Branding An Environment- Mapping the Contagiousness of an Aesthetic Idea


Chicago Artist Nick (Sick) Fisher has branded the fronts, sides, and interiors of many local Chicago businesses with his familiar style. The campaign has spread largely by word of mouth. Using color, the map on the left illustrates the passage of time and how Nick's work has expanded throughout Chicago--it may take several months for one business owner to decide to incorporate a mural or a piece of art into their business having seen it across the street or around the neighborhood. We are studying these patterns to identify how long it takes for an idea, such as Nick's work (a brand), to become contagious.

I saw in his work the same colors schemes and patterns I once saw in my childhood NES games. Compelling branding often sneaks up on you, it makes you question how long it's been there, because it contains something familiar or comforting. The slide in the middle compares these two aesthetics.  The four maps (Right) examine exactly who this aesthetic is serving and how it might be providing identity for these areas.

What we can Learn

1.  Seen in figure 3 below the majority of work happens in lower-socioeconomic, racially diverse, dense, areas, on the outskirts of violent crime. 

2. Many conclusions can be drawn from these maps, one in particular is the need to understand the benefits communities like these produce. We can see these communities are high in identity, mobile, ready, and hard working, striving to give others opportunities to achieve. These are areas that could benefit from government policy and community activism designed to keep intrinsic reward in place as well as provide those at risk of displacement from gentrification with strategies to maintain sustainable meaningful lives in the community. 

One Picture Every Night in October at Eleven

How might we design buildings around people's habits and schedules to make them more efficient from energy and social standpoints?  

One picture of every night at eleven for twenty days.

Games Play Games

Lego Mindstorms programmed to play level one Mario on NES.  Watching the robot's simplistic play exposes how different our own engagement with the game is.