Last Friday, as I was desperately trying to escape another brutal NYC heat wave (and trying to avoid my 5th floor walk-up at any cost) I found myself outside The Museum of Modern Art mostly for solace in their perfectly-tempered-central-air-conditioned galleries.
Imagine my surprise when completely by chance, I stumbled upon Fluxus artist, George Maciunasâ, One Year installation.
As a person who has a love (err obsession) of all brands â I was moved by Maciunasâ humble and simplistic approach in capturing a year in the life of these brands in such a beautifully creative way. As branders, we often find ourselves entrenched in a daily battle of defending our beloved brands, so for Maciunas to perfectly bring these brands their deserved honor, was beyond glorifying.
The installation itself was Maciunasâ One Year endeavor from 1973 â 1974 that displays the empty containers and packaging of various food and household products that Maciunas consumed over the course of a year.
Not only does the exhibit provide an intense look into the monotonous daily life of Maciunas, but it also takes the visitor back in time, to the consumer landscape in America of the 1970s.
My immediate reaction to One Year, (besides wondering âwhat Maciunas was doing with all that McCormickâs vanillaâ, and âboy did he go through a ton of Tungsram light bulbsâ) was this snapshot of time where not only does life seem simpler, but brands were gloriously simple, to the point they literally shelf-pop you in the face. From the bright, burst of primary colors to the bold, graphic typestyles â I was immediately transported to a time I had not had the pleasure of experiencing until now.
Now I know the bulging aisle at my corner bodega is a far cry from the pristine Instruction Lab at MoMA â but to me, these empty containers were full of confidence and bravado. Fast-forward some 35 years later, and our jobs as branders are tested more than ever to create something unique in a sea of more times than not, over-stocked shelves for an over-stimulated consumer.
If an average shopper really only takes 5 seconds or less to make a decision at shelf, it brings me to wonder, how as brand designers, can we effectively get our consumer to slow down, and give our brands the attention they deserve?
One Year is on exhibit for the first time at MoMA as part of âContemporary Art from the Collectionâ
Samantha Schroeder, Design Management