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DESI222 (Communication Design Project) Lecture #1: Branding elements and principles

July 15, 2010

BP's Oil Slick Logo by Noah Scalin (CC BYSA)

I delivered the first lecture for DESI222 (Communication Design Project) on Monday 12 July. A PDF file of the slides that were shown and discussed can be viewed and downloaded from here. I used a quote by Wally Olins in this lecture, taken from his book, On Brand, in which he states that “in a world that is bewildering in terms of competitive clamour, in which rational choice has become almost impossible, brands represent clarity, reassurance, consistency, status, membership—everything that enables human beings to define themselves. Brands represent identity.” The Design Influence blog questions Olin’s ideas, especially the view that charities, universities, and museums need to, as Olin believes, “cast aside forever the bedraggled incompetence that they use as a symbol of their worthiness”. One Design Influence blog post also questions the assumption that museums, and, by extension, other public institutions, need brands. Do you think universities should be, or need to be, branded? What happens when universities create and focus on a “brand message”? What is the relationship between a brand, and its attendent graphic symbols and slogans, and the reality on the ground as experienced by students? Is there a danger that the message in the media may become separated from the reality on the ground? Can you think of examples where this has occurred?

The altered BP logo above was created by Noah Scalin, a long-time activist and award winning designer, owner and creative director of ALR (Another Limited Rebellion), and editor of a rather rebellious but therapeutic Blog.

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