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72 articles

Dueling dollar stores in a small town: why would identical companies share a party wall?

During the season of giving, it’s not likely that most people’s first notion of a repository for seasonal gifts is a dollar store.  Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, you name it. I suppose I’m making an elitist generalization here: after all, many people lack the wherewithal for purchase gifts anywhere other than a dollar store.  Furthermore,

Color choice: a gladiator match between brand green and brand red, in a strip mall coliseum.

The infamous book How to Lie with Maps initially offered a light-hearted attempt to explore how maps can entice, mislead, inflame, and generally propagandize, often without necessarily depicting anything geographically untruthfully.  Juxtapositions (not always to scale), labels, color choice, and infographics can all endow an editorial skew on what seems like objective spatial representation.  And

Yellow caution bumper stickers: not just a safe driving strategy. Now a meme.

It’s time to confess: I’m beholden to my most successful blog posts, which sometimes feature a subject I don’t really care all that much about, but hey—if it gets good engagement and stimulates conversation, why not explore it again?  That’s precisely the case with those yellow caution bumper stickers (or perhaps they’re magnets?) that have

Brand refresh: Barnes & Noble goes on a tear. No books destroyed in the process.

A quick look at the photo above and it should be obvious that something’s afoot at this particular location of Barnes and Noble.  Incidentally, I only heavily scrutinized a Barnes and Noble once before, also in Maryland, when I noticed a repositioning of merchandise within the interior just a few months ago.  This time, the

Green-shingled roof: a DC institution lives on…in the shadow of a shiny megaplex. 

The immediate area surrounding DC’s Union Market has witnessed a remarkable surge in population, activity, and energy over the last five years.  I deliberately use the word “surge” instead of “resurgence”, because the “re-“ prefix is a misnomer; it implies that the action to which it appends (the “surge”) has happened a second time.  But

Kokopelli: a mascot for Moab?

The earth has revolved around the sun quite a few times since I patronized a restaurant called Kokopelli’s, a little boutique burrito joint on an obscure intersection near Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans, which did not re-open after Hurricane Katrina.  (Yep, that long.)  Time has relegated this hapless sole proprietorship to such obscurity that there’s

Towamencin Shopping Village: a strip mall, all dressed up for a date, but not a single suitor. (MONTAGE)

I’ve featured more derelict malls and shopping centers than the average reader can shake a selfie stick at.  (An apt reference, since the oldest chroniclers of struggling retail—the sites DeadMalls.com and LabelScar.com—haven’t received updates since the popularization of the selfie stick.  But they were great sites when I first started blogging!)  As far as depressed

Closed bank building, but with a twist: can it thrive with robo-tellers?

I promise—cross my heart and hope to die—that I didn’t plan this blog article in light of recent events.  A single closed bank branch is hardly cause for alarm, especially compared to what’s been happening to the entire operations of some fairly large banks these last few weeks.  And we may still be fully in

Kokopelli: a mascot for Moab?

The earth has revolved around the sun quite a few times since I patronized a restaurant called Kokopelli’s, a little boutique burrito joint on an obscure intersection near Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans,

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