Stephen Bayley on the War Against Branding

(Via Dezeen) This image by artist Mel Ramos, which features in Signs of Life: Why Brands Matter, shows how tobacco companies typically promoted themselves in the 1970s

Fascinating article on Dezeen today featuring author, critic, columnist, consultant, broadcaster and curator Stephen Bayley and the current battle of the tobacco industry and generic packaging. Is the banning of logos on tobacco the beginning of the war against branding itself?

“As brands evolved into more than the sum of their tangible parts, graphic designers evolved into branding consultants, commissioned not merely to design a trademark or a poster, but to imagine and then visualise a brand.

A logo is a trademark that went to art college and postgraduate business school. For a fee of $35 a Portland State University graphics student called Carolyn Davidson created the Nike Swoosh in 1971. The athletics manufacturer was going through a transition. Previously Blue Ribbon Sports, it was decided to rename it after the Greek Goddess of Victory: Nike. The classics have often influenced the design of logos: the ancient Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company logo was inspired by the winged-foot of Hermes, messenger to the gods. Mobil used Pegasus. It’s a truism that all great businesses have great logos.

Nowadays all of life is also a question of branding. Although he is not, in the strictest sense, for sale, President Trump’s poorly fitting suits and terrible hair make him look like a bad argument, which, of course, he is.

So a brand is rather a complicated entity involving many of the absurdities and appetites that define existence itself. A brand is a collaboration between consumer and producer in a piece of theatre: playwright and actor working on an agreed script. But the last act is not written.

Read the full article on Dezeen here.