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Ron Paul's "What If?" speech - Remastered

I came across this video via a Rachel Maddow post on Facebook. All politics aside – I find this video interesting. In an odd way. There is something just a little bit off with this video. Typographically, it’s a masterful design. The music adds an additional layer. The speech flows to match the ever-changing typographic design. But, there’s something here that bugs me and I can’t explain it just yet.

First off, let me give you some background information about this speech. It was given February 12, 2009 on the House Floor. The actual speech can be viewed on YouTube. As for this video, the font used is Bleeding Cowboys and the music used is Metallica’s “To Live Is To Die”.

I think I’m going to explain my immediate feelings about this video and then come back and add to this post… as I stated up front, I’m not sure how to explain what’s “off” to me yet. But in the interim I would love to hear some commentary. What do you think?

Let’s get started — As a fan of typography, this video caught my eye from the instant I clicked it on. It wasn’t the music or the speech that I was paying attention to, it was the black, white, and red type. Using a very ornate font and putting it through its paces. Using every angle. Smooth movement. Precise timing with the speech. I think I would have been totally satisfied with the typographic experience without the speech included. Just dancing type with a musical accompaniment. Oh, I think I’m hitting on something here… let me run this around in my head a bit more…

Added on top of this typographic ballet is the speech given by Ron Paul. I have no commentary to offer about its content and prefer to view the speech only as an integral part of a designed piece. Do you think the added typographic display makes it easier to understand the contents of this speech? I think I’m at a “which came first” moment. Did the speech inspire the type? Or, did the type inspire the inclusion of the speech? (Duh, I know the speech is the source for the words used, but perhaps any words would have worked as well for this typographic ballet.) When you are concentrating on the type does the content of the speech truly resonate? Do you get its full meaning? Are you able to walk away and remember the speech for its content? Right now, I’m thinking – no. I think this video works more as performance art than political ad.

In order for this video to be considered an ad it would have to be somewhat apparent who it was being marketed to. I find it difficult to come up with a singular target market that includes people who would be compelled to engage in the design, musical background, and of course, the message. Is it possible that a singular market exists for this video? More likely, the piece is an attempt to hit all the buttons at once. Something that rarely proves successful. And if it is not an ad at all then there is no concern for the message in and of itself. What matters then is the perfect balance of each design element. The result being a pleasing display of type as it dances across the screen aided by the tempo of a musical layer. If you happen to engage in parts of the message as well, that is a bonus. I would then say the main focus is to catch your attention and provoke a conversation afterwards. Just as I’m doing here…

My apologies as this is not a typical post. A bit rambling perhaps. I did warn you upfront that I have not formed my thoughts fully. I rarely come across examples like this video and would love to hear some feedback. What do you think?

I continue to be impressed with the willingness of the design community to share information. Links, tutorials, books, samples, templates, fonts – you name it and it can be found online. I’d like to contribute to this stash of information by making my bookmarks available to anyone who browses my blog.

Delicious offers bookmarks collected by its members. The range of interests are vast. For me, you will find that my bookmarks coincide with my interest in graphic design, advertising, web design, marketing, industrial design, and the range of software used in those pursuits.

Please, feel free to browse the bookmarks. You just might find the information you need. I would also like to encourage you to add to my bookmark list via email, posting to my blog, or sharing via your delicious account.

The best thing about delicious bookmarks is that they are always available to you as long as you have access to a computer with an internet connection. I started using delicious because I wanted to have my bookmarks available to me wherever I was and on whichever computer I might be working on at the time.

Give a try. Browse my bookmarks. I hope you find something of interest. Maybe you’ll find some answers for things that have you stumped. Enjoy!

A continuing fascination of mine is how we perceive what we see. The biology of it all amazes me. A recent article by Steven Bradley (via vanseodesign), explains the process in a way that is easily understood. He recommends the book, “Visual Language For Designers” by Connie Malamed.

His article has definitely sparked my interest. I plan on reading the book and will let you know what I’ve learned. In the meantime I thought I’d pass along this book suggestion and the related article.

We communicate on so many levels. Some obvious, some inherent without notice. Communicating via the deliberate use of design is a language unto itself. It is a universal language that sparks an emotional connection between the source and its audience. The impact of the message can vary based on the methods used to deliver it and the makeup of the target market. A better understanding of how we communicate visually, verbally, by sound and touch can empower a designer with the ability to tailor a message utilizing the best media with a balance between the stimuli that attract an audience.

I’ve written previously about how each of us favors one sense over another, “How Do You Communicate? Sight. Sound. Touch,” To add to this understanding of how we communicate it is important to understand how to balance visual and verbal communication. Leaning too heavily toward one or the other can hamper comprehension. A recent article by Steven Bradley, “Do You Know When To Communicate Verbally And When To Communicate Visually?,”, breaks down the differences between verbal and visual communication.

As a designer I recognize the importance of understanding how humans communicate with one another. In order to connect to a wider audience it is important to develop the capacity to know when you have achieved a balance between verbal and visual and how the senses receive and process the media you choose to use.

Do you ever have difficulty getting your point across? Have you ever received the following responses to your attempt to communicate? “I see what you’re saying…” “I get it, loud and clear…” “What a touching story…” We all receive information through a dominant sense.

Some of us are more receptive to visual stimulation. Communication would be most effective using visual media – color, photos, video, and movement. Then there are those who receive information through sound. They listen with focus and can perceive every inflection in a voice. It’s imperative that the sound of your presentation match the information you wish to pass along. And finally there are people who feel what you’re trying to communicate. They internalize information and translate it into an emotion. For them a rich dialogue filled with descriptions that translate emotion would work best.

It might seem that knowing this would make your job more difficult. Actually it’s to your advantage to recognize that you need to communicate on multiple levels through multiple media. Without this knowledge you could easily be cutting out an important sector of your market. An avoidable disconnect simply because you haven’t supplied the proper medium of communication. Your message won’t be effective if it can’t be seen, heard, or felt.

When developing a marketing plan, an advertising campaign, collateral materials, or your brand’s image it’s imperative that you incorporate all of the senses. Utilize the media that’s available to you to reach out to everyone. There is no set rule to follow. You will need to review the way you currently approach your market and critique the way you communicate. Is there something for everybody?

By carefully constructing your communication to be seen, heard, and felt you will reach every sense with clarity and comprehension. A sight oriented ad will imprint vivid images with your corresponding message. A well spoken presentation with the correct inflection and tone will influence the sound dominant person. An emotionally rich and descriptive ad, brochure, or commercial allows someone to feel your message. All senses will be receptive and the dominant sense will aid in comprehension and retention. The outcome should be more successful communication that requires less explanation and is processed and retained with greater impact.

I ask you now to think about this… See if you get it. Do you hear what I’m saying? Do you feel how important this can be when communicating with your target market?