Issuu on Google+


HUMOUR IS A MNEMONIC-SOMETHING THAT HELPS US TO RECOLLECT. THIS CAN BE MANIFEST IN WORDPLAY, LIKE A SLOGAN OR JINGLE, OR PICTURE PLAY, SUCH AS A LOGO OR TRADEMARK. -Steven Heller


USING HUMOUR TO DISARM VOLITILE TOPICS Not every civil or socially-

humans are complex, our

minded brand has to raise

world view is complex and

potentially sensitive topics

the societies we create are

for society through their

extremely complex. The social

narrative. Many brands, like

issues we create and try

Orange and Miller Beer can

to overcome in the name of

promote universally popular

progress, are systemic and

ideas like optimism and

usually have a long history

friendship in their brand

of their own.

narratives without getting into potentially sensitive or The reason humour works at uncomfortable subject areas.

all is that it creates an unexpected picture of reality

But for those brands that

that we are surprised by.

decide to take up the mantle

Sometimes, these pictures

of raising important and

are simple, like puns and

sometimes difficult topics

sometimes they are more

for discussion through their

complex, like irony. This

brands, humour can be an

flexibility to deal with

effective way to create

simple and complex ideas

dialogue without the danger

to form a surprising and

of alienating the audience.

delightful effect makes humour an ideal device for dealing with awkward, complex

why is humour such an

societal issues.

effective means to remove the barbs from the topics

Also, humour has the ability

that society feels sensitive

to reduce a complex problem

about? Well, compared to the

down to a simple idea and

rest of the animal kingdom,

change our expectations


with delightful effect. In

and helping us reflect on

this way, humour gives us

what is or is not true in our

the ability to reflect on

personal reality.

an issue without getting engaged with its complexity.

Humour’s reflectivity

By taking a non-serious view

makes it an ideal tool for

on a serious topic, we afford

addressing tough topics and

ourselves the opportunity

creating more civil brands.

to see new ideas around the

This ability lowers the

issue and take in information

barrier for many brands to

differently in order to make

have otherwise impossible

newly-informed decisions

conversations with society.

about the ideas surrounding the problem. Finally, humour is reflective in purpose and action. It is like a fun-house mirror that distorts our image. But just like these mirrors, humour can emphasise an aspect of what we believe is true or false. It enables us to step out of our ingrained views and suspend reality for a moment. Humour helps us gain perspective by looking at life through a distorted lens


THIS YEAR I WILL TRY TO BE NEW By Christopher Doyle & Elliot Scott Most designers are seduced by design trends. They’re easy to appropriate, and even easier to imitate. The challenge is to innovate. To be new. We decided the best (and most enjoyable) approach was to identify and document the most common trends we felt we had to avoid. Before long we found ourselves with a checklist of DON’Ts and a new aim: to try to be new. We may fail, but we will try. Designed in collaboration with Elliott Scott


THE WOR(L)D HAS CHANGED By RETRO FUTURS (Stéphane Massa-Bidal)


THIS YEAR I WILL TRY TO BE NEW By Christopher Doyle at Saatchi Design Rolfing is a form of deep tissue massage with a rather unfortunate name. Designed at Saatchi Design


WHY YOU SHOULD NOT BE AFRAID TO USE HUMOUR IN BRANDING Happiness Sells

Stand Out in the Crowd

Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry

In a market which is crowded

alone. This holds true in

with brands jostling for

life and in business. If you

space on store shelves and

want to really connect with

the customer’s mind, humor

people add a dash of humor

might just be the thing

to your brand name. The Fat

you need to stand out in

Boy Bike series from Harley

the crowd. While everyone

Davidson is an example of a

else goes for exclusivity,

highly successful product

works hard to coin names

line that struck a chord with and brainstorms to come up buyers simply because it was

with a name you can make

a funny name.

things easier for yourself

Comedy shows and funny

by choosing to be funny while

movies always succeed at

you come up with a brand

bringing a smile to the

name.

faces of millions across the globe. Humor has no race,

Witty Shit, a company that

nationality or religion which helps businesses find slogans is why humor might just help

and one liners through the

you build a local as well as

power of crowd sourcing is an

a global brand depending on

example of a company that has

what your goals are.

taken humor in branding to another level altogether. Who can forget a name like that?


Create High Recall Value The idea behind branding is helping people to recall your brand or venture. Funny instances are always memorable and you never fail to look back at them with fondness. Apply this principle to branding and create high recall value for your brand. Haathichaap, an Indian venture which sells paper made from elephant poop proudly brandishes the main ingredient of its paper products in its sales message. Who would have thought poop would be instrumental in building a sweet and eco friendly brand? Branding can be as simple or as difficult as you want to make it. My ebook on branding at the Amazon store is a little guide to help anyone who wishes to build a great band decipher the how and why of branding with ease. Grab a copy today!


ILLEGAL BURGER By Metric System “Illegal Burger is a tiny sit-in and take-out burger joint in Oslo, Norway. They serve high quality charcoal-grilled burgers at a low price. The restaurant is located in a space that used to be a no-licensed hole-in-the-wall bar, hence the name. The Metric system design studio played played with classic visual fast food clichés: burgers and ingredients with faces, arms and feet and developed a series of food-crooks together with Illustrator Frode Skaren. Materials used in the take-out packaging include brown paper bags and brown cardboard boxes to obtain the right lowbrow feel. The bags are printed with rubber stamps and boxed decorated with stickers. The wrapping paper is a four color PMS print with colors matching the tasty interior designed by Al Coulson.”


IS THERE ANYTHING FUNNY ABOUT GRAPHIC DESIGN? THIS ARTICLE IS ADAPTED FROM A CHAPTER IN STEVEN HELLER’S DESIGN HUMOR: THE ART OF GRAPHIC WIT(2002). True wit depends on the

of meaning, causing it to

mastery of various languages. be more ironic than its The witty writer is a

literal content suggests.

verbal acrobat who relies

Another example of such

on precision timing and

skillful verbiage comes

acute understanding. The

from the mid-20th century

great humorous writers are

critic Max Eastman, who

known for crafting figures

quotes a young WW I soldier

of speech into vivid mental

after the latter’s first

pictures. As a classic

visit to Paris’s legendary

example, let’s take the

Folies Bergere: “I never

phrase dog bites man, which

saw such sad faces or such

is neither funny nor news.

gay behinds.” This is a

Conversely, man bites dog

sage observation conjuring

is both news and somewhat

a real-life portrait of the

funny because it twists the

vivacious but overworked

ordinary. But, more to the

sex objects who danced the

point, man bites man is not

famous can-can night after

only a surprising concept

endless night in the Parisian

but a vividly absurd picture

nightclub. What these

revealing two simultaneous

examples suggest is that the

concepts. At the risk of

most skillful wit must appear

committing humorcide through

effortless while being loaded

over-analysis, I submit

with meaning.

that in this phrase one man is not only physically

Graphic wit is no exception.

assaulting the other in a

The best design solutions

rather unconventional manner, must be effortless and free but that since the word

from the self-conscious

“bite” also suggests ridicule and tired conceits of all or criticism, it gives the

belabored humor. Yet if this

phrase an additional level

is true, then why is it that


the pun is one of the most

meaning of the story that the

significant components of

pun is incidental.

graphic wit and design humor? As the oldest form of humor,

Why are puns necessary in

the pun is also considered

graphic wit and humor? The

in the world of letters—

rules that govern verbal

as in the world—to be the

language do not translate

lowest form. There is no kind

precisely into visual

of false wit that has been

language. Thus, The New

ridiculed as much as the pun.

York Times has no rules

Yet a pun, the dictionary

governing visual puns.

tells us, is “the humorous

Graphic designers’ canon of

use of a word or words which

usage is different because

are formed or sound alike

our means of communication—

but have different meanings,

our language, syntax and

in such a way as to play on

grammar—are different. A

two or more of the possible

picture is worth a thousand

applications; a pun is a play

words because so much more

on words.” Edgar Allan Poe

information can be evoked

complained, “The goodness of

through one image than in a

the true pun is in the direct

sentence or paragraph. In

ratio of its intolerability.”

visual language, it often

An old English proverb goes,

is necessary to substitute

“Who makes a pun will pick a

one image for another, or

pocket.” And who can forget

one symbol for another—not

that old grade-school put-

just for purposes of jest,

down, “P.U. (you stink),”

but to enhance meaning.

which is two-thirds of a

Therefore, the pun—at best a

pun. Indeed, throughout the

kind of shorthand, at worst a

ages this venerable form

strained contortion—describes

has been so abused that The

graphic symbols used to

New York Times forbids puns

simplify complex concepts

in its headlines unless the

into accessible, often

word substitution is so

memorable images.

inextricably linked to the


FRENCH CONNECTION :MAN SHOULD BE BRAVE By Follon Spring 2010 sees French Connection create a stimulating, visually captivating and witty campaign with a return to humorous captions. The creative ante has been upped with a provocative campaign that allows the brand to effectively talk to fashion conscious men and women through intelligent wit and humour, inherent to the brands personality. The most dramatic impact comes in the form of ‘The Man’; a rugged, bearded and outspoken character who tells our customer how to dress. He has the physique of a bare-knuckle boxer, the brain of Voltaire and a discerning eye. Other men can learn much from him. ‘The Women’, is understated, yet sexy, her description is brief, as we know little of her. She is beautiful, enchanting, capricious and mystifying. We don’t even catch her name. Once we had our man and woman - we studied them; their behaviour, their mannerisms and their attire. This allowed us to comment on

their clothes, discuss the materials and the detailing and evaluate their personal style. All our comments are voiced in fluent franglais. Playing on the ‘Franglais’ connection further we selected a French actor and actress to model the collection giving the imagery added depth and personality.


GOOD CO. By Jason Little All lobbycoffee shops look and feel the same. Beyond the actual product, they make verylittle effort to engage the office crowd as they take a break to purchase thatall important coffee. The nameGood Co. was developed as a play on both Good Company and Good Coffee. It seeksto engage the corporate executive with a witty narrative, a dialogue that aimsto promote the encounter in a humorous and relevant way. GoodCo’s strong black and white style and engaging dialogue breaks the usual codeof coffee environments. It’s deliberate use of “corporate speak”, which at thesame time references coffee performance makes it a stand out experience thatlives beyond the coffee itself.


WITHOUT PLAY, THERE WOULD BE NO PICASSO. WITHOUT PLAY, THERE IS NO EXPERIMENTATION. EXPERIMENTATION IS THE QUEST FOR ANSWERS. -Graphic Wit “ Paul Rand : The Play Instinct” 1991


HUMOUR & PLAY IN BRANDING

ON BRANDING


3