“When everybody zigs, zag.”

‘The Brand Gap’ – Marty Neumier

A truly inspirational insight to the design impact of logos & packaging – a must read for all those about to start their own business! Marty Neumeier explores what it takes to stand out as a business and get those sales sky rocking.

I was intrigued with Neumier’s insistence to stand out as a business was to be different and surprised with how many companies are afraid to do so. “Creativity requires an unnatural act.” He mentions MAYA – the Most Advanced Yet Acceptable as stated by industrial designer Raymond Loewy. To achieve originally Neumier explains that companies need to leave their comfort zones but most do not due to the ‘fear of stupid’ – the zag. “The nail that sticks up gets hammered”.

Any person trying to name their business with a new quirky remember-able name can relate to Neumier’s statement “Most of the good names are taken.” An incorrect company name can transform a products appeal enormously and sacrifice immense profit. A name should be “distinctive, short, spell-able, pronounceable, likeable, portable, and protect-able.” ‘Smuckers’ for example is all of the above.

Earns Smucker
Smucker’s Strawberry Jam

ref: http://www.adweek.com/agencyspy/j-m-smucker-consolidates-digital-with-razorfish/119017

Neumier describes business names as either low-imagery or high-imagery names. High-imagery being more memorable creating vivid pictures that aid recall. Low-imagery being names that are not memorable – they usually utilise Greek & Latin root words. Zeiss for example is a high-imagery name, it references glass, precision & technological superiority.

Zeiss Contact Lenses

ref: https://www.discountlens.fr/en/zeiss

Neumier’s boldest statement within this text is that “Logos are dead”. His reasoning is branding. He believes branding is not about stamping a trademark, its about managing relationships between the company and its constituents. He also states that logos are a product of the printing press ( an element of the past). I disagree with Neumier here, I believe that you can also identify logos online, through TV & live events. For example the ‘triple J’ logo is easily recognisable at music festivals.

Triple J Logo Stage Back Drop

ref: https://2blogornot2blog.wordpress.com/2008/01/30/australia-day-long-weekend-part-2-triple-j-hottest-100/

Packaging is as important as the company’s trademark, in a supermarket environment it’s the determining factor for sales.  I believe that this still holds true for online sales, especially if the packaging is still presented to the buyer, for example protein supplements still display the packaging online and within many advertisements. I would define packaging for online audiences as not only the graphics on the product, but the company’s entire website. It is a packaging within itself, the buyer is going there to consider purchasing the product.

Google Shopping 'Protein' Search
Google Shopping ‘Protein’ Search

‘Ways of Seeing’ by John Berger

I found ‘Ways of Seeing’ by Jon Berger shockingly relevant to my current perception upon material objects and the way I personally perceive publicity daily. No other point in history has experienced such dense publicity. In this text Berger explores the relationship between the traditional publicity of oil painting and it’s similarities to contemporary digital publicity through a vast array of ideals and concepts.

Publicity belongs to moment, as in it needs to keep updated with the aesthetic of contemporary society. Berger states that publicity never speaks of the present, it refers to the past and speaks of the future. Publicity is a visual language within itself. “It proposes to each of us that we transform ourselves, or our lives, by buying something more.”

The aspect of publicity in which I found most intriguing and relevant was the idea of ‘glamour’. Berger states that “publicity is the process of manufacturing glamour”. The consumer envisions themselves becoming transformed by the product from an ordinary, bland person to an object of envy for others which then will justify the consumer loving themselves. I found this incredibly interesting, as I am often purchasing material items in order to feel envied which inevitably makes me feel glamorous. The publicity image steals the self-love and acceptance of the consumer and offers to replenish it for the price of the product. Hence why publicity is so effective, it implements an unhappy notion upon ourselves which we must mend.

Marilyn Monroe Advertisement
Marilyn Monroe Advertisement

Berger states that the oil painting and publicity speak in very much the same visual language. The oil painting in the Renaissance period was a celebration of material items, “you are what you have”. Publicity has to sell the past to the future therefore it makes all history mythical through a visual language with historical dimensions.
The technology of cheap colour photography transformed publicity enormously, as photographers could now reproduce an image of the ‘real thing’ cheaply and on a mass scale.

Dejeuner Sure L’Herbe, Manet 1832-1883, Dior Secret Garden Versailles Ad Campaign.

The oil painting portrayed the consumer enjoying their possessions, making the viewer dis-satisfied with their current possessions. The oil painting anxiety, it creates the notion that without the power to spend money, life is not worth living.
This is where sexuality comes into play, Berger explores the notion ‘sex sells’. Lynx is renowned for utilising sexuality to sell their products – and it works. Without this product you will not be sexually desirable, you won’t find love.

Lynx Ad
Lynx Advertisement

Berger explores the idea that publicity is an alternate fantasy world within itself. The fantasy of a bored office worker, becomes an active consumer. There is a great contrast between the publicity’s interpretation of the world and the real world. This could be seen in news magazines such as ‘the Sunday Times Magazine’ where there was an article depicting poverty and hardship juxtaposed with a glamorous advertisement depicting wealth and luxury. Therefore publicity is event less – it’s effective as long as nothing else is happening within the ‘real world’.

“Publicity is the life of this culture – in so far as without publicity capitalism could not survive – and at the same time publicity is its dream.”

Ref: https://au.pinterest.com/pin/242420392412618158/