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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Labels for Education from Mirror Earth

Well, I gave 'em fair notice. I gave 'em a chance. It's been two weeks, and it hasn't been fixed. So it's time to point it out to the rest of the world.

Two weeks ago I spotted this Labels for Education flyer in the Sunday papers. If you're unfamiliar with the concept, it involves convincing people to buy specific brands of products and then saving selected portions of the packaging. Collect enough of these tokens (the program used to be called "Box Tops for Education," unless that's a competing program) and maybe the corporations in charge will see fit to present your underfunded school with some supplies. Does any other educational system in any other developed nation in the world have anything like this going on?

Anyway, I saw this and my eye was immediately drawn to a part of it. See, I love globes. Always have. I've always been fascinated by the shape of the world, and specifically by the three-dimensional representation of it. Maps are fine, but to really understand how the planet is laid out, you need a globe.  I wondered what part of the world the folks in their Marketing department chose to use in their art. So I took a close look at it...


...and noticed...


...well...

OK. I need to step back for a second here. I learned when I first floated this on Facebook that not everyone is as well-versed on basic geography as I would like. Which is a problem.

She tried to warn us.

If you don't get it immediately, I'll explain. That's the West coast of North and South America on the left, with the Pacific Ocean on the right. But it's flipped left-right. This is a mirror-image of the globe. This is not how the Earth is shaped!

Now, why would someone do that? After working for years in the DVD industry, I can hazard a guess: Someone in the Marketing department looked at a photo of the globe that was to be used on the Labels for Education promotional art and said "That would look better if that black thing were on the right instead of the left." So someone in the Graphic Arts department, someone whose job it is to do whatever Marketing tells them to do, obligingly flipped the image. And someone in Marketing saw it, wrote "APPROVED" and their initials on the proofs, and sent them to their manager, who rubber-stamped the project and sent it off to be distributed.

And so the mistake was made, and the art was sent out with the image of the globe reversed. Not just in one configuration or location, but over...


...and over...

From the Labels for Education Facebook page
...and over...

Later on the Facebook page
...and over...

From the Labels in Education official website

So, what's the harm? On one level, probably nothing. In case you haven't noticed, spelling doesn't count anymore. Details are dismissed by folks at all level as being, well, "details." (Back in my DVD Compression/Encoding/Authoring days I had a manager several levels above me dismiss concerns voiced by my department in the DVD as being about "details." I pointed out to him that details were what our department was all about - nine billion bits of data, one bit at a time.) Who other than me would notice a backwards globe as a design element in some promotional artwork?

But on another level it is very telling about the dedication to education, to getting it right, embodied by the Labels for Education program. And it doesn't speak well for them.

Maybe next time, they should hire Miss Teen South Carolina 2007 as a consultant.

3 comments:

Cheri Sundra said...

aHow do you even know for sure that the Earth is ROUND, Mr. Smarty Pants….Have YOU been to outer space?! ;-)


This is interesting...

But sadly, despite being a college graduate, I would not have noticed on my own….”U.S. Americans” are just getting dumber by the day….

hedera said...

Given that Miss Teen South Carolina can't construct a sentence, I question her value as a consultant. But we all know I'm a dinosaur.

Michelle Hryvnak Davies said...

I don't think I ever watched that Miss America thing before. Wow. I almost feel bad for her. Almost.