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About

Heydays

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BVD

David Airey

Lance Wyman

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Interbrand

Mind

Purpose

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Dave Sedgwick

Build

Mytton Williams

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The Partners

The Beautiful Meme

Precept

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Branding—a diverse and ambiguous term, but one I intended to explore through the people who understand, investigate and create the very things themselves, brands. I raised a select few questions to studios and designers who specialise in branding and identity to gain further insight into their practice.

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Heydays Oslo, Norway

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3 words that best define a brand... Distinctive Memorable Honest

How would you describe your approach to branding? Do you initially approach each project in a similar way or does it differ depending on the client? The goal is similar, but our approach depends on budgets and the size of the client. Our main goal in our search for the correct solution for our client is to get to know them properly. We map how they describe themselves, and look for clues and interesting information that can transform their brand into the next level. After listening, we challenge. We talk about opportunities and other ways to look at it. The answer is in the brief. What brand identity did you create over 3 years ago that you are as proud of now as you were at the time? — Ultimately, how important is the longevity of a brand? Berg & Berg for instance. Because it’s still relevant, functional, and it’s evolving every month. The client feels it’s integrated in the company and they enjoy the solution. At what point do you believe it becomes necessary for a brand to rebrand? There are tons of factors which should trigger a rebrand. Mergers, law, bad reputation, change of focus, new owners, cultural, new markets etc. It should always be a rational decision based on strategic arguments. What nostalgic or long-running brand identity would you least like to see changed? I really don’t have a strong opinion about this, as strange as that might sound. And I guess most brands have changed in one way or another along the way. For good reasons most of the time. I think its more about the details. Like if Toblerone dropped the triangular

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02 Studio Hansen Industrial studio 01 Berg & Berg Online retailer Words by Mathias Haddal Hovet

packaging, if Apple’s logo silhouette changed a lot, if IBM dropped the stripes or M&Ms stopped using colour. I like the change, and I like to observe how changes can be done for the right reasons as long as its core visual triggers are intact. What is your favourite identity design by another designer, studio or agency from the past 2 years? There’s so much good identity work out there, so it’s hard to pick one. But, I really like Moving Brands visual identity concepts for HP—even though its not official stuff. I like Microsoft’s and Windows 8 new identity and packaging. There’s too much good stuff.


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BVD Stockholm, Sweden

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3 words that best define a brand... Recognisable Honest Emotion

How would you describe your approach to branding? Do you initially approach each project in a similar way or does it differ depending on the client? No project is like the other. You have to find the core from where to communicate, and it is never the same. What brand identity did you create over 3 years ago that you are as proud of now as you were at the time? — Ultimately, how important is the longevity of a brand? We created the identity for Swedish pharmacy Apotek Hjärtat in late 2009, and it’s going strong, it works and it makes me proud. The durability of an identity is crucial for the credibility of the brand. It is also a matter of sustainability. Design = economy. If you have to redesign after 3 years it’s a bad design, and a bad deal. In our point of view, good design is long lasting. At what point do you believe it becomes necessary for a brand to rebrand? When the design feels out of date and doesn’t fit with the values it is supposed to communicate. What nostalgic or long-running brand identity would you least like to see changed? The panda symbol for World Wildlife Fund. What is your favourite identity design by another designer, studio or agency from the past 2 years? Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. (Mevis & Van Deursen)

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Words by Rikard Ahlberg

01 Apotek Hjär­tat Pharmacy

02 Mattias Jersild Copywriter


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David Airey Bangor, UK

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3 words that best define a brand... Emotion Personal Reputation

How would you describe your approach to branding? Do you initially approach each project in a similar way or does it differ depending on the client? My speciality is in brand identity design, so just a part of the overall brand. The approach I take is normally the same, and begins with gathering as much information about my client and my client’s customers as possible. What brand identity did you create over 3 years ago that you are as proud of now as you were at the time? — Ultimately, how important is the longevity of a brand? I don’t look back on my work with a sense of pride, perhaps because I always want to improve and to better what has come before. I think you mean “longevity of a brand identity” rather than “brand.” If you do, longevity is very important for breeding familiarity. With that familiarity comes trust, as long as the product or service is good. At what point do you believe it becomes necessary for a brand to rebrand? When the identity is no longer appropriate for company goals, perhaps because the company’s direction has changed. To keep a fresh appearance, sometimes all that’s needed is a refinement, as opposed to a rebrand. What nostalgic or long-running brand identity would you least like to see changed? The Coca Cola wordmark is so recognisable, it would be a business mistake to change it. What is your favourite identity design by another designer, studio or agency from the past 2 years? The Shrewsbury design by &Smith stood out.

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01 Henri Ehrhart Wine producer

02 ADB Asian developmet bank

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Lance Wyman New York, USA

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3 words that best define a brand... Recognisable Memorable Distinctive

How would you describe your approach to branding? Do you initially approach each project in a similar way or does it differ depending on the client? Understand the subject. Engage in the design process (follow your nose and be sensitive to context). Refine and establish. What brand identity did you create over 3 years ago that you are as proud of now as you were at the time? — Ultimately, how important is the longevity of a brand? My program for the Mexico City Metro - designed in 1969 - still doing fine. The importance of longevity depends on what the branding is done for. If the branding is for a long term program like the Metro longevity is important. The imagery becomes a part of the city culture, the expense of changing (signs, etc) is avoided. At what point do you believe it becomes necessary for a brand to rebrand? That really depends on the specifics of a given branding system and the context it functions in. What nostalgic or long-running brand identity would you least like to see changed? Apple’s apple with its bite is one of my favourites. What is your favourite identity design by another designer, studio or agency from the past 2 years? At the moment nothing pops from the past two years.

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01 Mexico ‘68 Olympics

02 Mexico City Metro Transport signage


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Interbrand Australia Sydney, Australia

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3 words that best define a brand... Emotion Distinctive Coheseive

How would you describe your approach to branding? Do you initially approach each project in a similar way or does it differ depending on the client? We design feelings not graphics. What brand identity did you create over 3 years ago that you are as proud of now as you were at the time? — Ultimately, how important is the longevity of a brand? Alzheimer’s Australia is the brand we are most proud of in our studio. It is so simple and so flexible that we hope it has the potential to run and run for years without getting dated or tired. The beauty is that every time you interact with the brand, it says something new, even though the visual framework is familiar. Kind of like an ongoing conversation. At Interbrand Australia, we build platforms, not uniforms. Diversity is as important as consistency and flexible framework is what creates longevity. At what point do you believe it becomes necessary for a brand to rebrand? Typically rebrands happen when there is a business problem to fix. But branding should be a constant ongoing process, they should be built to change not last. What nostalgic or long-running brand identity would you least like to see changed? Coca-cola will never change the core visual elements of it’s brand. And rightly so. What is your favourite identity design by another designer, studio or agency from the past 2 years? aol is genius. I love most of Wollff Ollins’ work.

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Words by Mike Rigby

01 Alzheimer’s Australia Charity

02 New Theatre Independent theatre


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Mind London, England

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How would you describe your approach to branding? Do you initially approach each project in a similar way or does it differ depending on the client? I once visited a Japanese Shinto shrine in the Ise area. It was basically an open gate with a thin white piece of fabric flapping in the wind. People were bowing on both sides of the fabric and doing their prayers. There was no altar or statue. Just an indication of a presence in the movement of the fabric. The traditional view of branding is more like the architecture of a Roman Church, there is a central altar and the symbol of the cross in the middle that symbolises all meaning and truth. For me Identity should be more like a fluctuate presence of something that speaks to everyone in a different and very personal way. I am basically trying to dissolve the idea of identity. What brand identity did you create over 3 years ago that you are as proud of now as you were at the time? — Ultimately, how important is the longevity of a brand? None. I never look back. I don’t think the longevity of an identity can or should be predicted. Once the children leave the house they are on their own. They might flourish or start getting corrupted by drug use and crime. At what point do you believe it becomes necessary for a brand to rebrand? As soon as other brands start looking the same and therefore give the original brand an additional meaning that was not intended. What nostalgic or long-running brand identity would you least like to see changed? I am nostalgic so I feel comfortable with things

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02 Metropolitan Wharf Building signage 01 The Collection Restaurant Words by Holger Jacobs

I am used to. I don’t really apply criteria of good or bad design. What is your favourite identity design by another designer, studio or agency from the past 2 years? I find it very interesting when identities change their meaning unintentionally. In Hackney there is a Business Centre with some large red letters applied to the facade. Over time they have fallen of half way or completely. It kind of says the opposite now: Business is not so good anymore. A true example of an ‘honest Brand’. As a cyclist I also hate the Cement Lorries. One of those cement companies is called ‘Jim’ll Mix It’. That might have been funny a few years ago but not anymore after the recent scandal. Still the owner of the company (who is also called Jim) refuses to change the name. Well, bad for him, good for me if he goes bust.


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Purpose London, England

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3 words that best define a brand... Distinctive Memorable Reputation

How would you describe your approach to branding? Do you initially approach each project in a similar way or does it differ depending on the client? It totally depends on the client, there’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach to branding. We’re sort of like tailors, we create bespoke, wellfitting and crafted suits fit to their needs. Of course, some agencies may offer a one sizefits-all approach, but you’re going to get an illfitting suit that will wear out quickly, will soon look tired, and will unravel at the slightest pull. (Sorry for the terrible suit pun, but I hope the point is clear)... What brand identity did you create over 3 years ago that you are as proud of now as you were at the time? — Ultimately, how important is the longevity of a brand? For me personally, probably my work for the British Ceramics Biennial I did at BB/ Saunders in 2009. I’ve since stopped working on the brand, but it’s great to see that it lives on and the graphic language we set for it is flourishing. The longevity of a brand is of great importance. At what point do you believe it becomes necessary for a brand to rebrand? If the brand has evolved over time, or it’s services have changed, rebranding can help to communicate those changes. What nostalgic or long-running brand identity would you least like to see changed? British Rail Logo. It’s a classic. Or FedEx. Everyone loves that little arrow...

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02 The Armoury Historic pub 01 Simon Beattie Bookseller Words by Sean Rees

What is your favourite identity design by another designer, studio or agency from the past 2 years? Tough to pick one. One that springs to mind is ‘White Logistics’ by The Allotment. Smart idea with a sweet, simple and impactful graphic language that comes to life across a variety of applications.


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Dave Sedgwick Manchester, England

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3 words that best define a brand... Recognisable Memorable Honest

How would you describe your approach to branding? Do you initially approach each project in a similar way or does it differ depending on the client? I think I tend to approach all branding projects in a similar way. I tend to research a lot and make sure the client appreciates and understands this before we start. A lot also depends on budgets. For a client with more to spend, then more time can be taken on the research and development stages. What brand identity did you create over 3 years ago that you are as proud of now as you were at the time? — Ultimately, how important is the longevity of a brand? Wow. Tough one. I always feel that you can improve on your work, so I am constantly looking back at my projects and wish I’d maybe done things a touch differently. Also the more you learn, the more you look to develop your style. But maybe the work for Barker Helme is still a good project. Mostly because it still has such a strong idea behind it. At what point do you believe it becomes necessary for a brand to rebrand? Again that’s a good question. Probably when people stop using the service/spending money there/ going to see it/telling people about it/ or remembering it. Although a rebrand isn’t always the only answer. It can help. What nostalgic or long-running brand identity would you least like to see changed? FedEx probably as it’s still such a strong brand and idea.

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02 Debbie Smyth Textile artist 01 Barker Helme Interior design

What is your favourite identity design by another designer, studio or agency from the past 2 years? I will go for Mucho’s design for Gild International. But there is great work being done by a lot of designers and agencies the world over.


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Build London, England


3 words that best define a brand... Universal Memorable Intelligent

How would you describe your approach to branding? Do you initially approach each project in a similar way or does it differ depending on the client? Depends on the client/size of the job. We are just doing a branding project for an international client, so the research phase was much longer. What brand identity did you create over 3 years ago that you are as proud of now as you were at the time? — Ultimately, how important is the longevity of a brand? Generation Press. At what point do you believe it becomes necessary for a brand to rebrand? When the message of the company no longer matches the branding. What nostalgic or long-running brand identity would you least like to see changed? The V&A. Its perfect. What is your favourite identity design by another designer, studio or agency from the past 2 years? The Stedelijk Museum identity by Mevis & Van Deursen. Universally slated, but I love it.

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Words by Michael C Place

01 Generation Press Printers

02 T&Cake CafĂŠ


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Mytton Williams Bath, England

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3 words that best define a brand... Emotion Simple Intelligent

How would you describe your approach to branding? Do you initially approach each project in a similar way or does it differ depending on the client? I’m interested in ideas and try to follow the same process for each project. Initial meeting. Research. Ideas. Development. Completion. Evaluation. It sounds really boring written down like that but it helps to keep this simple framework. Every client is different so it does change slightly with each project. The most important bit is the research. What brand identity did you create over 3 years ago that you are as proud of now as you were at the time? — Ultimately, how important is the longevity of a brand? The Halcyon Hotel. It was one of my first projects taken from initial meeting to completion. Not only does it still work (the hotel is doing well) but it has lead to a number of other exciting projects with the same client who’s a lovely bloke. Longevity is important but brands do need to evolve with the times. At what point do you believe it becomes necessary for a brand to rebrand? A rebrand should be used strategically. When the messages the company conveys are no longer clear, the direction of the company has changed or a new product/service is being launched. It shouldn’t be purely cosmetic. What nostalgic or long-running brand identity would you least like to see changed? The London Underground. I’d hate to see the roundel with a 3D shine running through it!

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02 CRC Government agency 01 The Halycon Hotel Words by Keith Hancox

What is your favourite identity design by another designer, studio or agency from the past 2 years? Falcon Enamelware by Morse Studio. A beautifully simple logotype based on the essence of the product, a number of great photo shoots and more importantly for successfully making Falcon “cool�?


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The Partners London, England

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3 words that best define a brand... Consistent Distinctive Recognisable

How would you describe your approach to branding? Do you initially approach each project in a similar way or does it differ depending on the client? The process tends to be similar every time however the brief changes the ideas process and the visual element in each project. What brand identity did you create over 3 years ago that you are as proud of now as you were at the time? — Ultimately, how important is the longevity of a brand? Deloitte is a great example of this as we have been working with the client ever since we re-branded its assets four years ago. The longevity of a brand is essential to branding as the client is paying a substantial amount of money. However design trends change ever so quickly so it’s hard to pick something that will last 10/15 years as assets like typography and colour change all the time. At what point do you believe it becomes necessary for a brand to rebrand? You can normally tell when a brand needs refreshing as what they have rather seems dated to what its competitors have or it just doesn’t communicate who they are as a company, just like a students portfolio the personality of the person behind the brand has to shine through What nostalgic or long-running brand identity would you least like to see changed? If Coke were to have a dramatic change it would probably ruin the brand. That’s why Turner Duckworth were so successful in what they did, they retained everything Coke originally had with using less.

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01 Deloitte Event Installation

02 Kantar Consultants

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03 LV Friendly society


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Precept Newcastle, England 01


3 words that best define a brand... Emotion Consistent Intelligent

How would you describe your approach to branding? Do you initially approach each project in a similar way or does it differ depending on the client? Every project is different, we have a very unique and in depth approach to brand development. Our process is very strategy lead and we use a co-creation model to work closely with our client, getting to know the nuts and bolts of their business. What brand identity did you create over 3 years ago that you are as proud of now as you were at the time? — Ultimately, how important is the longevity of a brand? Longevity is important, but flexibility and versatility is vital. In a fast paced digital world brands need to be able to flex and adapt to meet the needs of todays consumer - all of our brand work is developed with that in mind. At what point do you believe it becomes necessary for a brand to rebrand? Every brand needs a rebrand to some extent. A brand should be monitored and developed on an ongoing basis. At present a lot of brands that approach us have become stagnant and have been left behind in this digital age. What nostalgic or long-running brand identity would you least like to see changed? A lot of brand marks should never be changed, get your hands on a copy of Pentagram Marks. It’s a bible of timeless brand marks which will stand the test of time and are as relevant today as they we’re when created.

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01 Alex Telfer Photography Words by Nick Johnson

What is your favourite identity design by another designer, studio or agency from the past 2 years? Tricky one. I’d begrudge picking one in particular, but one that jumped into my mind is ‘Slate’ by Rose Design in London. It’s not so much the corporate identity itself, but the whole concept is beautifully simple and very well executed. Nice guys ‘and girl’ too.


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The Beautiful Meme York, England 01


3 words that best define a brand... Emotion Memorable Honest

How would you describe your approach to branding? Do you initially approach each project in a similar way or does it differ depending on the client? Don’t do a thing until you’ve spent plenty of time tapping into the client. You need to know their personality and proposition better then they do before you conceptualise the idea. This idea will then feed into everything you create. For us this relationship period usually makes the difference between good and great work although its not always viable due to geographical logistics. What brand identity did you create over 3 years ago that you are as proud of now as you were at the time? — Ultimately, how important is the longevity of a brand? I can’t remember 3 days ago. There’s work I created 6 years ago I’m still proud of although I’d never class anything I do as ‘identity design’. If the idea is strong the longevity will come until someone wants to pull the brand in a different direction. MTVs identity has changed constantly over the last 20 years but the brand values and proposition remain the same. At what point do you believe it becomes necessary for a brand to rebrand? When the brand doesn’t represent the vision of the people who work within it. What nostalgic or long-running brand identity would you least like to see changed? If it’s an improvement and done for the right reasons, everything’s fair game. Though I would be pissed if some snotty little gimp designer stripped back the Burnley FC badge to make it feel more contemporary. Whoever

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01 English National Ballet Words by Ben Howarth

designed the Wolves logo has clearly never been to Wolverhampton. What is your favourite identity design by another designer, studio or agency from the past 2 years? Australasia Restaurant, Manchester by Creative Lynx.


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With thanks to

The Beautiful Meme Build BVD Dave Sedgwick David Airey Heydays Interbrand Lance Wyman Mind Mytton Williams The Partners Purpose

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Joe Warburton www.joewarburton.co.uk hello@joewarburton.co.uk


Branding and identity  

Design context publication