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The United Corporations of America

Posted by Kevin Hartnett  July 2, 2013 09:00 AM

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At a glance it's just eye candy: Steve Lovelace of Dallas has created a map of the United States, where each state is filled with the logo of a corporation that originated there. Gillette for Massachusetts, Anheuser-Busch for Missouri, Apple for California, L.L. Bean for Maine.

On his website Lovelace acknowledges that his choices are subjective, based on his judgment about which well-known corporations best represent the states they originated in, rather than objective criteria like choosing state's biggest employer or most valuable company. Some of his choices were a given (Starbucks for Washington, General Motors for Michigan), others were inspired (Pillsbury for Minnesota, Garmin for Kansas), while a few have a whiff of irony about them (Saks for Alabama, for instance).

Beyond the particular pairings, though, Lovelace's map leaves a couple of interesting, countervailing impressions. There's more than a hint of dystopia to his scheme- similar to the conceit David Foster Wallace used for calendar years in "Infinite Jest"-where each state is "brought to you" by a famous corporation. On the flip side, though, the map also conveys some of the irrational local pride we tend to feel for homegrown success stories, even if from a more objective perspective you'd think Ohioans wouldn't want to tout their association with Wendy's.

US logos.jpeg

H/T Design Taxi.

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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