Nascar Nation: Branding the American Landscape
The art of graphic communication has played a significant role in shaping the cultural landscape of the urban environment. In particular, corporations, in their rush to fill every last surface and unclaimed airwave, have turned our environment into relentless advertising space. The public may take advantage of sporting events, concerts, museum exhibits, theater experiences — practically any form of entertainment or public activity in the urban landscape — but must understand that it is being taken advantage of as well. The constant exposure to logos, signs, bulletins, brochures, even the names of the events and venues themselves must begin to affect the psyche and behavior of the audience members. Or does it? Is this practice something we merely accept as a necessary cost of our entertainment pursuits? Is it something that has deeper-reaching effects on the subconscious of the public, defining our values and shaping our culture? The author explores the invasion of corporate branding into our environment by proposing a potentially controversial scenario. Taking the practice to a new extreme by infusing capitalist concerns into formerly unadulterated areas ultimately confronts the audience with the key question, “How far is too far?” The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not the public finds this treatment of its culture and landscape inappropriate, and, if so, where a line should be drawn and how it can be enforced.
Keywords: Graphic Design, Branding, Logos, Ethics, Culture, Corporate Sponsorship
Prof. Rebecca Davis-Kelly
Assistant Professor, College of Architecture, Art and Design