CTS2 – International Design Perspectives (Sweden Lecture) – Case Study

A team of two Swedish designers known as ‘Bedow’ came to the university to give a lecture on their process of designing a company’s brand visual identity.

The first company shown in the lecture was a Swedish company called Adisgladis, an outdoor clothing and accessories retailer located in Stockholm. Adisgladis roughly translates to “Happy Adam” in English. Their USP is researching the market for new eco-friendly products. It is a company that likes to spread positivity and is all about positivity. There are 5 questions that these designers ask all of their clients before designing for them. I would think that they ask these questions as the answers to these questions guide them through the design process.

  1. What are we going to do?
  2. Who are we speaking to? (Target Audience)
  3. What is our mission?
  4. What is our core message?
  5. What feeling do you want to communicate?

Their Answers:

  1. Visual Identity
  2. Modern consumers with environmental consciousness
  3. (I was unable to record this answer)
  4. Research
  5. positive thinking.

They came up with the tagline ‘Researching positive ways of living‘. The problem with the name for the designers was that it was quite silly and a little too childish, though the client was adamant that they wanted to keep the name. So instead of using the name for the logo  they decided to create some type of symbol. They Used the letter ‘A’ plus an smiling emoji, [A+:)]. Even though they thought the name was childish they still decided to use a fun type of font for the logo. That in my opinion, looks quite childish.

Adisgladis-Logo-by-Bedow-on-BPO

Another key thing about this company is that it is known for using tubes as their visual persona. As the company is about research and tubes are used in scientific research. I think it its quite effective as it is very unique and playful. The shop front displays how playful it can be. It gives a friendly and positive aesthetic.

bedow-adisgladis-identity-10

They also branded another Swedish Finance Company called Qapital. Who offer a financing service through a mobile application. Their main mission is to inspire people to save money. Their answers to the Five questions above were

  1. Visual Identity
  2. Millennials
  3. To make personal finance inspiring
  4. save
  5. Inspiring

Their solution was to create a Typeface that has an aesthetic based on Pie charts, as pie charts and graphs are used in finance and business a lot.

Qapital-identity-011

So the typeface is made up of a lot of simple shapes and with the simple shapes used in the typeface they also made illustrations for the brand.

Qapital-identity-11

They created the slogan  “Save small. Live large” Which encourages people to save small amounts of money every month, so they can then save up to spend it on extravagant things.

Qapital-identity-02

CTS2 – Branding Choices – 6 degrees of Subvertising

I have been set a challenge to research about what subvertising is. There is a twist however, I must search the term ‘Subvertising’ on Google and click the link that I find most interesting. I must only use links provided on the webpage given and I cannot go back and start again. Six different webpages must be visited. Notes about each webpage must be taken down. The nature of the webpage, as well as the relevance to the subject of subvertising, and the reliability of the information. My results have been shown below.

The journey from Google:

Nature of the Webpage: A newspaper article on how an artist hijacked advertising billboards for ‘Subvertising Campaign’
Relevance and Reliability of information: Not very informative about what subvertising is but gives information on the response from people on social media to the pictures of the ‘brandalism’ done by the artists . Also says how many other artists have followed the movement.
Brandalism Homepage: http://www.brandalism.org.uk/
Nature of Webpage: Homepage of a website that promotes what is called ‘Brandalism’
Relevance and Reliability of information: Doesn’t say much about subvertising but really branches into a subcategory of brandalism.
About Brandalism: http://www.brandalism.org.uk/the-project    No Author Stated
Nature of Webpage: About page for website promoting brandalism
Relevance and Reliability of information: Talks in more detail about brandalism movement. where and how it started and how it got to where it is now. definition of brandalism. Makes some reference to subvertising, describes it as ‘the art of subverting advertisements’
Cut Austerity FaceBook Page https://www.facebook.com/cutausterity
Accessed through tweet on twitter feed on the ‘About Brandalism page’. 
Nature of webpage: Group called Cut Austerity main Facebook page
Relevance and Reliability of information: Not much reference to subvertising, but has a lot of photos about advertisements being manipulated.
Cut Austerity website homepage http://cutausterity.org/
Nature of Webpage: Website Homepage of the ‘Cut Austerity’ group
Relevance and Reliability of information: Doesn’t bring any information about ‘Subvertising’. only discusses how the government are not using money available for things that help the community. Such as hospitals, schools, youth centres, etc.
Cut Austerity website Press Releases page  http://cutausterity.org/press-releases  No Author Stated
Nature of Webpage: Press release page with article about the a ‘Subvertising’ campaign done by ‘Cut Austerity’
Relevance and Reliability of information: Article talks about how posters on bus shelters in Central London have been put up by the activist group, to make people more aware of how the government is allegedly cheating us.
From the information I have obtained from this research, my hypothesis is that ‘Subvertising’ is a form of manipulating or replacing general advertisements you may see on billboards and posters in public, with artwork that state or question political, environmental, or economical assurances

CTS2 – Branding Choices – Brands and visual language – Google ReBrand (Google Vs Gerry)

Google has changed the style of its logo many times. However, the most recent logo change coincides with the company restructure that introduces Alphabet, the new parent company for Google. Which I think has caused the biggest rebrand from Google yet. Google obviously seem to be excited about it, thinking that this is what is best for the future of the company. Though not everybody thinks the new logo is a step in the right direction. One of them being Gerry Leonidas who is an associate professor of typography at the University of Reading.

Google have called the new font they are using ‘Product Sans’. The main purpose of the new font changes for the Google logo is to be suited to many different types of devices. “Users now engage with Google using a constellation of devices, and our brand should express the same simplicity and delight they expect from our homepage, while fully embracing the opportunities offered by each new device and surface.” They also claim that with this rebrand, they have “taken the best of Google (simple, uncluttered, colourful, friendly), and recast it not just for the Google of today, but for the Google of the future.”

This for me doesn’t seem like a valid argument, as I don’t know what was wrong with the previous font, with adapting to new devices, though I quite like the new rebrand and have grown into it. It was strange at first but I understand why they may have done it. The old logo wouldn’t fit in with the developed aesthetic of the company, with the introduction of Alphabet being a big part of that.

Gerry Leonidas thinks that this logo change is an “unfortunate piece of design”. The previous style was “distinctive and plausibly evolved from the early versions of the identity.” His main argument is that the logo has evolved too much too fast, event though he still thought the previous logo was “flawed”. It was a distinctive logo, with a low bar on the ‘G’ as well as an inclined bar on the ‘e’, and the lowercase ‘g’ had a lot of “potential”. The only thing kept the same was the inclined bar on the lowercase ‘e’ which was also included at the end of they’re rebrand ‘Google Doodle’ showed on the homepage for the first two days of the rebrand, which may a part of what they meant when they said “taken the best of Google” I would assume. He stated that there are fonts out there “that forms with a more square structure, with some modulation, have met that brief very well already” referring to the pixel resolution on different kinds of devices. Examples given include Gerard Unger’s Demos, Bigelow & Holmes’ Lucida, and Petr van Blokland’s Proforma. Others included Ladislas Mandel’s Galfra, or ITC Mendoza.

Though he did agree that they have a right to rebrand, as they’re making a mark of maturity of the brand. He still strongly believes that the font may be too cliché for a modern rebrand, describing it as “reheated European modernism from the 1920s”.

I had a look at the fonts he suggested and tried to see whether any would be suitable to use for Google’s Logo. Most of them I didn’t think suited Googles brand aesthetic, but there were some that could be contenders.

ITC Mendoza

Screenshot 2015-11-17 13.13.04

This is a font I could see used as the Google logo since it is somewhat similar to the Original logo (before the rebrand), although it looks more rounded and simple and could be classed as a bit more ‘modern’.

Proforma

Screenshot 2015-11-17 13.43.20

I think this one has potential but I am still not sure about it. I don’t see anything special about this that would be associated with Google.

 

CTS2 – Branding Choices – Greenwashing and the grocery store

Greenwashing. Making products look more environmentally conscious even though they are not. Many brands are guilty of doing this BP, Coca-Cola, McDonalds are just a few. The packaging of these products are crucial to communicating the message behind these products. It creates an emotional sensation to the food, which makes it more meaningful to the customer. Linking it to tradition or naturalness, which may not be the case for the actual food content.

In the article titled ‘Authenticity in America’ Joshua Freedman and Dan Jurafsky investigate the class distinctions in Potato Chip advertising in America. It highlights the fact that the language used on the packaging of the potato chips, is different for the different socioeconomic classes of people. Taking this from William Labov’s New York study made in 1960’s. As well as knowledge from Pierre Bourdieu’s writing on social language explaining how ‘language should be viewed not only as a means of communication but also as a medium of power’. Since language varies depending whatever region a person is from, this may also be translated into the packaging. The example given in the article says that working class speakers drop the ‘r’ in in words like quarter and park, while upper-middle class speakers pronounce the ‘r’. Therefore demonstrating the general language differences in different classes. Negation is utilised a greater amount on the more expensive potato chips. The higher class potato chip brands (such as Kettle Chips, popchips, etc.) state never including negative ingredients, an example being ‘never fried, never baked’ or ‘we don’t wash out the natural potato flavour’. According to a research report at the United Kingdom’s Open University, The link between negation and food description goes way beyond potato chips. They identified that “organic food and farming are often described as what they are not” they seem to refer to inorganic farming more frequently actual organic farming.

Which leads me to another point, health is also something that is mentioned more frequently on expensive potato chip packaging. A natural and healthy aesthetic appears to be the main goal for advertising these higher-end products. In order for the consumer to think of these brands more highly. The article states that the ‘expensive chips talk about health six times as much as the inexpensive chips’.

Even though these brands claim they are a healthier option, an experiment was performed today in class. Five different brands of crisps were brought into class, with 2 being expensive brands of crisps (Kettle Chips and Proper corn) and 3 inexpensive (Doritos, Walkers, Monster Munch). Two of the crisp packets were analysed, Walkers Salt and Vinegar flavour was stacked up against the lightly salted flavour of Kettle Chips. The fat content stated on the back of each pack were reviewed and the Kettle Chips, even though there were less ingredients in it, held more fat content than the Salt and Vinegar Walkers.

Another investigation that occurred involved the language used on the packets. The factors that were investigated were words per sentence, as well as syllables per word, referring to the description on the back of the packet of crisps. As you would expect, the expensive crisps were higher in terms of the words per sentenced, further backing up the research done by Freedman and Jurafsky. The language difference is still apparent, no matter what country the chips/crisps are being sold in, America, or the UK, it makes no difference.

Todays findings were very intriguing, to say the least, I may have to think differently when purchasing foods from the supermarket. My outlook on this is that I can understand why they use a higher degree of language to aim towards a higher class of person. Though predominantly using negation, appears to be a cheap way of doing that.

CTS2 – Branding Choices – Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising

This ‘start-up’ museum owns many products, with brands historical and iconic to the British public, using packaging that would normally just be thrown away, they built a whole collection of products that people would like to see in a museum. Even though branding wouldn’t be culturally as important as wars or other historical events to some people, it is still at the interest of the public since brands are a part of everyday life. Household brands such as Kellog’s, Lyles Golden syrup and Fairy liquid were on show to the public showing the original roots of the brand, and the evolution of the brand aesthetic including packaging materials and graphics.

The exhibition was informative about the products, the products were also organised by the decade they were made and distributed. As well as certain trends that occurred such as brands having to change their names, or how packaging changed due to food rationing.

The exhibition included information about each decade, which gave context to why there were certain images on particular packaging, or why things were packaged a certain way. For example, in the Victorian/Edwardian era bars of Cadbury’s milk chocolate had a picture of a woman carrying two buckets of milk with two men behind her looking at her in admiration. I think this was to show how the industrial revolution had benefitted farmers in producing food and drink. It could also have been a way of advertising that used the sexualisation of women to sell a product. Semiotics may have been existent in the victorian times, people just weren’t aware of it yet as they are now.

Later on in the Cadbury’s milk chocolate history, the milk churn had been replaced with the ‘glass and a half’ concept, depicted by an image of two glasses of milk, one only half full, being poured to fill the chocolate bar. It quite clearly shows how the milk is the unique selling point for Cadbury’s as initiated by George Cadbury in 1905. Another thing about the Cadburys Milk chocolate brand is that the colour purple was crucial to the brand. In 2013 they tried to trademark the Pantone 2685C ‘Purple’ colour, which failed.

The colour purple in general, suggests luxury or royalty, historically robes worn by royalty are normally purple, though that may have changed within recent years. Since it’s still such a prevalent brand today, it’s effective because people still see it as a luxury product, maybe not because of the price but because of the history of the brand, as well as the graphic language on the packaging. Like the shiny purple wrapper and gold Cadburys logo, as well as the White ‘Dairy Milk’ phrase that accentuates the content of milk.

A few products were prominent to me, while observing the products in the exhibition, including the packaging of ‘OMO’ washing powder. This reminded me of when I used to go on holiday to Nigeria with my family and there would be these boxes next to the bathroom door in my grandmothers house. The fact that products like this were available in a remote country like Nigeria shows how advancements in transportation were coming to fruition in the 1970s. Since the concord plane was built, one of the fastest ever, it would suggest that transporting goods around the world was an easy task.

2015-11-03 11.21.41

It seems that one of the core values of this museum, which will attract many people is the element of nostalgia. It reminds people of past memories, especially remembering the brands they used to be familiar with, whether it is still here or not. The gift shop also has a lot of merchandise from the past which would have to be reproduced as it appeals to customers to be the owner of a somewhat historic product.

Information on Cadburys taken from: http://www.eyemagazine.com/feature/article/purple-reign

CTS2 – Branding Choices – Semiotics

Semiotics. The secret language behind advertisements. In Roland Barthes’ ‘Myth Today’ there is a paragraph where he discusses the signifier, the signified and the sign.

.Paris_Match_-_child_soldier_cover

He gives the example of the cover of Paris-Match magazine. A “negro” soldier in french militant uniform saluting to what  would be assumed to be the French national flag. He explains that the signifier is the soldier giving the salute, the signified is the sense of “Frenchness and militariness”. This is what makes up the sign as he states that there is a prescence of “Frenchness and militariness” through the soldier giving the salute.

Another way to understand this. An example given could be one of a rose. The word ‘rose’ is the signifier, the image that people may  create in their heads when this word is seen (the image of a rose) is the signified. However, what completes the ‘sign’ is what is usually associated with a rose which would be love, passion, etc.

Moving on from the topic of semiotics, I also want to discuss the process in which I came to choose the subject I will base my essay on as this is what occurred in a CTS lesson. Originally, the topic I wanted to explore was not specific, as I had not yet decided how I should narrow it down to a single question to base my essay upon. There were a selection of fields I was prepared to look at, which were urban fashion, the integration of brands focused on producing products to assist people with sporting events, into fashion, or even sneaker culture. After some deliberation, I discovered about how brands like Air Jordan can be compared to superheroes and assert masculinity in men. I found this thought-provoking, sporting icons being used to sell products in order to give consumers certain feelings of greatness in society never crossed my mind. Michael Jordan is a basketball legend and icon to the game, this can be compared to being a superhero, A real life superhero. By purchasing his brand of shoes/sneakers, people may find that they can be associated with him, and in a sense, become some form of hero themselves, or at least among their friends.

CTS2 – Branding Choices – What is Branding?

At the moment, I don’t really have a clear definition of what ‘Branding’ is. My definition of a ‘Brand’ would be the ‘face’ of a company or organisation that communicates to an audience and creates a connection with that audience. But to create that connection there must a uniqueness to that brand to make it stand out from the others, as well as relate to the customer and/or their needs.

Their is a website that has 100 definitions of branding, that come from important people that work in various industries that use branding (http://branding.sva.edu/what-is-branding). I had a look at this website to give me a better understanding of how to define ‘Branding’.

The definition I agreed most with was with one made by Paul Brogna, a designer and entrepreneur currently launching his first startup, UrbanBuddy.

Definition of branding:

Branding is about sharing the love of an idea, product or service with an audience who needs it and will identify with, and rally behind, that love. 

I like this one because I look at it from a CEOs perspective. Many CEOs would have come up with an idea they love, that they want to share with the world, and as that idea becomes a product or service that people like and relate to, the brand grows. As the brand grows, the audience grow with it. An example of this would be Steve Jobs and Apple. Steve Jobs, Ronald Wayne and Steve Wozniak had an idea and created a computer in their garage. However the basis of their idea for this computer was to make a computer that people that would WANT to work with rather than HAVING to work with it. A lot of people loved this idea and their brand grew and continues to grow. Because of the fact that people supported the idea of making people’s needs the main focus for the invention of their products.

CTS2 – Branding Choices – Emotion and Branded Object

As I discovered this week, Branding and emotion have a connection. However, art has a much greater connection to emotion. In this weeks lesson we were listening to a podcast (Jesse Prinz (2015) ‘Art and Emotion’, Philosophy Bites.) which spoke about how art spurs emotion, especially earlier in the 20th century, the last few years it has been played down a bit. The emotion they talked most about was wonder, and how wonder is fundamental to the creation of art.

I would agree with this because art is a pleasure to look at, especially if it is good. Why would there be art galleries and museums displaying this art if that wasn’t the case?

There was also an interesting point made that imitation evokes wonder, which I also agree with because I have experienced seeing wonder in peoples faces when showing artwork to them for the first time. When I was in secondary school I did Art for GCSE an A-level. The stand-out pieces of work I did were portraits of family members drawn in pencil and they were pretty life like. The first time people saw these portraits they were kind of amazed. I would say that wonder could also describe their reactions to viewing the work.

Back to this weeks lesson, we looked at several articles about how brands use advertising to appeal to people in different ways. One article talks about ‘stickiness’ which is categories in which an idea or brand must meet to be ‘lodged in the cultural consciousness’. In simpler terms, to be ‘stuck’ in someones mind whenever thinking about something relating to that brand or idea. Hence the word ‘Stickiness’. As well as an article about how companies can use ‘subliminal seduction’ to attract customers into buying certain products even if they have nothing to do with sex.

CTS2 – Branding Choices – Labyrinth of the Library (Book Referencing Activity)

So my group and I, were given a two page extract from the book ‘Design, Designers and the literature of Design’. Which talks about what designers commonly write about as authors, which tend to be themselves. A reference in that extract referred to a book called ‘The Social Production of Art’, and in that we found a reference to an essay by Roland Barthes called ‘Death of the Author’. We then found that essay in ‘Image-Music-Text’, by the same author, which talks about the cultural sense of design.