Reviewing the materials on design helped me understand a lot about what goes into creating appealing advertisements. I had noticed some of the film poster tropes that were described in the Vanity Fair video, but the presenter’s breakdown of each genre really helped me understand them better, and the examples shown did a good job of demonstrating how to make a poster that effectively communicates the tone of a film. The Vox video was also great because it provided an incredibly in depth look into how something with good design is made. That video tied in to a lot of what the semantics portion of The Vignelli Canon by Massimo Vignelli. In order for design to be effective, it needs to have a clear understanding of the material it is working with.

I think that semantics is an element that a lot of modern commercials lack. I am not sure if anyone else feels this way, but a lot of the commercials I see today are incredibly bland and most of them don’t even seem to have an evocative purpose. This is a trend that I specifically see in car commercials. Almost every car commercial feels identical, with the same shots and voice over. The only car commercials that feel distinct to me are Subaru because their emphasis on family is distinctly different from the emphasis on “powerful, fast and new” that plague other commercials.

This issue also creates this weird phenomena where a lot of the best designed commercials and advertising I have seen are in narrative drama. Moments like the Kodak pitch from Mad Men, the Secretariat ad campaign from Bojack Horseman, and Jimmy’s Darvis and Main commercial in Better Call Saul are prime examples (I know the Carousel existed before Mad Men, but the pitch is still a masterpiece of writing). I think this happens because all of these ideas were designed by storytellers. Since all of these ads have to be both an advertisement and part of a larger story, I think the writers are forced to think more carefully about the semantics of their subject in order to make their ad more resonant with the audience.