Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sorry, But It's Time for More Creepy Graphics

While I freaked out at least one reader with my post on the Frankensteinian book jacket, I am compelled to write again about graphic design.

Working as I do at a feed store, I am up close and personal with many products, and get to witness vicariously the joys and sorrows that must be the daily fare of designers and advertisers. For example, one rubber toy YELLS that it is "THE WORLD'S BEST DOG TOY!" (It puts that claim in quotes. Maybe they are "air quotes." How am I to know?) But when I first noticed that string of words I thought, "Huh. I thought THE WORLD'S BEST DOG TOY! was a half-rotted duck rolled in cat poop and buried under a pile of sticks."

Here's the latest product to catch my eye:

My dog--according to this image--will upon receiving this toy become irate/evil (note the eyebrows), take a bunch of meth (note the eyeballs), and slaver after my blood (note the teeth). Not only that, but my dog will ENJOY it (note the self-satisfied grin-like expression).

How, oh how, is this supposed to sell dog toys? Because I don't know about you, but living with an animal descended from wolves, an animal that has a full jaw of sharp teeth and the instincts of a predator, would be frightening enough. I would give my dog toys to soothe it and make it forget that I am weaker and really should be a prey species and have separated it from its kind and forced it to be my entertainment slave. I would not give the dog toys that render it feral and make me have to curl in a ball and try to protect my soft organs.

However, I don't own a dog. I have cats. Which, while always on the verge of ripping open my arm, are rather small and easily-managed. Maybe dog owners like to live in fear. Maybe dog owners want their pets--oops, excuse me, companion animals--to transmogrify and at the same time anthropomorphose into Jack the Ripper.

I guess we all like to live on the edge somehow. Therefore:

Dear Dog Owners (or Friends of Companion Animals if you prefer),

I have enclosed for your enjoyment a dog toy. For your dog. When you give this toy to your dog, you will need to run As Fast as Humanly Possible to your specially-designed anti-wolf/freakish-Jack-the-Ripper-Sweeney-Todd-Ted-Bundy- chimera panic room (not that it'll help, since your dog can run faster).

Or you must Resign Yourself to Fate.

Either way, it'll be good for you! Exercise! Adrenaline! Excitement! Living-on-the-Edge!

We hope you tell your friends about this marvelous opportunity.

Yours Truly,
The World's Most Ill-Conceived Dog Toy Company

Friday, December 05, 2008


This town has strange zoning laws, or maybe a strange lack of zoning laws. The result is neighborhoods with houses, businesses, and light industry all together. In other words: paradise.