Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Wine and Civic Pride

Trader Joe's theme for this year has been Local Civic Pride, as By-Product readers may remember. All our larger signs, according to the policy, must have some local connection. This piece, which is unfinished, is part of a big mural-sized set which advertises Trader Joe's famous house wine, "Charles Shaw," priced at $3.29 a bottle. It's not "Two-Buck Chuck" any more. But local folks still buy plenty of it. 

The question is, how do you turn a quiet suburb into a civic destination, and what image would you use for it? Falls Church, to admit it, is not an action place. The leadership of this city paid a lot of money for a "branding" campaign which included a logo designed by an expensive graphic design firm. This logo is the "Little City" logo, which is still featured on the city website. Falls Church isn't going to be a little city much longer, as major building projects are quickly turning its downtown into a multi-use urban concoction such as "Reston Town Center."

The "Little City" logo, with its squirmy bouncy letters and multiple colors, wasn't well received by some of the local artistic community. However, no one has come up with anything better, so there it is. This wine ad sign depicts an authentic Falls Church lamppost with an authentic "Little City" logo and banner. The rest of the board evokes a summer night with patriotic fireworks. It's not finished because I will be placing a red banner overlay which says, "Falls Church's Favorite Wine." We have to work hard to get something interesting out of the Little City. Meanwhile, I heard at a local outdoor concert that one of the city officials complained about our Trader Joe's tributes to Falls Church and depictions of local interests. She said that our store wasn't really in Falls Church, so we were usurping the Little City. Yes, technically our store is in Fairfax County, not Falls Church proper. I wonder whether they will complain even more about our use of the Little City logo to sell wine.

"Drink in the Little City" is acrylic on Masonite, 4 feet by 3 feet, July 2013. Clouds added in Photoshop. A virtual sip of Charles Shaw wine for anyone who has read this entire posting and remained awake.

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