Photograph –

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This image it very revealing, the kind, sweet hearted nature of the elephant and little girl are very apparent and even though their backs are to the camera, you can sense the connection they share with each other. Her adoring body language and the elephants gentle, relaxed pose convey a unique friendship. The texture within the image is a striking quality, the tones are focal to the elephant and his friend. The composition emphasises the elephants great size, towering over the little girl, and despite the emphasis of the possible danger of this, the emotion is still so heartfelt. The framing and setting are so focal to the pair and conveys a sense of ‘lost together’, the bare land is reinforcing the comfort they have found within one another. The photograph is a great example of how emotion can be captured through the medium, in a often subtle way.

 

What is branding?

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Branding can be perceived as the representing personality and character of an organisation, service or product shaped by the perceptions of the audience. The base structure for a brand consists of things like a logo, font, colour palette in addition to further features, branding is the design of these features which reflect the values and aims of the business as a whole. It is the consistency of this core value that makes up the company, according to Just Creative, a design studio that specializes in brand identity. They also claim branding is what drives the company, presenting what it stands for, beliefs and their reason for existence.

Apple, a leading branding company, portrays a humanistic corporate culture with a dedicated corporate ethic, they present an image of ethical, and community based business. Their branding symbolises their focus on emotion and how the apple experience makes you feel. According to Marketing Minds “The Apple brand personality is about lifestyle; imagination; liberty regained; innovation; passion; hopes, dreams and aspirations; and power-to-the-people through technology.” It is keys to Apple’s core values to remain simple and eliminate complexity, consumer driven product design with a sincere connection with customers is central to their success.

Marketer Marc Gobe, author of Emotional Branding goes as far to say, “Without the brand, Apple would be dead. Absolutely. Completely. The brand is all they’ve got. The power of their branding is all that keeps them alive. It’s got nothing to do with products.” Apple’s unique visual vocabulary is expressed in simplistic product design and inspirational advertising that is entirely distinguishable. The company has dominated the market by producing consumer-dedicated products, backed by passionate branding. Apples branding is a fundamental well-defined example of successful branding, whilst the term ‘branding’ is not entirely definable, either way Apple is getting it right, in my opinion.

Leander Gear (2002) Apple: Its all about the brand. Available at: http://www.wired.com/2002/12/apple-its-all-about-the-brand/ Accessed: September 2015

Apple’s Branding strategy (2015) Available at: http://www.marketingminds.com.au/apple_branding_strategy.html Accessed: September 2015

London 2012 Olympics Logo

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Back in 2012 the London Olympics logo divided opinion, the media claimed the logo was too dissonant, to young and urban and didn’t reflect any London landmarks. East Code Design.com accused the logo of appearing like an impossible puzzle of broken shards. Wired magazine a popular a science, culture and technology magazine claimed it looked like ‘somebody dropped it and it broke’. Whilst I can see where the writers were coming from, the logo represented London entirely, a vibrant, youthful city with plenty of attitude. The designers Wolff Olins was quickly to defend his work from the media backlash stating they wanted it to be ‘everyone’s Olympics’. The designers states on their website “We didn’t want the logo to be the houses of parliament, with a hurdler going over and a watercolour brushstroke.”

The method behind the logo was an energy grid where lines moved at random, stopping by chance. The designers then used this template to design the shape, reflecting London’s modern edginess. The idea of freeform is at the heart of the design, a ‘prescribed anarchy’ that would appeal to a bold and spirited London. A key feature of the logo was to re-engage the youth of London and reverse the falling trend of sports within schools, taking the Olympics off the pedestal and into the streets. Whilst I agree this logo would appeal to a youthful target audience, I can’t help but grimace at the harsh brashness of it, from the colour palette to the shape. It does not engage any aesthetically pleasing qualities, nor emulate typical British design. However, it is nothing if not memorable, it made a very bold statement and many took notice, London became engaged in the Olympics one way or another. The designer Wolf Olins claims the comments received “shone an acute light on exactly the points they were trying to make, the tone was just off”

Wolff Olins (2012) London 2012. Available at: http://www.wolffolins.com/work/47/london-2012  Accessed: September 2015

Wired Magazine (2012) FAIL! Why Olympic Designers Got It So Wrong (and Occasionally Right). Available at: http://www.wired.com/2012/08/olympic-design/ Accessed: September 2015

The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertisment

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The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, established by Robert Opie, displays his personal collection of chocolate wrappers, cigarette packets and a time tunnel of other various household memories. Opie’s collection allegedly began with a packet of Munchies, who rather than throwing the wrapper away chose to retain a small piece of chocolate history. On the museum website Opie states, “I was struck by the idea that I should save the packaging which would otherwise surely disappear forever. The collection offers evidence of a dynamic commercial system that delivers thousands of desirable items from all corners of the world, a feat arguably more complex than sending man to the Moon, but one still taken for granted.”

The ‘Time Tunnel’ style that features in the museum displays the constantly changing choice of style and design, giving visitors a ‘trip down memory lane’. Evidence of social impact is apparent from the packaging, from the industrial revolution and war rationing, features such as bold pictures of factories on the front, displaying the Victorians new manufacturing capabilities. Humour was another predominantly used characteristic within the 1940s Second World War era, such as Hitler’s face printed upon toilet roll. Nostalgia was also a trait of the packaging; Quality Street used imagery of Victorian lady and gentlemen on theirs. The tunnel highlights and reflects the changing shopping habits, impact of the media and emancipation of women throughout the years. The interesting feature is the product within the exterior image rarely changes; each brand therefore carries an emotional continuity, drawing on the personal experiences of the consumer market. When visiting the museum, it did just this; I was transported back to childhood memories within minutes. The museum is compact and the eye can wonder throughout, picking out your favourite household brands, it was exciting to see how your chocolate bar of choice had started out. It highlights how far branding has come, how designers have exploited the market to appeal directly, it questions how our world today has shaped the design of a Mars bar.

Museum Of Brands, Packaging and Advertising (2015) Robert Opie. Available at: http://www.museumofbrands.com/about-us/robert-opie.html Accessed: September 2015

Imperial War Museum – Peter Kennard 

Peter Kennard, a leading practitioner in photomontage focusing on political messaging, displays his work in the Imperial War Museum. I found his exhibition greatly moving, his work portrays a dark symbolic message which penetrates the facade of lies and deception which has become politically acceptable throughout the coverage of war and conflict. His medium, photomontage is mirroring its early associations of radical politics. His work addresses recent events and issues including the nuclear arms race, poverty, human rights and mass media in the Iraq War.

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My favourite piece of the exhibition was his most recent, which was created specifically for the museum. “Boardroom” 2015, is an installation of Kennard’s personal reflection on the turbulent conflict from the late 1960s to present day. Some of his most familiar images and motifs feature and function as a retrospective of his past 50 years of work. The volume of the piece is black and speaks intensely using metal rods protruding from the walls from which the artwork hangs, resembling some kind of torture model. The piece also incorporates suspended glass panels bearing statistics and the extents of poverty in today’s world, all amounting to a disturbing message about corporate overpowering, nation rivalry and inequality. Being surrounded by such disturbing images is intense and slightly overpowering, the small compact room engulfs you and you are immersed in Kennard’s dark and haunting world, mirroring all the piece represents. However, according to Alastair Smart, writer for The Telegraph, in his recent review of the piece “Boardroom” states; “Boardroom sees Kennard at his most hectoring, leftist and – dare one say it? – Guardianista: in other words, assuming the role of pub bore not artist. Something which, for the most part in this exhibition, mercifully he avoids.” I can see where Smart is coming from however I feel it is unfair to scorn Kennard’s work, who beyond aesthetically engulfing us into the conflict is simply trying to educate and highlight the truth and bring to light the particulars.

Peter Kennard: Unofficial War Artist (2015) [Exhibition] IWM London. Until May 2016 

Decoding advertising.

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American Apparel are notorious of objectifying women’s bodies to promote their fashion, their campaign is bold. This advert uses its appeal and value to attach not just want, but need from consumers, allowing us to believe we can obtain something we cant have and play into the target audiences sexual attention. On a whole at first glance, it is unclear what the company is advertising, there is no large brand name or logo, the simple Helvetica font is commonly used and does not denote one single brand.

This image presents a young woman, on a bed wearing little clothing, chewing gum. However her clothing, with over the knee socks and colorful underwear is entirely adolescent. Her posture in the setting of an unmade bed could be considered sexual. Her minimal make up and natural hairstyle is again reminiscent of a young girl and blowing bubble gum just reinforces that. American Apparel is pushing the boundaries with societies obsession with youth, boarder lining on a perverted underlying tone. The bold black font overlying the image with the word “Bubblelicious” used with a full stop creates a statement. In one hand it could simply connote the American brand Bubblelicious gum launched in 1977, or more likely highlight the popular children’s treat, used in a playful/sexual way as well as subliminally connoting her body shape. The term ‘bubble’ to describe a women’s behind used in popular culture, again reinforces the adverts un-subtle push of sexual and youthful connotations. The colour palette within the advertisement is very limited, with a large use of white on the walls, bed covers and vest. This draws attention to the bright blue socks and her skin, intensifying the emphasis on product and sexual desire within this advert.

When given a closer look, you can see the advert details the brand, what the model is wearing and where to product is made. A key point to make is American Ap parel are rarity within the clothing industry who strive for ethical manufacturing processes. This is almost irrelevant according to this advert, the very small text and sideline placement, conveys its all about sex rather than product. Paula Schneider, the recently appointed CEO of American Apparel told Business of Fashion “There’s a way to tell our story where it’s not offensive.” It seems the company have realized the misdirection within the advertisement and will be changing approach to suit their largely youthful costumer base.

 Dazed Digital (April 2015) American Apparel is quitting with the ‘overtly sexual’ ads. Available at: http://www.dazeddigital.com/fashion/article/23581/1/american-apparel-is-quitting-with-the-overtly-sexual-ads Accessed: September 2015