Brands: Solution or Problem

Why Solution:
Together we can do anything – brands are on the right side
Brands are part of the institution of selfishness
Major brands are driven by profits – and things that are good for the environment don’t make money
They help us get behind causes
The scale of brands mean they can work beyond  borders

Why Problem:
Short term thinking is an issue
They are disingenuous and create false status and identity
They manipulate and brainwash
Creating needs we don’t have


Branding Principles

First things first:

Brand is NOT a logo | Brand is NOT an identity | Brand is NOT a product
Brand is the impression of the company as a whole. Its not what YOU think it is, but its what THEY say it is.

Branding Principles defined by various creative agencies.

Landor Associates

  • Stand out
  • Stake your claim
  • Find the insight
  • Keep your promise
  • Get emotional
  • Begin at home
  • Own your media
  • Start a dialogue


  • Clarity
  • Commitment
  • Responsiveness
  • Protection
  • Relevance
  • Authenticity
  • Differentiation
  • Consistency
  • Presence
  • Understanding

Liquid Agency 

  • Differentiate
  • Collaborate
  • Innovate
  • Validate
  • Cultivate

Visual Design Principles


Express a strong point of view
Define your intent and let it inform every design decision.

Consider the Whole Above the parts
Its better for a design to work together & feel coherent, than for any individual part to shine.

Use treatment to convey meaning
The lines, shapes, colors, textures you use convey emotion. Recognize what each is doing & use this to your advantage

Simplify to Amplify.
A.K.A. “less is more”. Focus on visual elements that convey your intended meaning. Strip away everything else


Contrast.Repetition. Alignment.Proximity

Color Carefully
Color can enhance usability and show emotion. Start with less. Use it strategically to call attention to elements.Borrow palettes from things you like. Begin with colors that have similar intensities and hues

Dig:Steal Selectively
Take inspiration from everywhere. Steal an element here or a treatment there and you will learn & advance quickly. (Wholesale mimicry can be unethical, and worse: boring.)

Use a Grid.
An underlying structure gives work order and helps make it coherent & digestible.

Use an Analogy.
Analogies are rich with meaning. They can help direct your work & provide your audience with a rich backstory to muse upon.

Use text Visually.
Letters form words, but the shapes of those letters take up a lost of space and communicate tons of emotion. Choose fonts that compliment your point of view.

Dieter Rams

Principles of Good Design by Dieter Rams

    Innovative – The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.
    Make a product useful – A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
    Aesthetic – The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
    Make a product understandable – It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.
    Unobtrusive – Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.
    Honest – It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
    Long-lasting – It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.
    Is thorough down to the last detail – Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
    Is environmentally friendly – Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment.
    It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
    Is as little design as possible – Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.