unifying.

Or maybe I’m just seeing things with my tinted eyes?

[Buy this for $10]

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McCain vs Obama – Funny for Once

Politics isn’t the focus on this site – but to be honest I’d say the following are more comedy than politics. US presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama takes turn roasting each other during the Al Smith dinner, traditionally where seriousness is cast aside in favor of self-deprecating and light humor while trading comedic insults of the campaign’s talking points.

If you don’t follow the campaign, chances are this will be boring or meaningless to you, so you can just skip it. If you do, you may find some resonant humor.

John McCain opens the night:

Barack Obama’s turn:

It’s cool that amidst the (frequently hostile and negative) campaigning something like this provides a welcome break indeed. Kudos to the speech writers for the witty speeches, credit to the candidates for stage presence and deliverance!

Permutations for Obama’s Logo

obama’s logo

A while ago in my post ‘Visual Branding – More than a Mark’, I mused about the changing nature of a (company’s) branding identity. While the traditional notion of branding is a strong, iconic but static symbol, we are starting to see much more versatile branding identities that leave room for permutation and re-interpretation. An extract from that post:

They are often just as strong and iconic (if not more), but they have an added dimensionality and freeplay that allows for creative interpretations of the symbol, rather than just a static stoic symbol.

It’s great though to see brands getting more alive and versatile. With the new mediums of expression (cellphones? Google Earth views?) and the Web2.0 culture of hacking and mashing, a versatile logo allows the audience not only to receive but also to actively reciprocate and reinterpret what these brands mean to them …

Shown above are Barack Obama’s campaign logos. While the top one is the official icon, there’s also a whole range of other icons that were tweaked to cater to the various niches while retaining the strong and very recognizable primary branding. The free-exchange nature of the Internet has definitely encouraged ‘mashing’ of different elements for customization. As a nod to the web culture, these logos are even available for download on his website, and at 96×96 pixels they seemed to be precisely targeted at web-uses such as online avatars for forums and instant messaging services.

If your company’s logo isn’t versatile enough to accommodate re-interpretation and transformation (hey, even politicians have done it), you might want to consider some change as well!

How to counter a protest?

Some posts back, I blogged about Singapore’s “guideline to protest”. In this post, we shall look at how the Singapore Police Force counter a protest led by Chee Soon Juan, a civil rights activist/opposition party leader. When I read on YawningBread that he was prevented from marching towards the IMF convention, I started wondering what exactly does he mean by “prevented”.

Protest in Singapore

This is one of the most surreal pictures I’ve seen – whether in terms of its background context, or just the picture itself. So Dr. Chee & his supporters (total 4 of them – 5 would have been “illegal gathering) wanted to march to the international press, IMF delegates etc. And Singapore Government wouldn’t have that. How did they do it? By physivally forming a human ring around the protestors! How creative!

  1. Priceless Expression on Miss Chee: Check.
  2. Bored policewomen having to do surround-stand duty: Check.
  3. Officer looking stern and uncompromising supervising: Check.
  4. Symphathetic man holding up umbrella through the circle: Check.
  5. Police filming all these down for evidence: Check.
  6. Photographer to capture all these: Check.

Man, this sure is surreal.

More pictures here, and some personal accounts here and here.

A Guide: How should you protest in Singapore?

There has been much hoo-ha surrounding the IMF-World Bank Conference in Singapore lately. I’d think that nobody would actually really notice the conference going on if the Government hadn’t been particularly glaring and obnoxious in its publicity. Life seem to go on as per normal for everybody else – the “hype” surrounding the conference seems to be manufactured through the local media as opposed to being a reflection of ground sentiments. It began drumming up some months ago, progressing in tempo and intensity. While the event itself lasts only two weeks, the Government (with capital G) seems to think that this very conference will determine whether Singapore will perish or prosper, judging by the effort extended to create what they imagine to be a pleasing environment to the delegates.

So, flowers are hastily lined up along roads that are around the convention centre; Dali sculptures are imported and placed around town – hurry! They only last for the two weeks that the delegates are here; Giant collages of smiling faces were assembled along strategic routes to give a “warm” welcome to the delegates; Cab drivers were sent for courtesy and smiling courses – they’re compensated for the lost profit while learning how to smile; Fences are erected around the War Memorial Obelisk in City Hall, complete with barbed wire on top…etc. All these effort point towards a hypocrisy and phoney appearances.

And so, in the classic Singaporean style, outdoor protests are barred. In fact, even in the 8mx8m indoor protest arena, they handed out guidelines on what to protest. The absurdies of the do’s and dont’s are actually rather amusing if you put notions of a civil society on the backburner.

Some Do’s and Don’ts when using the designated area

Please observe these do’s and don’ts when using the designated area so as to ensure as little disruption as possible to other activities taking place in Suntec Singapore.

Do: Keep both your IMF/WB and designated area passes visible at all times.

Do: Keep the noise to an acceptable level. For this reason, sound amplification systems should not be used.

Do: Be appropriately attired at all times and respect the cultural sensitivities of all participants to the Annual Meetings.

Do: Keep all activities within the designated area

Do: Keep the designated area free of food or drinks.

Do: Avoid moving any of the barricades marking out the

designated area.

Don’t: Burn anything as part of the gathering.

Don’t: Display anything or behave in a manner that would:

a. Provoke a breach of the peace;

b. Cause alarm or distress;

c. Offend religious or racial/ethnic sensitivities; or

d. Be prejudicial to the security of Singapore.

Due to safety concerns for persons in Suntec Singapore, we will not allow certain items to be brought into Suntec Singapore. Such items include wooden and metal poles or wooden cut-outs. Upon request and subject to availability, substitute materials will be made available to hold up banners and placards.