You will be reading and annotating two texts: Paul Rand’s “Good Design Is Good Will” 1987 and Steven Heller’s “Underground Mainstream” 2008. In these texts, we will compare Paul Rand’s point of view as a corporate advertising designer and Steven Heller’s critique of the complex relationship between the underground and mainstream.
Read and annotate Paul Rand’s “Good Design Is Good Will” in Graphic Design Theory: Readings From the Field page 64-69 and Steven Heller’s “Underground Mainstream” in Design Observer using our Hypothesis group COMD3504_OL08. Your response to the prompt should be about 200 words and checked for spelling and grammar errors.
Here are the questions to which you should respond in your reading response:
- Is the concept of mainstream vs. underground relevant in advertising of 1950’s / 1960’s and is it relevant today?
- What is “culture jamming”?
- Provide a visual example and description of early avant-garde culture jamming.
- Provide a visual example and description of culture jamming today.
When it came to advertising in the 1950s and 1960s, the concept of mainstream versus underground was crucial because movements such as psychedelic art were quite prominent at the time. The use of drugs and sex in psychedelic art drew the attention of the mainstream media, which considered it to be subterranean. Along with its quirkiness, the mainstream was able to accept the manner in which it drew attention and gained fans. People share videos and images on social media when art, music, or fashion goes viral in the modern-day. Whether it is art or media in general where it is the hot topic, and then that trend or art style is replaced by something new until everyone gets bored of the trend. what underground sometimes goes mainstream because of the shock factor.
Culture-jamming is the act of stealing the visual language of the mainstream in order to criticize or destroy popular culture in general. Also disturbs established norms and is frequently employed to effect social change. Additionally, it refers to the production of pictures or behaviors that cause viewers to reevaluate the power structure.
One example of culture jamming from the 60s is this Mad Magazine Budweiser.
This is a take on the advertisement of alcohol specifically the company Budweiser. Mad mag uses a play on words of the company name to convey what alcohol does best.
Culture jamming from today
Cultural Jamming from today capitalized on the general feeling of society. Coke cola is a company that owns multiple companies and brings in millions of dollars each year. In a way, coke loves profit without regard for their worker’s pay or benefits.