A 2008 advertisement from a Danish photography magazine caught my eye for several reasons. First of all, my interest in photography peaked my curiosity about SONY’s flagship 24.6 MP camera. The SONY A900 DSLR made its 2008 debut and sells (without a lens) for around $2700.
The beautiful bubble sculpture was the second thing I noticed in the ad. Does the large bubble hide the fact that the camera body comes without its lens or is the bubble a visual metaphor for a fisheye lens that one may purchase? The subtle rainbow palette of color is a contrast to the sophisticated black background and camera body. Rhythm and repetition of the bubbles’ shape, color, value, and volume, along with their black background, create unity in the Danish ad. The outline of the lens sphere that is highlighted with hues of lightwave interference patterns gives the eye a place to rest—gives the observer time to notice the camera details—time to see the brand name.
The last feature of the magazine advertisement that captured my attention was the flow of type. I don’t need to read Danish text in order to see that all of the type is white except for the camera’s alpha symbol and that the only bold word in all capital characters is “SONY.” The camera features are typographically understated except for the phrase, “Det nye α900″…the new alpha 900.
Visually, a path of bubbles leads the viewer’s eye to the lens and then to the focal point, the brand name pinnacle. The outer contours of the camera body are rectilinear and more geometric than organic; that’s a sharp contrast to the calmer spherical foreground shapes. On the left side of the advertisement, the camera body has a texture that is rougher than that of the smooth bubbles. The only color on the camera is the red alpha symbol and a metering light reflection that has a similar red hue. The background provides the negative space that balances the ad.
The photographer seems to have captured a moment in time. Our experience tells us that the bubbles, in an instant, may thin and burst. A mood of expectation and excitement is conveyed—even in the understated calmness of the classic black sophistication. My opinion is that the Danish camera advertisement is thoughtfully constructed; it is beautiful and, with it’s subject, imagery, typography, demonstration of design principles, and incorporation of design elements, conveys a clear message to the viewer, “Buy SONY; try the new α900!”
As an after thought, if you would like to know why the bubbles have color, there’s an explanation at bubbles.org.