Visual Language - Week 1 - Design Analysis

When this blog was first assigned, I was already leaning towards analyzing this particular design. But in my digging I could not help but decide to focus on this animated version, and as I will discuss, I think the motion actually further contributes to its success as an ad.

With this particular image there seems to be two main goals that guide its design. First, and most obviously, is to highlight the sneaker being advertised. And in the service of that, it seems many of the design decisions were also made to create a sense of unity in a design that is made up of so many individual, disparate parts.

While this may seem like a chaotic advertisement, it is actually structured on a fairly rigid grid, which is emphasized by the many rectangular icons and vertical lines which all center around or point to the product, which is dead center. It is also emphasized by the hierarchy of the sizes of different things in the image. The shoe is by far the largest thing in the advertisement, and all the other little images are around the same, smaller size, emphasizing their identical but less-significant importance. Even the motion of the animated icons points in the direction of it; both the cactus icon and the film strip in the bottom left have a scrolling effect that directs your eye directly to the sneaker.

This design does not have much in the way of text, and the retro nike logo is just two different forms of Futura font. But the choice of the font Chicago in the ‘computer windows’ is cool because it was the default font of Macintosh in the early 90’s and so it emphasizes the fact that this is a retro shoe design, one that initially was released in 1993. And while you can’t tell this from looking at this image, there were ads like this made for about 10 other shoes, and in each one the ‘computer window’ is styled as though from a computer that was in use at the time of that shoe’s initial release. I find that to be super fun and clever.

While the visual structure is obviously important, I think that it is the rigid color scheme that really makes this design feel coherent. The shoe is the product, and while there are many different icons and illustration styles present in this ad, they all rigidly follow the same colorway as the sneaker. Not only does this make it feel like a purposeful collection of images, but it also further highlights the shoe itself as the most important part of the whole collage. And focusing even further down, the use of bright green in the computer window around the heel of the shoe draws further focus to the airbag located there which is the main piece of sports tech in the design.