The Fourth Wall

10.29.08 Chucks Rock

File this post under Great design never goes out of style, but more importantly, under How a seemingly unrelated object from the world we live in makes its way into our professional design lives. A perfect example of how cultural phenomena in sports, fashion, music and yes, even graphic design, can converge in an effective and meaningful way.

But first, some back story. Waaaay back.

The history of the shoe pictured above (my red hightops) is a history of 20th century America; too long to document in this post.

Briefly, Converse rubber-soled All-Stars basketball shoe was first produced in 1917 and quickly made famous by the brand’s namesake, Hoosier player Charles Taylor who became the shoe’s best salesman/evangelist. Other highlights on the shoe’s resumé include: 1939 | The fist NCAA championship basketball tournament was held. Both teams wore Converse All Stars, 1950’s | The shoe becomes popular with rockabilly fans and other music subculture types, 1970’s | The Ramones popularize the shoe for punk rockers and teenage girls wear them in high school hallways all over America (back then mine cost under $20 and my daughter Molly age 10 just bought her first pair), 1990’s | Another music-related resurgence of the retro style within Seattle’s grunge culture and, 2000’s | Spotted on fashion models, hipsters, in music videos, and all over the streets of most major cities worldwide. You just can’t keep this shoe down!

So. When we located the image pictured left for a Friends of the Library membership development brochure design, I rewrote the publication’s title in order to employ the image most effectively. As can happen, the combination of a great image and a great headline is often too tempting to resist. This became the winning comp in the series.

I’m happy to announce that the brochure delivered yesterday and they are gorgeous. From the client: “Our brochures are phenomenal, and I mean phenomenal! From me: YAY!!!! And, HOW FUN!

While I may always favor some version of the classic black and white…

I will also occasionally fall hard for something as utterly silly as those pictured above. I love ‘em but something tells me that glittery unicorns is not quite what hoops-star Charles Taylor had in mind back in 1917. Do you have a favorite pair of Chucks? Send us a photo and we’ll do a recap of this post.

Want to join the club? Visit zappos.com to find pages and pages of styles in many fabrics, colors, and prints, including collaborations with major designers such as Ed Hardy and John Varvatos. Jodi’s shopping tip for you women out there… raid the kids department for $AVING$.

One Response to “Chucks Rock”

  1. Julie Atkins Says:

    Love this bit about the shoes – Thanx for the history and keep it comin!

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