“Unique New York” is not just a mantra that performers use for vocal warm-ups sometimes; it’s also an accurate descriptor. Part of what makes the city so special is that there are so many distinct neighborhoods in such close proximity. On one very long stroll you could encounter the shabby chic minimalism of the Lower East Side, the Broadway lights of Times Square (at your own peril), the stately marble of Museum Row, and the fratboy paradise of Murray Hill (again, at your own peril.) However, one thing that’s becoming increasingly common about the city is an abundance of chain brands–a fact that has not escaped James Campbell Taylor.
The British designer recently created a visual commentary on New York’s slow dissolve into a commercial hub like any other with a project called City In Chains. Taylor’s self-established graphic design firm, Pennarello, mashes up the names of the city’s most celebrated areas with the logos of prominent chain brands. The folks who frequent Gramercy would probably chafe at the Subway connection, and Lower East Side habitués are probably at this moment filing a class action lawsuit against any association with The Gap. It’s enough to make NYC residents realize that these ubiquitous chains are kind of like actual chains, keeping the city’s uniqueness at bay.
Have a closer look at the logos in the slides above.