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This paper proposes that print ad designers have usurped Brecht's style of epic theater and the Surrealists’ affection for paradox and irrationality and offers an analysis of three contemporary ads. Brecht used techniques to remind theater audiences that they were watching a play rather than observing a representation of reality. He found that the machinery of theater, opera, and the press is no longer “a means of furthering output but has become an obstacle to output, and specifically to [intellectuals’] own output as soon as it follows a new and original course which the apparatus finds awkward or opposed to its new aims.” I apply this theory to ad design and discuss how the “machinery” that generates design affects its output and how unveiling that machinery for the reader/audience creates new meaning. As well, I address how the machinery that produces this article affects its meaning.

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Design Principles & Practices: An International Journal