Paul Rand “Good Design Is Good Will” 1987 from  Graphic Design Theory: Readings From the Field page 64-69 and Steven Heller “Underground Mainstream” in Design Observer 2008.

  • Is the concept of mainstream vs. underground relevant in advertising of the 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.

The concept of mainstream vs. underground was relevant in advertising in the 50’s and 60’s because companies wanted to engage with the youth audience. 

Culture jamming is a way to go against social conformity. But it’s also a way to make satirical art about brands and companies.

An example of early avant-garde culture jamming would be MAD zines. Where this magazine explores and attacks companies with slogans like crest toothpaste advertisements, “ Look Ma, No Cavities, and No Teeth Either.” But it shows how Crest Toothpaste doesn’t help consumers at all, but it’s still a popularly used brand. 

An example of culture jamming today would be shoe brands like Nike. This company was faced with the accusation of doing forced labor in countries, where people who make these shoes are underpaid and they are being verbally and physically abused. So people who are protesting  with signs and have the logo with “ Do it” and the check is crossed out. Artists and designers even created works going against Nike as well. Not just Nike but other brands, it’s a way to let consumers know that these brands are doing shady things are they contradict themselves.