#87 Cold & Flu

87 Cold & Flu

 #87 Cold & Flu
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What happens when you have 3 deadlines to meet, you have the cold & flu, you’re sneezing, have a headache & you just feel like crap?

The computer crashes of course & you have to start all over on a huge project.

But I interrupted the “paying” projects to get a special one done—this month’s AmperArt—just for you. Coming up with the title Cold & Flu was super easy as I’m living it! The typestyle & colors are based on typical packaging & store signage for the cold & flu season.

And yes, I really was 90% complete with a huge board game design project when Photoshop unexpectedly quit & I lost all that work. That hasn’t happened in years. So once again: save, save, save!

The upside of catching a cold & flu? I love the taste of Nyquil, Luden’s honey-licorice cough drops & Pine Bros. gummy cherry lozenges.

smith-brothers-cough-drops-14ct-box-14One fond memory is that of Smith Brothers Cough Drops, both Wild Cherry and Black Licorice. I loved those! In fact, that was the very first cough drop. Sadly, they have been discontinued. (For those of you interested in marketing: By chance, the word “Trade” appeared under the picture of William & the word “Mark” under that of Andrew. Thus, it happened by a mere coincidence that the famous Smith Brothers’ trademark was born and the Smith Brothers became known to generations of Americans as Trade & Mark.)

Another favorite, and I don’t recall who made them, was  a long hard candy-type cough drop with a peculiar honey-horsehound-medicinal flavor. They were a brownish color & tasted so bad they were deliciously addicting.

Stay warm & dry this holiday season. Try not to catch the cold & flu, especially if you’re on a heavy deadline.

chaz sez ...

Check out the new “chaz sez” blog at DesimoneDesign.com, my commercial graphic design website. It’s mostly about design, typography, printing, publishing & marketing, but on occasion I’ll divert to a sideways topic that just can’t escape my ranting & raving.

Production notes for #87 Cold & Flu:
Original size: 20×30 inches

Program: Adobe InDesign
Fonts: Helvetica Compressed
Ampersand: Helvetica Compressed
Inspiration: Sneezing, Coughing & Aching Bones
You may repost the image. Please credit AmperArt.com.
To download a full-size high-resolution 11×17-inch poster, click on the image.

For professional graphic design, please visit Desimone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!

#55 Returns & Exchanges


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The day after Christmas must be as dreaded to retailers as the day after Thanksgiving is welcome—you know, Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year.

Used to be, before online shopping & big box stores, all the department stores from Sears & Penneys (as it used to be called), to Saks & Nordstroms, had a special window or room all its own (with a classy, discreet sign) that handled returns, exchanges & complaints. Next to that was the gift wrapping service & layaway department.

Remember the smell of fresh popcorn & candy when entering your neighborhood Sears?

Today a couple stores still offer a comfortable setting for such returns & exchanges (no candy or popcorn, though), but the big box & deep discount chains mostly just have a return counter (with a tacky “Line Starts Here” arrow hanging from the ceiling) and a  trail of customers (all “dressed up” in the latest Big Box fashion) that extends out the door.

So December’s AmperArt #55, Returns & Exchanges, repeats the trip to the same brick-&-mortar store (or the online equivalent) that November’s AmperArt #54 portrayed: Stop & Shop (in case you missed it, get trampled here). (more…)

#54 Stop & Shop

54 Stop & Shop

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This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
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AmperArt #54, Stop & Shop, is the latest in the AmperArt Advertising Slogan series. But far more important, it’s an honorable mention to all you die-hard Black Friday shoppers who probably are reading this on your brand new 90%-off tablet, smartphone, or even flat screen tv–after waiting in line all night, getting crushed by thousands of other bumbling idiots (I meant to say savvy shoppers, excuse me) & finally getting to the cash register with the very last product of its kind in the store. It’s probably cracked & missing a part or two–but who cares, it was on sale!

black fri mob

I should have titled this one Stop & Shop & Drop–as in drop everything the sale’s starting, or drop dead as you’re trampled by the mob.

As stated on dictionary.com:

When you stop to think about it, the use of black to describe a massive shopping day contradicts the history of other “black” days. In fact, Black Friday originally refered to Sept 24, 1869, when the collapse of a gold speculation plan took the stock market down. Black Monday is known as “the most notorious day in financial history (Oct 19, 1987.)”

So where did the lucrative connotation of Black Friday come from? Two possibilities exist:

In Philadelphia, where the sales originated, police deemed the retail event Black Friday because the amount of traffic was a black spot on their holiday weekend.

The more popular explanation has to do with the colors of ink accountants traditionally used for noting profit and loss. A company “in the red” is recording loss, red ink being the traditional color for noting negative finances. “In the black” means just the opposite; thus the notion that Black Friday will force those bookkeepers to put away the red ink, and get out the black.

(See full article at http://blog.dictionary.com/black-friday-monday/)

listen up!I may still have my old cell phone, bruised pots & pans, & a laptop that’s still running an OS from the beginning of time, but I also have no crushed toes, no broken ribs, & most of my sanity.

Enjoy your new toys, savvy shoppers.

Original size: 20×30 inches
Program: Photoshop
Font: Impact
Image of shopping cart: www.shelfsuppliers.net
Image of mob: www.hudsonhorizons.com/pub/images/blackfridaymobs.png


#52 Quality & Dependability

Like my Jeep!

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gallery quality print. See printing & framing ideas here.

AmperArt #52, QUALITY & DEPENDABILITY, is from the AmperArt Advertising Slogan series. It’s a term that used to be more prevalent, decades before today’s Cheap & Disposable merchandise. Other words that come to mind are: solid, reliable, unconditionally guaranteed (not just a limited warranty) & service with a smile.


listen up!I remember when products were made with quality & they were truly dependable. Not so much anymore (except for Jeeps & iPhones & OXO*). But I am very glad that I have friends who fit the description of QUALITY & DEPENDABILITY. My family & friends are of the highest integrity—honest, genuine, sincere—& they are very dependable—from helping out in a pinch to being on time. Unlike most of today’s products, my friends are not disposable!

*My love affair with OXO

(as in hugs & kisses, although that’s not what the name was intended to imply)

OXO is an outstanding company, truly the definition of QUALITY & DEPENDABILITY. I love the visual & comfortable styling of their products (which is mostly kitchenware), the carefully R&D’d usefulness (unlike some gadgets that are more difficult to use than if the task was rendered manually), & even the name & logo. Okay, very much the name & logo, even though I’m not a fan of red.

Their absolutely no-questions-asked guarNow I even enjoy doing my dishes!antee was put to the test recently when my OXO soap-dispensing dish brush broke (quite surprisingly—although I use it constantly as it even turns washing dishes into a likeable task). In searching for the instructions to get a replacement, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting several pages on the OXO website, as each one introduced me to another amazing facet of their company: the origin of the name; how each product is developed; and the personalities & hobbies of their employees. One of those wonderful employees, a cheerful woman by the name of Brooke, answered my questions about the broken brush & she struck up a conversation as if we were old friends.

“Would you like the same model or the newer model with added features?” (Newer, of course—& I do like the added features, including the fact that it’s completely black, no red, not even the logo.) She asked if I could send a photo of the broken part—but it’s okay if I couldn’t. (I did.) She said they’ll send a replacement out immediately. (They did. Immediately.)

Brooke even subscribed to my personal design project (which you’re reading now), AmperArt.com, which really showed me how kind & considerate the Oxonians are (their term, not mine). Hey! “Kind & Considerate”…that’ll be a new AmperArt creation!

In case you’re wondering…no, this is not a sponsored endorsement. I simply love OXO! (They say it’s pronounced “ox-oh” but I prefer “o-x-o” and when I told Brooke why, she even noted my reason.) Someday I’ll write an amazing testimonial about my ’96 Jeep which just won’t quit, or Apple, which is ahead of any other device by eons.

You will probably enjoy the OXO website (oxo.com), especially the about page for some interesting facts & figures. Further down the page, you’ll experience a refreshingly human experience as you learn about the employees’ favorite hobbies, pets, languages & inventive uses for their products (use the spaghetti strainer as a backscratcher). If you want a personal review of my OXO experience, just email me, or read about my favorite dishwashing tool, even more than the automatic dishwasher, here.

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Original size: 20×30 inches
Program: InDesign
Fonts: Copperplate, Industria, English Script (ampersand)
Inspiration: Maytag washing machines, Craftsman tools, Jeeps—all from the 1950s & 60s