One Night Stand Brands —
Initial Lust that Never Lasts

We live in a heavily branded world of words where many have lost much of their true value. Clients often come to us with mountains of them describing their product or service, which have been applied like layers of clothing over the years by busy marketing minds.

 North's  brand guidelines  for First Direct use only black, white and a single typeface.

North's brand guidelines for First Direct use only black, white and a single typeface.

A “buggers muddle” perhaps a unique yet very apt down-under expression best describes their circumstance. Adding to the confusion is the many design hacks who download Adobe and the first thing they do is design a business card with the title “Designer”.

Because neither words or pictures will kill you, mediocrity goes on unchecked.

Anyone can hang up their shingle and sadly do you more harm than an eye or heart surgeon, as you wander through a world of graphic anarchy and inane advertising and recall nothing. I’m convinced the next generation of Alzheimer sufferers will be the only lasting brand loyalists as they remember the good old days when most products had to be real and direct.

 San Francisco's Aesop signature store on Fillmore Street takes us back to basics. 

San Francisco's Aesop signature store on Fillmore Street takes us back to basics. 

A good deal of the worlds great products so often live in a haze of rhetoric and poor design which remains in our face daily and none of us lose any sleep over this except me and a few of my impassioned colleagues. The long late nights when we as strategists writers and designers agonise over delivering simplicity is never seen or so often valued by the client. That “all nighter” agony is quickly buried with a shit and a shave as the sun comes up and our onstage appearance and smooth delivery makes it all look so simple.

There’s the odd unappreciative client who thinks the simple line we deliver is incredibly expensive and feels they could have cracked it themselves or worse it was already on the table. To the contrary, stripping the layers of words and images surrounding a product or service and exposing its “nude beauty” is a demanding process of reductionism.

 An endlessly adaptable Logomark for the Whitney Museum by Experimental Jetset.

An endlessly adaptable Logomark for the Whitney Museum by Experimental Jetset.

Hell, think of yourself. Most of us as human beings can’t even do it with our own wardrobes, garages, or when we overpack that travel bag. Minimalism is a rare and highly valued art form. Going topless or better still completely nude with your product takes courage and the strength of your convictions about your real value.

There’s no such thing as a flawless product, so like all of us in the buff we have to love ourselves in order to be loved.

A beautiful body without words of endearment is only half the seduction process as we all know from those disappointing one night stands. You have to savour body and word both well for the experience to be memorable. Many so called “business carded” designers think the aesthetic alone is enough but many of them never read a book or one without the pictures to let a little poetry invade their minds.

  David Abbott's  iconic 1984 campaign for    The     Economist.

David Abbott's iconic 1984 campaign for The Economist.

I am pleased to say our own designers excel and appreciate the written word but it is oh so rare when you see these thrilling elements come together. I saw it leap off the wall yesterday morning on a public art project in our studio and know it will delight a city. Yes I’m angry at the wasted dollars spent on creating foggy, heavily layered, confusing, dull brands which we have to figure out and wade through daily in our busy lives.

We stuffocate this beautiful world where nature and its nakedness has all the lessons we need to live by, but are often too blind to see it.

Sheer brand lust never lasts. In a haze of superlatives we fall into bed and are churning by daybreak, hoping no one hears about our bad call.