In My Own Backyard

This won’t come as much of a surprise, but my favorite part of EPCOT is the American Pavilion. I especially like the hall of flags with historical American flags. A couple of years ago, I had a flagpole installed in the yard. I think the idea terrified my landscape designer who repeatedly suggested moving it to the side. But a flagpole needs to be dead center on the lawn. My office has given me flags as gifts and I rotate them. I love the Gadsden flag (the yellow Don’t Tread on Me flag), but I can’t fly it any more. Since its been appropriated for current political issues, I’d rather not use it now.

This gave me a good reason to buy some new flags. The Commodore Perry “Don’t Give Up the Ship” flag has wonderful typography. Of course, everyone should have a Betsy Ross 13 star flag, and I needed the Culpeper Minute Men flag as many relatives served under it. I’m desperate for a 48 star flag. Not because I hate Hawaii and Alaska, but because the stars fit so neatly in rows. My next step is to buy some nautical flags and spell out dirty words.

The American Experience in Living Color


When I’m asked, “if you weren’t a designer, what would you do?” I answer, “I would work on the Disneyland Railroad, or I’d study American history.” The Disneyland Railroad obsession is another post, this one is about the title sequence for the WGBH program, American Experience. For me, American history is a remarkable subject. Don’t worry; I won’t turn this into a “Salute to America” blog, yet. Perhaps because so many members of my family were involved in this history since Jamestown and Plymouth, it is alive to me.

The title sequence for American Experience, designed by Alison Kennedy and Chris Pullman, tells a rich history with success, failure, justice, and injustice. It does this poignantly and smoothly. There is a clear subtext that this is all of our history, whether you come from a family that arrived on the Mayflower or arrived at LAX yesterday. So much could have gone wrong with this title sequence. It could have been a sequence of images cataloguing each racial and socio-economic group. It could have fallen into the sappy and nostalgic. However, it doesn’t.  The montage shows us a rich and diverse nation made stronger by our differences, and our shared idea and vision. It does this beautifully, and is about our feelings, not just events.