Donald T Sterling Graphic Design Foundation - a full page ad in the los angeles time is a terrible thing to waste

Donald T. Sterling graphic Design Foundation

False Alarm -- on February 19, 2009, we very tentatively declared victory over Donald T. Sterling Corporation and their ugly ads in the Los Angeles Times. We hadn't spotted an ad for weeks, but then, they started creeping back until Sunday March 15 we were again pounded relentlessly in multiple sections by the horrible ads. Thanks to everyone who emailed and commented. I have to admit that in some cases the ads are looking a little better. But other atrocities are also being committed. Read on about our Foundation and you can comment here on the blog post...

Donald T. Sterling is a multi-billion dollar real estate mogul and the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. He is an extremely wealthy man who controls large swaths of Los Angeles and, perhaps, does not know how his smallest decisions affect millions of people. I call on your support to help right an ongoing atrocity.

The Donald T. Sterling Corporation purchases takes advantage of millions of dollars worth of full-page ads in the Los Angeles Times. These ads appear throughout the publication and can pop-up anywhere unexpectedly.

fig. 1

Here's the problem: The ads don't follow even the most basic principles of graphic design. They blend a hodgepodge of un-related type-faces. The margins are reduced to an 1/8 of an inch, surrounded by clunky borders. The width of the type is stretched and squeezed to fit. The space is cluttered with very large type, leaving no room for the eye to rest and making it hard to read or scan the page. Basically, the ads are painful to see.

This is not meant as an indictment of Mr. Sterling's secretary, nephew, intern or whoever produces these ads. They're doing the best they can without professional design software or training. But just placing one of these ads in the Times costs more than my annual salary. Donald T. Sterling Corporation can certainly afford to hire a professional to design them.

fig. 2

Now, I recognize that butt-ugly has become the Sterling Corp's brand identity, and it would be a challenge to update the look while maintaining brand recognition. But this is surmountable, and the benefits are obvious.

Consider it an act of charity bestowed on all Angelinos. City beautification. Maybe nice looking ads would even reflect well on the company. And frankly it is a safety issue. I came across a two-page spread one Sunday and snarfed hot coffee.

Did I mention these are FULL-PAGE ADS! They are HUGE. The fine print is in 12-point type!

I'm not asking The Donald T. Sterling Corporation to hire me to do the work (though it would be a sweet job). Just hire someone, anyone with a year or two of design training and a thimble-full of taste.

fig. 3

How You Can Help: Please join us in asking Donald T. Sterling to use a modicum of taste and hire a designer to do his ads.

  • Sign our petition.
  • Boycott the Clippers.
  • Design Professor? Have your class critique the ad and send it to DTS Corporation.
  • DON'T REDESIGN THE AD ON SPEC. I know, it is tempting to do it for free just to help humanity. But they can clearly afford to pay someone and a good designer can use the work.
  • Tell others about this site. Feel free to place this badge on your website:
    Stop The Ugly Ads -- The Donald T. Sterling Graphic Design Foundation
  • Tell us what you think! Leave a message on the blog.
  • Email the LA Times and Donald T. Sterling Corporation and ask them to stop the ugly ads.

UPDATE: Recently a newly designed ad appeared with all kinds of dark blues and gradients. It even had margins! And a nasty gold logo. It was still pretty ugly, but it was different. And then, just as it looked like we might be making progress, another even uglier ad appeared on a subsequent page. Oh well...

Also, sources (and by sources I mean, more than one person who anonymously posted a blog comment) have informed us that Sterling and company don't pay for their ads. They get the ads as trade for LA Times sponsorship at Clippers events. I guess this means that the Times has no control over the ads and DTS Corporation just doesn't respect that they are worth millions. We suggest that the Times make their banners at Clippers games into eyesores as leverage....