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A Higher Discussion of AT&T

Guest Mockutorial by Edward Alton


A white rotary phone, sitting alone on a clear lucite table in a yawning, Kubrick-like white interior, rings. From the right are heard shuffled footsteps as SAUL BASS approaches, wearing a terrycloth bathrobe and slippers. He places his hand on the receiver tentatively, lets another ring vibrate through his fingertips, and picks it up.

[Saul Bass] “Hello?”

[Paul Rand] “SAULLLLLL!!”

[SB] “Yes?”

[PR] “It’s RAND, baby!”

[SB] (Pauses) “Are you?—is this the… Rand Corporation?”

[PR] “No man, PAUL Rand!”

[SB] “Oh, right. Paul Rand. Uh… Hello.”

[PR] “Yes, yes. Okay. Listen, Saul. I saw that new AT&T logo, and baby… like WOW… what’s up with that thing? Looks like one of those swirly Lifesaver lollipop things. The blueberry & cream one! Yummy!”

[SB] “New… AT&T logo?”

[PR] “Oh, yeah, man! It’s totally new! But it still LOOKS kind of like your old one… sort of.. (muffled laughter is heard) Anyway, you have broadband right? Go check it out! It’s all over the design blogs.”

[SB] “Okay, I don’t really know what you’re talking about, but I… I probably shouldn’t be using this phone.”

[PR] “Dude—you’re on DIALUP?! Sucks for you!”

[SB] “I’m… gonna hang up now.”

[PR] “Right, right. Okay, look. One quick thing; if you need a shoulder to cry on, my studio door is always open. You saw how they savaged my UPS logo, right? Wait for a brother to die, then they pounce. Assholes. You just know IBM is next. Anway, we old-school types gotta stick together. Am a I right or am I right?”

[SB] “Oh… UPS. That’s the one with the package? And the little bow?”

[PR] “Yeah… there was a bow. It was elegant minimalism with a touch of whimsy… Your point being?”

[SB] “Well, nothing, I’m just saying… the bow—”

[PR] “Bow, box, whatever—point is, it was mine, and I went and DIED and they fucked me. And now they’re fucking YOU!”

[SB] “How exactly?…”

[PR] “They dogged your LOGO man. Like I TOLD you! The swirly Lifesaver thing! HELLOOO!!!”

[SB] “I don’t know what ‘dogged’ means, but…”

[PR] “Look, now I have to go, but i was calling to invite you over. I was able to get my old drawing table, the ruling pens, ink, all that shit—don’t ask, man! I have my ways!—but i can totally hook you up. Deal?”

[SB] “Okay, sure. A ruling pen would be nice. Sorry, Paul, I’m still a little disoriented from the trip.”

[PR] “Hey, don’t sweat it. That FADES, man. You’ll be clear-headed in no time, and—trust me—TOTALLY pissed about the logo thing.”

[SB] “Okay, got it… Oh, one question… I have a computer here that says DELL on it… is that pretty typical?”

[PR] (pauses) “Dell? You sure?”

[SB] “D-E-L-L… yes, Dell. And (sniff), yes, it smells a little like… sulphur. Is that Publisher?”


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ARCHIVE ID 2480 FILED UNDER Miscellaneous
PUBLISHED ON Nov.26.2005 BY Speak Up
marc’s comment is:


that was lame.

On Nov.26.2005 at 01:50 PM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:

Marc, I disagree. Imagining what Mr. Bass would think - or not think - of the new AT&T logo redesign is, at least, imaginative. Lameness is when you can't dream up dialogue except a dismissive comment.

Still, I tend to think that Saul reincarnated above design and designer's concerns. Maybe a multicolored bird...

On Nov.26.2005 at 08:06 PM
Rob’s comment is:

I imagine, as idyllic as it may be, that Mr. Bass would have simply said, it works for the client. And left anything else private and up to the imagination of the peanut gallery.

On Nov.27.2005 at 02:38 PM
kippy’s comment is:

Fantastic! Best thing I've read all day.

On Nov.27.2005 at 04:13 PM
Tyson Tate’s comment is:

Isn't "that sucks" somewhat of an Art 101-level criticism? Hell, Art freshmen can do better than that.

If you can't explain why you like or don't like something, you're probably just making stuff up.

On Nov.27.2005 at 08:53 PM
ben...’s comment is:

We were instructed to never use the word like in a critique. Therefore, I find this fake phone call retarded, of no value, and I apologize in wasting your time reading this comment as the mockumentritorialism did as well...

On Nov.27.2005 at 09:14 PM
ben...’s comment is:

We were instructed to never use the word like in a critique. Therefore, I find this fake phone call retarded, of no value, and I apologize in wasting your time reading this comment as the mockumentritorialism did as well...

On Nov.27.2005 at 09:14 PM
Héctor Mu´┐Żoz Huerta’s comment is:

Jajaja!, Saul Bass went to hell... and got to use Publisher.

It was funny, relax, don't be snobby.

On Nov.27.2005 at 10:47 PM
casey Hrynkow’s comment is:

I liked it. It was fantasy...but I liked it.

On Nov.27.2005 at 11:28 PM
Rick’s comment is:

A little levity to start the week... I like it.

… Now to follow up with all my agreeable, pleasant clients and their unlimited budgets and unending timelines.

Er, I must be stuck in fantasy mode...

On Nov.28.2005 at 08:40 AM
Rebecca C.’s comment is:

Well. I still don't know what "dogged" means.

On Nov.28.2005 at 11:14 AM
Tselentis’s comment is:

This is a fresh approach to criticizing the situation, Edward. Yet the tone of voice doesn't seem to match up with what Paul and Saul would actually sound like. (Those two names next to each other sound so biblical, don't they?)

You can see the others before me who've mirrored this opinion on voice and language, so it should come as no surprise. The next time you approach this kind of exercise, take a look at what those people actually said in prior interviews and/or testimonials. The terms they used, and the way they structured their thoughts. Heller's book Design Dialogues is a great outlet for this, as he collected a load of interviews in one volume. I offer these suggestions because it looks like we share an interest in the theatrical, and I'd love to see you offer another "fantastical" article that touches on the sublime and/or ridiculous.

On Nov.28.2005 at 03:14 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:


You're really becoming Quite The Teacher.

Correctomundo, Not saying either of my DesignFather's didn't use Expletives.

That's not the point, I'll assume both were in HEAVEN.

That Language wouldn't be used, BOTH WERE ANGELIC!!!!!!!

Unlike, Héctor whom thinks they are somewhere else.

I've learned from GOOD AUTHORITY both are working on Identity Projects in HEAVEN.


On Nov.28.2005 at 04:00 PM
felix sockwell’s comment is:


youre becoming quite the... Intelligent Designer

make that... holy scroller

On Nov.28.2005 at 04:09 PM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:

And now I'm sorry for admonishing poor Marc over his remark. What's happenning to me? I'm getting SENSITIVE for God's sake.

Well, I'm off back to New Orleans for a few days, Design Maven, so I can't make jokes at your expense. I'll save all the LETRASET for ya. HA!

On Nov.28.2005 at 07:50 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

"Well, I'm off back to New Orleans for a few days".


Enjoy your TRIP HOME!!!!

Letraset, Type Books only or the First Ten Issues of BASELINE MAGAZINE. When they were Free and Letraset was the Publisher.

I already have the First Ten Issues of BASELINE.

A second set couldn't hurt.

Writing from the Future. Ha, Ha, Ha!!!


P.S. I didn't say that did I.

Luv Ya Bro!!!!

On Nov.29.2005 at 11:37 AM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Follow Up:


I know it will not be a Pleasant Trip.

Just Clarifying an Exchange of Pleasantry.

Before someone misinterpret the comment.


On Nov.29.2005 at 11:45 AM
ian’s comment is:

damn y'all, it's humor...lighten up! what do you think mocutorial meant? that it would be a serious insite into the new logo design (see other article).

i for one don't think everything needs to be so damn serious and i thought it was funny. since i never met them, or heard either of them speak, i felt like it matched their personalities (at least as limitied as my knowledge is of them). perhaps edward felt the same way and posted instead of spending all his time researching the two people and situation he was poking fun at. i get your point jason, but i think your missing the bigger point. it was intented to be humorous and to that end it was convincing enough.

nice job edward, thanks for the laugh!

On Nov.29.2005 at 06:08 PM
design officer’s comment is:

i thought that in order for something to be humor (or humour) it had to be funny? i guess not. hahahahaha. ha.

On Nov.29.2005 at 07:44 PM
marc’s comment is:

exactly. if something is meant to be funny or satirical, then it should actually BE funny or satirical, as opposed to just lame, which this was.

Oh, and While We are ON the Subject of Lameness,

This Stuff is Getting Really Fucking Old!!!

Try Content, NOT Ornament for a CHANGE.


On Nov.29.2005 at 10:14 PM
Velociraptor’s comment is:

Marc has, um... some issues.

On Nov.29.2005 at 11:46 PM
dn’s comment is:

Haha 'Marc has, um... some issues.' Yeah velociraptor you might be right - but that last post I nearly found funnier than the mockutorial! I'm Sorry DM! Got to love good natured banter - I hope it was good natured... !?!? And if this is supposed to be the funny at&t commentary why are the Marc-ism versions of the new logo not here… really they are a great example of lameness - in my opinion!

On Nov.30.2005 at 10:17 AM
ben...’s comment is:

Guess I'm too young to get the joke...sorry...

On Nov.30.2005 at 11:18 PM
Von Glitschka’s comment is:

LOL Very nice.

On Dec.02.2005 at 12:39 AM
KEv Leonard’s comment is:

The writing was funny. Relax. I was kind of thrown off by the tone of Paul's voice. He is one of my Design heroes. He was poised and intelligent. Nonetheless, the writing was funny.

On Dec.02.2005 at 12:53 PM
marc english’s comment is:

keep it up. all too true. forget the naysayers. rand swore like a bastard, ... er, longshoreman, so you got the 'assholes' right.

On Dec.02.2005 at 01:41 PM
felixxx’s comment is:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I know its late, but here are

the afformentioned ansillary icons

On Jan.10.2006 at 11:21 AM