MPLS / Northern Overground Economy

Illuminating local flyers, poster, and phone cards.

Above: Minneapolis, Minnesota. Local photocopy flyer from a barber on Nicollet Avenue (locally pronunciation: Nikel-et). It offers help creating totally legal identification cards for Spanish speaking clients.

So I am rrridin down the Niko-lay, thinking bout the Nikel-et.

Above: Another small flyer. Visual OMG Quotient: 100%. A graphic assault,
with musical accompaniment. DJ Luis & Tony, los mejores!

Above: Lovely faded poster focusing on Vietnamese customers. As I am fond of saying, let go, and let type.

Above: From a local convenience store operated by Iraqi immigrants, a wall of international phone cards leading to all corners of the world. Each card targets a specific group with surprisingly general type and image strategies.

Above: The shop owner explained that his clients prefer the “nationally” themed cards (on the left are, apparently, competitive African themes, and on the right a few targeting Asian customers). Note the general use of English, save for, La Familia Aguilar!

Above: He explained further that his Latino clients seemed to enjoy slightly more saucy imagery. Each card has a standardized monetary value, so it is fascinating to examine how each tries to compete with the other for attention and eventual purchase.

A cavalcade of blunt international visual strategies! Para los Tigres del Norte!

It is nice to think of everyone calling friends and family everywhere. Have a look at these three examples by Karel Martens from the early 90′s.

I love my flat file, I love Karel Martens.

Above: Telephone calling cards from the early 90′s by Karel Martens for PTT, the numbers on the front were a substitution alphabet that spelled out the Dutch national anthem. A typically conceptual approach with similar national aspirations.

Paul Lippert* has said that the world essentially faces a conflict between societies with a high degree of tolerance for ambiguity, versus those with a low degree of tolerance. The surfaces discussed above also show clear evidence of this phenomena at a micro-economic, conceptual, and visual level.

Hup Karel! Hup lions, tigers, und más caliente!

* Seven Useful Concepts from and for Understanding Media, 2006. PDF available. Thanks to Mamzic for sharing this amazing article back then.

One Response to “MPLS / Northern Overground Economy”

i am in printing bussiness last 15years so iants to know about cards printing

shehzad added these words on Jul 02 09 at 7:41 AM

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