What: Product panel and logo design
For: Linn 9000 Integrated Digital Drums/Midi Keyboard Recorder
Client: Linn Electronics
It's not my fault
The Linn 9000 was the last product I worked on for Linn Electronics, consulting on the overall appearance design of the 9000 and designing its logo and front panel nomenclature. It came out nicely, I thought, though the final version did not use my first preference for color scheme. I had proposed a complete departure from the typical black/beige rut such products were then in. I had proposed an all-white body with translucent white “end bells” (sides to the far left and right). I had further suggested low power lighting inside so that the product would literally glow. It was just too radical, I suppose. It anticipated by twenty years the white iMacs, iBooks, and iPods by designer Jonathan Ive for Apple.
I resigned the Linn account before doing any ads for the 9000. I had been responsible for all previous advertising at Linn, working with Roger Linn personally. But in October 1984 I resigned the account over creative differences with new people that had been brought in. They are responsible for the ads you see below. And I think these ads speak volumes for why I should have creative differences with their creators.
Why are these ads even here? Sour grapes, maybe, but these ads also illustrate many of the points I am trying to make in these pages.
In discarding my legacy at Linn, most of my advertising
principles were discarded as well. And so we see long lines of
text, faddish typestyles, clunky text boxes, and pointless ’80s
“litter.” (We had used such litter earlier at Linn on a t-shirt,
but on an ad for a $5000 product? I don’t think so.)
The first ad at least shows the product nice and
large, but by the second ad (August 1985), even that remnant of
my influence was gone. The pointless decorations seem to have taken
over and are apparently more important than the
product itself. As to the text of these ads, if
breast-beating and braggadocio were
effective ways to reach consumers, these ads would have surely
succeeded. Unfortunately, they aren’t. Even though
by all accounts the Linn 9000 was a marvelous machine, its
inept advertising failed to bring in the orders and within months
Linn Electronics was no more.