is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
It’s been interesting to me to see how startups have been advertising in the New York City subway in recent years. These ads from Casper are notable because of their genial illustration style. (As it happens, we recently bought a Casper mattress for a spare room in our house; the product does live up to the hype.)
These ads from StreetEasy also caught my eye. The particular illustration style they employ is not my exact taste, but I’m a fan of the fact that the company was willing to stray away from the antiseptic, vector-based illustration style that seems to be de rigueur for technology companies. Overall I think they’re great.
And then there are startups’ ads that are notable less for their aesthetic than for their attitude. I wrote very briefly about this brazenly obsequious advertisement for Uber back in February:
The basic worldview of that ad—that these customers are more important than the average person—shows up in advertising from other startups, too. Here’s one for TaskRabbit that I spotted recently; its message seems to be that cleaning is something that other people should do for you, so you can spend your time on more important things, like yoga:
The worst ad of this type that I think I’ve seen is from Seamless, which delivers restaurant take out. This particular billboard makes no bones about the idea that people who speak other languages—foreigners, basically—should really be doing the bidding of its privileged customers.+