Friday, July 3, 2009

NYTimes Advertisement & Tufte

Lately, advertisers have been trying to create innovative ways to engage audiences in their web banners. We see that with Pandora, the entire surrounding web space turns into advertiser art as campaigns becomes oftentimes interactive and interesting in an obtrusive but friendly way. The New York Times has also been a member of this group - creating web banners that break the boundaries of their boxes and spill out onto the page. As much as we don't like to be told what to like and what not to like, I've actually been taken in by some of these approaches - especially when done well and when the advertisers are contextually relevant (as my friend Aymar writes).

But today I encountered the counter opposite of the now expected glitzy, complex and overwhelming web add. Edward Tufte, a man who I highly respect and whose books I own, is having a National Tour about information and data presentation. I discovered this via an advertisement on the NYTimes homepage - an advertisement that resembled newspaper ads from the turn of the century (20th Century).

I frankly enjoy the very straight forwards typographical approach - I also found the advertisement extremely striking. The typography, while not too interesting (centered and kerned out a little), is very elegant. And despite there being a lot of information in the ad, I did not find it overwhelming. To see such a shift in a major advertisers methodology towards a very graphical, conservative and yet modern approach (in its minimalism), and, also shifting focus from being catchy to focusing on information and type, is very interesting. It makes me wonder if advertisers are going to start giving us some credit and not necessarily treat people like we need flashing lights and dumbed-down messaging in order to understand content.
Kudos NYTimes and Edward Tufte - keep it up!