I work for a tour company in Alaska. It’s on fourth avenue, and we have a really good graphic designer. You’ve got a few choices when it comes to tour companies/ on fourth avenue:

1. Kitsch. By and large, kitsch has dominated the Alaskan tourism market since nineteeneightywhatever. Plastic moose doing headstands. Get your photo with a stuffed bear. “Grizzly Gifts.” The office to our immediate East, Phillips 26 Glacier Cruises, seduces visitors with a large chunk of glacial ice, plucked from the oily waters of Prince William Sound, atop a barrel. Every time I walk by their office, I hear the Johhny Cash impersonator singing their “26 glacier cruise” jingle on loop. I feel so, so sorry for their employees. 

2. “Big Wild Life.” This marketing ploy grabs at the whoa so hardcore aspects of alaska. Passing by, oh, the storefront for Kenai Fjords Tours, one would be assaulted by a typeface so raw, bits of DIRT collect on the sign. WHOA. A FONT THAT’S MADE OF TIRE TRACKS AND DIRT. True, Alaska’s an enormous state which for most Americans (and most people, really) an untempered wilderness where people live in igloos and do battle with bears. “The Last Frontier.” I can’t tell you how many times people ask Alaskans “So do you live in igloos?” Yes. Yes we do. And we ride tame polar bears to work. 

3. Us. Our office has been decorated to resemble a living room, except our shelf of knick-knacks is exclusively native crafts, and we have two pianos, and the back room is the baby dungeon. (Candice, the owner, has a four-month-old whom she sometimes brings to work.)


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