Media, Symbols, Images, and Design

What's in Symbols and a Brand?

One word!

Take four to five minutes and brainstorm all the thoughts and images you have after you read the word below -


Yes that's the word so start recording.

What about phrases?

Advertising and Commercialism started to help people and companies to make their goods known to others so they could sell them and make a profit.

Let's look at some quotes over the years about advertising.

So what are your thoughts about advertising, brands, and commercialism?

Everyone has been a target of advertisers since we were born, However, before computers, the intenet, algorithnms, and A.I. it was pretty easy to recognize ads and the purpose of their messages. Also adding to the complexity of advertising comes as brands grew from local to multinational and businesses increased the number of products they marketed under their brand.

Most media, even children's, exists for advertising. Miltinational corporations spend and make billions by target and seduce children for profit.Not just short term profit for the toy, but to build a lifetime of brand loyalty like fans for an major league team, a brand of breakfast food, condiments, music, entertainment, and as AI and algorithms collect a life time of data about us and is better able to undersand us, with software that can read our expressins and learn our feelings along with the data of what we have done it is better able to both influencce and change us as well as the brand to make us want what they can manipulate for us to want. Persuasive design.

Advertising is everywhere to generate profit. In our public spaces, road ways, National Parks, schools, sporting events, buildings named after sponsers, even in our private spaces, . The boundaries for marketing are difficult to know as it seems everyone is concerned on how to have public relations to increase their profit: public corporations, small businesses, private organizations, civic and governmental organizations, armed services, philathropic organizations, churches, synagogues, mosques, art galleries, museums, science centers, influencers, ...

We have combined entities whose goal is to generate profits with those whose goal is to promote the common good. We have clouded the line between entities that desire to provide for our needs by caring for us more than turning a profit and those who provide greeedy and want to profit no matter what the consequences on our health, education, and well being as a civil society.

This turns all people and organizations into brands, which are thought of as commodities, to be bought and sold. And leads to us thinking of them all as greedy and corrupt.

Ryan Kaji earned $29 million from YouTube as an influencer. No wonder so many young people aspire to be an influencer. Turns childhood into a marketplace.

And has to answer to little regulation. Since the 1980's deregulation of children's television has made it legal to create programs for the sole purpose of marketing to children.

Tech enabled marketing ... has been learning how to keep us glued to our devices and encourage others to do the same with likes and followers that create tribes that are dedicated to provide huge profits.

Profits are also boosted by virtual add ons, skins, pets, weapons, ... extending the haves and have nots to virtual worlds.

Ways of influence

Algorithms, machine learning algorithms, predictive algorithms, internet of things (IoT) add more devices to capture more data through data mining - to use in their alorithms, and user experience (UX) design to mold how the user interacts with device to increase usage, Persuasive design to invite users to initiate use or continue to use a product (stay on a site, click, like, pin, swipe, post, join, comment, subscribe, message, review, buy, ... ) Marriage of psychology and tech - variable reward schedule, advertising based on data collected form behaviors to discover traits to incourage use, nagware (upgrade from free to premium), push notifications (entertaining, friends involved, intersting teases, posts, alerts, rewards, points, prizes, praise, ...), infinite scroll, reducing friction, default settings, one click, ... buy yourself to happiness,

capitalism consumerism, materialism, surveillance capitalism, marketing to foment desire, exploit needs, desires, wants, buy coolness, one is never enough, everyone is a target, targets are essential for profit. is caring more about hings than people or sustainability of the Earth, judging others by their things,

It does affect our health ... obesity, eating disporders, precocious sexuality, youth violence, family stress, erosion of children's creative play, changing of values and attitudes, motivates us to act, make choices, gambling, dating, weight loss, vaping,

Marketing to children increases family stress, conflict, overspending, debt, as children nag to get what they have been shown or told is important for them to have. Nagging becomes more persistent as chldren get older. Tech blames parents for giving into their children and not being able to control them insted of accepting their greed and their ability of providingsuductive and addictive experiences as the problem. As they coin terms such as pester power, nag factor, and talk of how to get kids to request, whine, threaten, cry, shame, negotiate, bargain, as marketing even provides reasons to kids to use to ask for their product and make parents lives miserable until they give in. Especial those who are most stressed as research shows they are more likely to give in than those not stressed.

Free is not free. Apps that are free have advertisement which are over all are hit and miss, but it is the hits that make them costly like reflex buying at the supermarket. They also push upgrades to remove adds, provide better experiences, more status, and power which will be know by all gaming participatns dividing uses into have and have nots.

2015 Fairplay has incluenced Disney, NFL, Google, YouTube Kids and othe organizations in their marketing to children.

Disney, coca Cola, Pepsi, Nike, McDonalds, Taylor Swift, influencers ... market a specific product, but unboxing videos ... market the experience with the product being less of a consideration.

Robots and AI combine to convinve children that they are alive and blur the line between what is human. When children grow up with media characters as trustworthy intelligent partners. AI is bias as it uses biased information to create its intelligence. Continue discrimination (race, gender, cultural, slim bodies, certain kinds of hair, skin tones, ...)

Where do these ideas come from?

Maybe ... from the phrase - let the buyer beware.

Which comes from Latin Caveat emptor. translated means that an individual buys at their own risk.

Potential buyers are warned by the phrase to do their research (due diligence) and questions the seller. The seller isn't responsible for problems that the buyer encounters with the product after the sale.

When the objective is to sell for profit, status and power, then everyone is an object to be manipulated because they are choosing to be manipulated. Not that there children and others that may need to be protected from exploitation.

While these ideas are often recognized as applying to material goods the idea of brand has been extended from goods to the company that sells them, organisations, people, as politicians, media stars, influencers, and in anyway that can be beneficial or profitable.


Short intoductory Video on The Fundamental Elements of Design (2:43)

One song

If you haven't heard Kelly Clarkson sing Breakaway, then the saying goes...

You must be living under a rock... , but seriously if you haven't,

I bet your students have.

How might the use of this song and mass marketing be used for the benefit of education? ---




FedEx logo image

Have you seen this logo?

fed x logo

What do you notice about it?

Did you find an arrow?

What about two arrows?

What about Go?


Hint ...



Wendy logo

Have you seen this logo?

What do you notice about Wendy's shirt colar?

Did you find a word?

Why that word?


Hint ...



Here are some more to see if you recognize ...

Amazon logo Domino logo


SIgn Staples

Recognize this store?

Sign without words

Feeling of nostalge?

McDonalds art

What's the purpose of this art work on a wall inside McDonald's?


Political Logos

What ideas do the different shapes and images represent in each logo?

Republican National Convention 2020 logo


Democratic National Convention 2020 logo


Democratic National Convention 2020 logo


What were the graphic designers trying to communicate with this logo?

Lights Out Logo



What were the graphic designers trying to communicate with this logo?

Cactus bowl logo


Can you draw the logos for Volkswagen, Apple, Windows, and Nike?


Try reading the following paragraph ....

Believe it or not you can read it ... Just glance over it and words will pop!

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mni d Aoccdrnig to rscheearch taem at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn'! t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Such a cdonition is arppoiately cllaed Typoglycemia :)-


Amzanig huh? Yaeh and yuo awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt...


Thanks Kay!



If brains can interpret this,

then what messages are we receiving when we suddenly get the urge to ...

target logo


What are you thinking?
Do you know there are people that recognize this as a
symbol for the national chain
and don't even think of it as a target with a bulls eye.




Fed Ex hints ...

FedEx ® Hints:

fedx logo explanation

  1. Green - arrow,
  2. Orange - part of arrow,
  3. Yellow GO... okay the G is a bit of a stretch but who knows what the unconscious brain sees.


Wendy hint ...

Wendy hint

See mom?


Best buy sign


Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
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