I (EYE) Love LC Posters on the EL

While traveling in Chicago this past weekend. I spotted these new ads for Lens Crafters papering the El train stations. Although I didn’t “get it” right away, I was drawn to them by their use of the heart icon. These days many consumer purchases are fueled by emotional connections. The heart is a very compelling tool for establishing that you are a brand that believes in that connection and instills that attraction from your customers.

Then I noticed that the <3 LC had something before it… Four little vertical lines on each person’s forehead. Now for a graphic designer, this was a slam dunk, of course, “I (eye) Love LC.”

The connection for me was immediate, every designer knows the famous rebus logo/poster Paul Rand created for IBM in 1980s. However, I wonder, does everyone make that connection? Are these ads clear to the average subway passenger?

I did finally notice this panel hanging high and of out of anyone’s sight line. This makes the reference to Paul Rand totally clear. Look at how similar the eyes are. Only the eyebrow is different.

So I wonder, is this an homage to a design legend or a bad rip-off? You tell me.