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Independent Study, VCU Richmond

Faculty leader

Lauren Thorson, Designer In Residence

Student participants

Abbie Winters

LLC & CO is an exciting company that was created to house and sell imaginative “products”. The company functioned as a real thing, encouraging users to question its authenticity and functionality. The company’s storefront was housed inside a temporary storage box. The storefront contradicted itself, as it was clearly temporary, while also present and unarguably there. The voice of LLC & CO exhibited both a professional and advertised tone, while hidden nuances of sarcasm and falsities appeared in order to question the intentions of the operation. For example, coupons screamed “Less money than without coupon!!” and emails urged that “It only gets better as you buy more” because “that's what Ben Franklin always said.” And of course, “The Grand Opening Final Sale” convinced and confused at the same time.

The company’s accounts were updated with “helpful” information about sales and products. "Customers” were urged to become shareholders and those who committed to shares received LLC & CO’s product development guide, and even some coupons directly in the mail. Physical products were created and exhibited online, in a printed catalog, as well as in the storefront. People could purchase these items, customize their appearance and choose the functions at their disposal. Most LLC & CO “products” were made from something that already had a purpose, meaning, or recognition. Taking these items, reshaping them and relabeling them, suggested a different use, or the same use in an undefined way. An experience with LLC & CO was visually stimulating, while confusing in terms of retail. But hey, that’s all we really can hope for here at LLC & CO!