DESIGNER BOOKS

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Having been raised on old-world advertising, I understand that things had to change, but the modern stuff in the world of athletic gear doesn’t even come close. Across every brand, everything seems to be distilled into a two-word mantra of SPEED/STRENGTH/INNOVATION/TECHNOLOGY/COMFORT/CONTROL/DESIGN/FIT/CLASSICS followed by DEFINED/REMIXED/REDEFINED/PERFECTED/MASTERED or prefaced with REVOLUTIONARY/UNBELIEVABLE/INCREDIBLE. Two word blasts of superlatives are everywhere. I might take a William Burroughs cut-up approach to copywriting and see if it creates a classic.

It’s understandable that we need to create something that’s easy to digest as a hashtag or few seconds of instant, ephemeral imagery or video, but I can’t comprehend anyone ever putting out anything headed with IRREVERENCE, JUSTIFIED in 2016. There’s no way IRREVERENCE would make it beyond a few initial idea and, speaking of Billy Burroughs, I can’t imagine him ever fronting an Air Max ad like he did around 1994.

Everything seemed to simplify to get that precious split second of attention from consumers with at least five other distractions between infinite browser pages open, but given the impressions and views I’ve heard about, it’s effective. I’m not expecting to see anything turn all David Ogilvy on us any time soon.

I’ve been enjoying a lot of the performance product content that Nike News has been putting out of late though. While Nike News sounds like it should just be a regular blast of profit reports and press releases, their Olympic content emphasised performance. In this jogger pant infested world, it’s easy to forget that sportswear brands are meant to be creating things for sports. I think Nike News has been putting out some in-house publications for a while now, but I liked the On Design book that was published by The Thing Quarterly. Discussing design as something both separate from and aligned with innovation, as well as the Nike dons like Mark Parker and John Hoke’s contributions, calling in museum Glenn Adamson, illustrator and author Maira Kalman and professor Matthew Kolodziej beats drafting in a cavalcade of shoe fanboys. Brian Roettinger (I only recently discovered that Roettinger was the bassist in This Machine Kills with Steve Aoki years ago) designing the thing is a power move too.The downside is that there was only 500 made. Allegedly. Their more recent and innovation-centric spinoff Olympic book that reprints related site content in a redesigned form is cool too.

It’s good to see that there’s still some good long form writing on the subject of performance footwear and apparel, or, as the current shorthand would have it, READING, RESURRECTED.

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