Iconography of the U.S

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McDonald’s Golden Arches are often associated with America. These arches were developed to be a part of the design for the first McDonalds storefront. However, the architect did not want to include them over the doors.  Richard McDonald liked the design of the arches and decided instead to have the arches included in the signage for the store, and eventually it stuck to the company. 

When McDonald’s decided to expand internationally, they decided to keep the same logo since many people associated the arches to the brand. People would know they were going to get a quick meal at an inexpensive price if they saw the Golden Arches, even across borders. Originally, McDonald’s attempted to keep their standard US menu abroad, but quickly realized that they would need to adapt to local tastes if they were going to succeed. By keeping the same logo and adjusting to the cultures that they were operating within, McDonalds was able to brand and build trust with foreign consumers. The arches are still synonymous with quality fast food on the international level, yet they are still a major symbol of American culture. The heart of the menu is still American-based foods, but the adaptation is what has allowed the company to become popular abroad. McDonald’s is evidence of American’s international business since it has thousands of locations across the world. They follow the traditional American business model, but through their branding efforts they have avoided many locations disliking (or simply ignoring) this symbol.

The Golden Arches have been received positively both in the United States and internationally, largely due to branding. McDonald’s has done well in marketing their product on both fronts, leading to the positive associations.  In the United States, McDonald’s typically has large signs along the highways signaling that a rest stop is nearby.  The Golden Arches also appear to be a sign that there is an oasis during a potentially long highway trip.  Even when people are not driving on the highway, the Golden Arches cause many of us to think of McDonald’s famous golden French fries.  McDonalds has also maintained a relatively positive corporate image, which has helped to maintain the positive sentiment felt when Americans see the Golden Arches icon. 

Similarly, the Golden Arches have generally been met with positive sentiment on an international level.  There is not a lot of research on if the Golden Arches have the same effect that they do on Americans, but the company has experienced success abroad, and the Golden Arches are known for being internationally recognized. 

William Robinson’s notion of globalization plays a large role in the international blanketing of McDonald’s. As mentioned before, the menu differs depending on one’s location, however, the core of this fast-food industry remains untouched. Many worry about how globalization could potentially eliminate cultural diversity and promote Americanization. However, McDonald’s has effectively adapted to the cultural needs of the given location. For example, India’s McDonald’s menu includes the McSpicy Paneer, which incorporates ingredients commonly used in Indian recipes.

 

PowerPoint Presentation

Drake PowerPoint

In order to have music running throughout this entire presentation, I had to edit two tracks by the artist together. In order to complete this task, Audacity was needed.  The first step was to drag the desired mp3 file into Audacity. It is helpful to zoom-in so you can see the waves with more detail. After this was completed, I highlighted the section of the song I wanted and copied and pasted it into a new Audacity file. I made sure to fade the music in at the beginning and fade it out at the end. I repeated the same steps for the next music clip. Then, I exported the file to the desktop and inserted the music clip into my PowerPoint. After this, I check the boxes that said play through out slides. To make the presentation run on its own, I selected the practice presentation option and manually timed out each click.

When making an effective PowerPoint, it is vital to show one bullet at a time, in order to focus your audience on one idea at a time. To do this, I went to the animations and selected one that I saw fit for the theme of the presentation. After this, I selected dim from the column on the right side of the screen. I chose to dim each bullet to a color that blended into the color of the slide.

The third slide has the album artwork and all the tracks with their times listed. Instead of having each track appear one at a time, I blocked several together at a time and had them appear as a few blocks. This saves time and keeps the audiences attention. I lined all the tracks up by making a textbox the same size as the album artwork so they were equal in size.

For the forth slide, I inserted a table and changed the colors to fit the theme from the drop-down menu at the top of the screen. After I did this, I created separate text boxes in each table cell. I did this so I could animate each cell however I pleased. If I chose to write directly into the cell, I could not have this freedom.

The last slide is a collage of the artist with a link to their official homepage. I chose to animate each picture separately and to alternate animations to add more interesting qualities into this presentation. To insert a hyperlink, I created a textbox and inserted the link into the spot for the URL. The text you want to appear on the actual presentation go in the space labeled name. To change the color to fit the theme, I selected: format, theme colors, change hyperlink color.  I also animated this hyperlink as the last item to appear in this presentation.

The Brain/ Pharma Ads

Part 1: The Secret Life of the Brain

In the two websites for this assignment there are interactive, 3-dimensional diagrams of the human brain that offer a copious amount of information. It was interesting to have the option to click around and see a 3-dimensional view of the brain. There were labels of each of the different sections of the brain as well as functions that coincide these sections of the brain. I learned a lot more than if it was just strictly definitions on the screen, as I am a visual learner.

From simply viewing the anatomy of the brain, I do not believe that I have been persuaded in any ways in change my behaviors to improve brain function. Together, the websites offer a great deal of information that informs the readers about disorders and other negative aspects that the brain can endure such as ADHD, Alzheimer’s, autism, bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia as well as the potential risks of cancer, physical injuries, skull fractures, and ruptures of blood vessels. Although there is a lot of information about how the brain can be negatively affected, I am not persuaded to change any behaviors to improve brain function because these websites do not seem to supply one with the needed information in order to take action.

On the other hand, since being exposed to this information, I now recognize how vital it is to protect ones’ brain. Because of the websites’ great deal of information, especially the Healthline website, I now have a better understanding of specific parts of the brain and their direct relationship to our human functions.

I believe quite strongly that the 3-dimensional, interactive diagrams of the brain are a good example of the idea that “the truth can be made visible.” Up until quite recently, interactive diagrams that allow a viewer to learn in such ways that these websites allow did not exist. Today, being able to clearly see and interact with the human brain online allows us to see the “truth” of who we are. Personally, being able to interact with the brain on the Healthline website was one step closer to tangibility, which allows one to see the “truth” or realness of the brain as well.

The two simulations are similar in the ways that they allow the viewer to interact with specific parts of the brain. However, they are different with the amount of specific information that they offer about the brain. For example, the Healthline website gives specific examples of how each part of the brain functions and what its ‘responsibilities’ are. 

Part 2: Pharmaceutical Direct-to-Consumer Advertisement

The pharmaceutical advertisement I chose is the allergy medication brand Claritin. This ad is specifically targeting those with pet allergies, even though the medicinclarye is used to treat numerous other allergies. This ad promises to treat the customers pet allergies by including an image of a smiling women holding her pet cat- portraying that she has been relieved of her cat allergies. This ad has a checklist of symptoms that it will treat including itchy/watering eyes, runny nose, and sneezing. There is no true list of side effects, all it says is “use as directed”.   

The theorist that best fits this assignment is Raymond Williams. Williams, a well-known analyst stated that advertising acts as a “‘magic system’ that transforms ordinary, material products into objects that promise a magical transformation”. William’s analysis of advertisements connects to this assignment because of Claritin’s magical promise to cure the customers itchy eyes, runny nose, and sneezing.  

I learned a lot about the brain and its functions, in addition to how advertisements are constructed and the “truths” behind it all.

Culture Jamming

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I chose a Burger King ad which is both popular and produced in masses. For this culture jamming assignment, I chose to focus on the copy of the advertisement and – more specifically- altering the meaning. The first advertisement highlights the convenience and frequency that Burger King provides. After I added the copy at the bottom of the page, the entire meaning was changed. Now the meaning went from showcasing the convenience of the product, to honing in on the unhealthiness, and furthermore, the perils Burger King can impose on your body. It is fascinating how drastically the dennotative and connotative meanings of this ad can change from just four words.

I decided this advertisement would be easily manipulated on InDesign, which is the software I used to edit this advertisement. I simply covered up the visual and copy at the bottom of the page and used this negative space to place the phrase “… from a heart attack”. Unfortunately, I discovered through research that the font used in this ad and all of Burger King’s ads is not provided to the general public, and you must pay in order to access it. Despite this barrier, I used the next best font by paying close attention to the shape and kerning of the letters. Even though this font is certainly not a perfect match, it works for this assignment as it effectively communicates the message I am trying to get across.

I chose this oppositional meaning for the ad because I believe this brings out Burger King’s true colors. Many fast-food restaurants tend to emphasize other non-health related aspects about their product. This tactic was being used in this advertisement by illustrating how there is always a Burger King around the corner waiting to serve you. What I chose to do was reverse the meaning to showcase a side of BK that many of the workers try to hide. A lot of the time with culture jamming, individuals chose to expose a company through manipulation of logos and/or copy. This is precisely what I did with the wording. I exposed the unhealthiness and possible side effects of Burger King.

This assignment taught me a lot about always viewing information with a critical eye. InDesign is still pretty new to me, yet I was still able to effectively distort the meaning of this advertisement. If you take someone that has a degree in Graphic Design or has worked professionally in the field, they will be able to produce much more convincing work. This can pose as a huge issue, since this revised work can now be passed off and regarded as original work.

This issue can be connected to Walter Benjamin’s notion of mechanical reproduction. He states that once a piece or art has been reproduced, some of its aura (or authenticity) has been lost. By Benjamin’s terms, the works originality and authenticity cannot be reproduced. He states “even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space.” Not only is my reproduction of the ad lacking this “presence of time and space”, it has been additionally altered.

 

 

Concert Poster

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This concert poster uses the ‘Horizon Line’ format. The horizontal line is created by the band, and also by the text at the top of the poster. I decided simplicity was the best route for this poster, as it most effectively displayed the information in a way that aligned with the bands vibe. I have been a fan of this band for some time now, and they do not advertise the band for their face as much as they do for the music and visuals. This is why I focused heavily on extenuating the visual aspects of the band on this poster. This is why I chose to use the image with the flags, as this is the main focal point of the poster. Their profiles are visible, so there is some recognition. However, it isn’t vital to understanding the poster.

I used the Copperplate font because it was sleek with a bit of tribal flair. I used kerning on the ‘Young The Giant’ header to make the name stand out. Furthermore, I capitalized all the letters to create the same effect. This was very important to the cohesion of the piece. I saw this band in concert for this tour, and the main theme for the set on stage were the vibrant tribal flags along with the addition of colorful lights. I chose orange font with blue stroke lines separating the information because they were contrasting colors and it aligned with the tribal theme. Not only this, but I noticed that these colors brought out a lot of the colors in the flags the band members were holding. I made the name of the band and the tour name the largest font, and all of the other information such as location and time of concert smaller. I wrote the name of the band and tour first, as this was the most important information.

The image and background is taken from the bands’ website from a photoshoot they did for the same tour this poster is advertising. I layered the text and line design on top of this photo since there was neutral space at the top of the photo. This photo was not the correct tabloid size, so I had to place this photo on top of a blank layer, and blend that into the photo the best I could. I did this by creating a box around the area that wasn’t covered by the photo and using the eyedropper tool to create the same color as the photo. There was a lot of negative space at the top of the poster so I filled this area with the text and strokes.

I had never used InDesign once in my lifetime, so just using the software was difficult enough on its own. I had no idea how to use a lot of the tools and functions- such as the line tool and eyedropper- so a lot of trial and error took place in the creation of this concert poster. There is much progress with the cohesion and alignment from the first draft to the final draft. However, this being said, I still believe I could use a lot more practice with InDesign. One thing I enjoyed about using InDesign was the lack of layers. I would always get frustrated with Photoshop because I would forget to click on the layer before performing a task. InDesign does not use layers, so you don’t have this issue. Personally, not having layers made it easier to use and navigate for this given project.

Media Tracking

IMG-0327[1447]IMG-0328[1446]IMG-0330[1448]IMG-0331[1449]Without a doubt, I used social media the most during this 48 hour period of time. Before I started recording this data, I already knew that social media would take the cake. Generally speaking, those in the Millennial generation, such as myself, are very tied into social media. The social media that I tracked was Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and VSCO. I spent a total of 7 hours and 17 minutes on the previously mentioned social media websites in the allotted 48 hours. I spent roughly 2 hours and 39 minutes communicating with other people through text messages, voice calls, and email. Out of all the media used, VSCO and Gmail were used the least, which wasn’t a surprise to me. During the school/work week, I don’t have much down time to watch TV or listen to music. Much of my music listening occurs at the gym so for the 48 hours allotted, I spent just over an hour on Spotify. I was already aware that I spend a fair amount of time on my phone, and using media. However, I did not realize just how much of your day can be consumed. Sending a quick text message or email seems like a trivial task that shouldn’t take up any significant amount of time. I found it quite shocking just how quickly the time accumulates. If I had done this activity on the weekend, I would be even more shocked by the results, as I spend significantly more time on social media, and my phone in general. I personally believe that a phone and technology has its perks, however when used too much, this can reverse on us and turn into a distraction and even alienate use from those we should be spending time with. I will definitely continue using my phone, however I will now be more mindful of when and how long it is being used. I believe when I am spending time with family, friends, and loved one, the phone use should be limited or simply not used at all. On the contrary, when I am at school , my phone is a great way to connect with those at home that I cannot be with in person. Roger Williams is two hours away from my home town, so I don’t get to visit very often. having a phone and being able to call, text, and FaceTime with those that many miles away makes the distance seem closer than it actually is. When doing this assignment, Walter Benjamin came to mind, since he is connected to the flaneur. I have reflected on the amount of time I have spent on my phone, looking down, and disconnecting myself from what’s around me. I believe that more of us, including myself, should be more engaged in our surrounds like how Walter Benjamin describes the flaneur. I should take more time for myself to walk around and observe my surrounding in explicit detail. I believe this is absolutely vital for ones inner peace and solitude. Yes, technology has its perks, but there’s a time and place for it. Sometimes, we are better without the burden and barrier of technology.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons strives to expand upon the works that individuals can legally share with no charge added on. When searching search engines such as Google or Internet Explorer, there are numerous copyright infringements and legal issues that can occur. When a company or individual has a copyright on any given works, no other individuals can replicate and produce the same thing. What Creative Commons does to battle this, is create a website that gives you the freedom to share your own works, and use others, without fear of any legal issues. This fosters a more creative community where users are encouraged to share their work with others, instead of maintaining full ownership of it.

This project affects the subject of a work because it there is much more meaning in being an original. Without the subject being able to be used in ways that they owner did not intend it has that much more potential to hold its original meaning. People will no longer be able to take the work of others, the subject, and pass it off as their own or something completely different. This way, the creator receives credit for their work and maintains the intended meaning.

The use of Creative Commons resources for the contributors to “Gone With The Wind”, would be beneficial in avoiding the conflicts that arise when one does not properly cite the work of others. Creative Commons could have helped Sherri Levine and Michael Mandiberg cite the sources of the photographs that they used in order to avoid the conflict revolving around them using those photographs illegally.

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Amy Adler, After Sherrie Levine. 

 

From what I understand, Creative Commons would not have been able to help out in the case of Bela Lugosi with the public image of Dracula. Creative Commons does not seem to offer any protection towards a public figure, such as Dracula. Moreover, after Lugosi’s death, and when the image and personality of Dracula was being used, the court found no copyright license attached to the work. Therefore, the Creative Commons project would not have been able to help other than providing a source that Bela Lugosi could have used to acquire a copyright license. Respectable creators that wanted to use Dracula in some form would hopefully use Bela Lugosi’s name to give credit to him. However, if someone wanted to use the work without giving him credit, it would not have been illegal.

It is incredibly simple, in our digital age, to take the work of an individual and use it for one’s own purpose. This truly affects and -in some cases- harms the original. In class we spoke about the difference between an original and a copy. It became clear through these discussions that the original obtains so much more value because of the meaning and context in which it was created. Digitally, it is much easier than ever before to take a piece of creative work and replicate it. These copies are made with much less effort than if they were to be created manually and can even be identical to the original.

These ideas connect to the idea of appropriation and the change between the meaning of the original work and the appropriated version, which we have previously discussed in and out of class. Creative commons is working to eliminate this in the digital world. I think that this is extremely important in helping to cultivate creativity and innovation while protecting the rights of those who choose to share these works online. Furthermore, Walter Benjamin’s idea of the “aura” relates to the idea of copies versus the original work. Benjamin would argue that a copy or replica of a work would lack “aura”, or authenticity. The copy is no longer true or real and looses its “presence in time and space”.

Overall, the work that Creative Commons is doing is something that I believe is extremely important, especially to those who are developing creative innovative works and sharing it online. These individuals now can be relieved of the fear that their works will be appropriated and used against their intended wishes.