Branding Forever

One of the most successful branding campaigns, ever, was linking electric utility companies to Thomas Edison’s name. It’s as if we called all automobiles “Fords.” Edison did not invent electric light or power generation, although he definitely improved on what was available before he started. He was on the wrong side of the DC versus …

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Looking Around

On more than one occasion, I’ve happened upon a building I find interesting while wandering around somewhere only to later find out that it is famous, or designed by a famous architect, or in some way previously known but not to me. The photo above shows a good example: 1230 Griswold Avenue in Detroit, AKA …

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Speaking Not As A Former Customer

A long time ago, I had a very small savings account at the Dime Savings Bank in Queens. The building above was the headquarters of the Dime Savings Bank in Detroit, which was apparently an unrelated business. I guess people used to think about saving dimes a lot. In any case, this was a building …

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Preservation and Urbanism

Sometimes it’s easier to see things when you’re unfamiliar with the terrain. I felt like there were a lot of plain lessons about the way cities work visible in downtown Detroit, not necessarily because those issues only exist there but because I don’t know the individual buildings and streets, so I could focus easily on …

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Always Small, Maybe Doomed

As I was heading to dinner Detroit last Tuesday, I happen to pass an interesting building. My first thought was that it was the entrance to a demolished theater. It’s a little hard to tell from my photo, but that building is surrounded by a large empty lot. A lot of old theaters have “neck” buildings, …

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