Branding is not a logo. A logo is a logo.
And the power of branding, in my humble opinion, does not lie solely in the creative and visual execution as many firms would have you believe. And while yes, it is a vital component (that I enjoy doing very much), it isn’t everything. Some would even say designers have an immense power to shape our culture, psyche and even the future.
And in many ways they do. This is all fine and dandy until they, creative and business owners alike, use that power to intentionally shape or shift our emotions, beliefs, values and culture based on what they see as right. I don’t think people appreciate being manipulated. Isn’t that what propaganda is after all? When your focus is “out there” and the end goal is about what you (the designer) or the company wants, isn’t there something arrogant and deceptive about that?
That’s why I choose to look the other way – to the inside. Instead of shaping the minds of others, I think design, and branding especially, has an enormous opportunity through the use of purpose and values-driven brands, to reconnect us to both each other and to the natural world in which many, ironically, unnaturally associate.
It’s not about shaping the thoughts of others, it’s about resonating in the minds of others. Connecting people to one another through common knowledge, symbols, emotions and belonging. Reaching, and not forcing upon, those that have the same ideals, fears, and desires as you, whether they know it or not, and connecting. Making the world seem a little less lonely by helping each other see we do not reside on a billion different solitary islands but instead, on something different altogether. Perhaps something more like an ocean. While we may be miles apart, we are all the same body of water, intrinsically connected and together we make up something far bigger and magnificent than any one of our individual minds can grasp.
Inside-out branding. It’s purpose-driven and not in the functional sense. It’s in the soul, heart, gut, fear, love and human nature sense. It satiates our natural desire to belong by bringing us closer together as beings and not individuals. It’s bigger, better, more meaningful and actually pretty simple; the good stuff is on the inside.