First post of 2016! *Applause* I’m not starting the year off with manhole covers, graffiti or ghost signs (aww). I’m starting off with shoes (what?!) — and not my purple chucks but Louboutins – a $700 pair of shoes! Christian Louboutin is a French footwear and fashion designer whose shoes have incorporated shiny, red-lacquered soles that have become his signature. As stated many (many) times before, I’m not big on fashion but I am big on branding and the red sole of these shoes have always intrigued me. Would I ever wear these shoes? Nah. But, I am digging the colors and the story. Louboutin was asked to decorate some shoes from a new collection. He could not find anything to brighten them up but he found a small bottle of red nail polish on the desk of his secretary and used it to paint the bottom of the shoes. He has since trademark protected the red sole in several countries and he has purchased that specific red from Pantone so no one else can use it.
What’s interesting about this for me is that he has branded his company on such a small detail. The bottom of the shoe (the part that steps on gum!) is what got people’s attention. A black shoe is just a black shoe but a black shoe with a red sole, well that’s a Louboutin!
Side note: check out his signature! Dang!
I was in Cincinnati, Ohio several years ago and came across Fox’s and I thought of the Louboutin shoes. Fox’s is a clothing store and don’t get me started on that <air quotes> logo <air quotes> on the glass omg what is that I can’t even?! A FOX IS NOT AN F. AN F IS AN F. A FOX IS A FOX. If you can find the strength to look away from the F/Fox disaster and turn your attention to the sign on top, you’ll see a beautiful detail that makes this sign a winner.Nothing fancy with the letters, the apostrophe is fighting the good fight and hanging in there like a champ. But….that red. Such a subtle detail that made this sign so memorable for me. One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received:
People remember what distracts them. A good distraction or a bad distraction. That’s what will be remembered.
You can have a killer project but if the craft is bad, that’s what people remember (“you remember that project?” “ooooh yeah, that one that was printed crooked!). Alternatively, the great project where the concept and type shine (“you remember that project?” “ooooh yeah, that one with the awesome typography!). People remember what distracts them. This red on the Fox’s sign distracted me in a good way. Here it is years later and I still remember it.At work, I try to distract people by utilizing design and typography in an effective way to help communicate a message. At the end of the day, it’s the message that I want people to remember. The red soul of distraction.