#14

Starting with the challenging branding quiz we looked at well-known design specialties like B&B Studios, Wolff Olins, Design Bridge and Minale Tattersfield. After which we were exploring the meaning and types of case study as well as testing a theory in systematic manner. In order to practice we were divided into groups of three aimed to investigate any case by collecting and evaluating data. In theory, case study is an intensive analysis of an individual unit as a person or community stressing developmental factors in relation to environment. (Merriam-Webster, 2015)

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First of all, our brand is “Bear Nibbles” which is designed by B&B Studio in East London, UK. The history is based on real experience of founder Hayley who was inspired to make being healthy easier and tastier. Her research published in January 2009 shows that bear drifted into cities to forage are 30% fatter and 30% less active in comparison with bears in the wild. The packaging itself has a matt finish, minimalistic and cartoon-like that creates trustful, organic and guilt-free feeling. It states the natural status by attractive words like “pure fruit” or “no added nonsense”. The consistence of playful visual language, collective cards and healthiness orientated on both adult and children audience. Also the name of the brand “Bear” suggest the purity by similarity to the word “bare”. Besides being friendly the brand includes marketing strategies like the idea of 5p donation for WWF in every pack as well as interactive animal cards persuade consumers buy more of the product.

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By the end of the presentation, we were advised to compare this brand to the similar products. The “Propercorn” designed by the same B&B Studio company has a similar branding concept by matt and modern packaging. Important to mention that both of these brands consist of stylish visual identity and at the same time communicate in simple languages. Regarding the price which is affordable but a little but more expensive than, for instance, the original Tesco popcorn. Therefore, they are orientated on urban and health conscious type of people of any age who appreciate creativity and arts in visual dimensions.

#13

In today’s session we discussed branding methods within the food industry. Considering greenwashing and persuasive power of food packaging, Anna Kealey’s article consisted of intriguing examples of daily products from grocery stores. During the afternoon session we were introduced to the gender attitude in the media by exploring mainstream division between girls and boys. According to the research, children toys play a key role in construction of social narratives, for example, girls’ toys include words like Love, Magic, Baby, Fashion while boys’ are Battle, Fight, Hero, Beat etc. Thus since the childhood toys aimed to develop certain skills and way of thinking effecting the future role in society.

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In this post I am going to analyse “Harrods Travel” magazine (Spring and Summer issue 2016) considering the main aim of the magazine, the roles of women and men, also thinking of poses, accessories, clothing and messages. First off, a cover of the magazine which contains the Antarctic landscape with two bears in the right corner saying ‘Beyond the Horizon’ – already giving a hint of the contents which is travelling. Most of the inside articles are beautifully written for a more detailed information about places to visit that communicates with any gender of audience. Ski resorts, wild nature holidays and unusual destinations like Palau with the lake of jellyfishes or Devil’s Island in French Guiana. The magazine communicates in various ways starting from the straight promotions and ending with personal experience of editor during the Arctic cruise supported by photo archive and notes. On the whole, the main idea behind is opening new perspectives for travel lovers, no matter women or men.

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Although, there are a lot of advertisements on cars brands, cruise lines and rental companies while nothing about spa resorts or relaxation therapies which counts to be a part of travelling. Moreover, sections about active lifestyle consists of topics like ‘dream road’ for bike ride, open road settings ‘on wheels’ coming with variety of car models and terms that are difficult to understand if readership is not interested in cars. Even advertisements of luggage shows brutal plain black bags obviously not a ladies choice.

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However, there are few small articles about sunglasses in separate edits for her and for him. Also two pages of selected clothing trends consisted of bikinis, hats, tote bags, sunglasses and summer shoes supported with titles ‘Marine Life’. Another fashion sector of clothing orientated on sports wear and mostly on winter because of the current season and topics about ski resorts. Women wearing massive fur stoles and men in trendy coats posing with skiing equipment. Equally important roles of both genders and no striking poses or make up in order to emphasise attention on clothing.

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In summary, “Harrods Travel” magazine represents a broad range of active travel where men plays a bigger role. However, the main articles are not written for a certain audience, there is still more interesting small subjects and sections for men. Historically men always being a dominant in leading a family generally and financial. Thus masculine way of thinking tend to cover the main travelling aspects while feminine role in this magazine is minor. In fact, Harrods magazine is focused on fashion that explains the idea of beachside and ski clothing advertisements throughout the reading. Nevertheless, the magazine has a majority of advertisements including car racing companies, also other factors like an article about British Polo Day that undoubtedly demonstrate a societal assumption of male superiority in travel idea.

#11

Time never waits for anyone – it is a tool that helps counting days, years and centuries. The evolutionary process of human refers to the new beginnings on a way to improved and functional way of living. In fact, most of the brands focuses on bringing absolutely new ideas rather than looking back because futuristic product are more attractive by flexible and modernised character. For instance, leading multinational technology company, Apple Inc., whose unusual for any product design identity creates an unique and advanced appearance for their products. However, every brand has a long way in consumer culture and the big reveal of Robert Opie’s collection leads to the history of product evolution.

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Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising displays over 12,000 original brands and their packaging progress starting from the Victorian times. Needless to say that most of the brands like Heinz, Perrier or Johnson’s never change their brand identity throughout the hole history. Except leaving the same typeface in the same form and image there is only one altering thing – packaging shape. The newer a package the simpler the appearance including less decorative details and simplified sentences on the front cover. The reason behind this little changes is to stay recognisable for target audience as company’s ‘voice’ is the language and personality that consumers use on daily basis.

Before aluminium, plastic and cellophane became common materials for packaging, most of the products in the 19th century were made of glass, card and ceramic. Although, still some of contemporary brands tend to use these materials as a main idea of concept. For instance, there is a package evolution of transparent soap “Pears” displayed in the museum, where the oldest version consisted of soap wrapped in paper because cardboard box packaging was produced later in 1817, Germany. Apparently, everybody loves fragrant cosmetic products made of fruity scents without harming body with chemical ingredients. Packaging is the first thing customer judges and it is not hard to see the difference between organic and conventional products. Packaging materials for organics mostly consisted of recycled glass and paper in brown colours, while other packages look more contemporary and have a variety of functional and decorative designs using bunch of other materials. Important to mention that nowadays markets shelves are full of unhealthy processed foods – colouring, saturated fats, stabiliser, emulsifier and other scary chemicals – what makes organic products very trendy. Natural food usually packed into glass jars mainly because it provides food safety by having zero toxic chemicals that can effect on food like plastic does. Despite being fragile and heavier than plastic glass has a good reputation for product quality and there is no question about it – people know that glass does not leach into food. There is no doubts that eco brands prefer simpler way of packaging like products in Victorian times that responds to the high-end customers.

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Meanwhile some companies borrow ideas from the previous packaging designs or do not change brand identity at all, there are some whose image transformed to the new level. For example, After Eight that was launched in 1962, throughout the evolution experienced changes in typeface – from serif to sans serif and back to serif today. Needless to say that the After Eight evolution demonstrates how design advanced from plain construction to three dimensional effect. The package design is one of few that became more decorative and detailed in comparison with the first version.

Overall, the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising reflects main marketing strategies in various kinds of examples showing the strength and history of brand language. Nevertheless, there is no particular rule for anybody in good packaging design because all successful brands are absolutely different and at the same time equally powerful by its unique manner.

#10

Who said that advertisements can not talk? No matter if it is outdoor advertising banner or a magazine page – all of them talk to us through signs and their meanings. According to the history, the term ‘semiotics’ was created by Ferdinand de Saussure and it is divided into two narratives: signifier and signified. In this post I am going to attempt to devote analysis of 6 different advertisements that I found in social media.

The general principle of signs consists of words, images, gestures and objects. For instance, the first example is a vintage advertisement of the ‘Newport’ cigarettes. What we see is text saying ‘Ready to try a great fresh taste?’ and another one ‘Newport tastes fresher!’ – are signifiers where signified is the meaning of fresh explained by menthol type of cigarette ‘that tastes better than any other’. The image is bright and colourful – a good weather with clear blue sky and a beautiful couple having a cruise on yacht in the middle of the ocean. The interpretation of the image is happiness and successful life that expressed in women’s smile, yacht and their stylish classical outfits. Looking to the left is looking forward to the future with hope and confidence.

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The second semiotics is ‘Moschino’ fragrance advertisement of the latest scent ‘Fresh Couture’. What we see is an every day household item except it is a new sweet perfume. First off, the woman with short curly red hair dressed in a simple white cloth looking like a bathrobe. Her make up is on point and the overall look represents the 60s style. She holds a bottle and a rag in front of the transparent blue glass. A signified – her appearance expressing the idea of being sexy and beautiful during housekeeping caused by the using of the perfume. Also the wet dirty glass increase the contrast between two sides of the picture what identifies freshness and brightness of the clean result.

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Another perfume advertisement made by Calvin Klein for ‘Eternity’ fragrance. The first we see is an ideal example of family – mother, father and daughter sharing happy moments of their lives. The name of the perfume explained in the idea of internal family happiness. Black and white photography expressing good memories and simplicity of perfection.

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‘Flower Bomb’ by Victor Rolf attracts by dynamic ribbon covering key moments of model’s body. Obviously, the shape of bottle reminds a bombshell. The model looks decisive and confident holding a bottle next to her face. A pink fabric represents explosion of pink flowers of the bomb. The model wears nothing that enhances an accent on explosion and attracts to the overall concept.

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From the first sight an advertisement for anti-agin cosmetic line for ‘Dove’ has a straight meaning and honest message. There is no skinny models, extraordinary poses or famous celebrities – there is an ordinary women showing off her natural body without clothes and shame. Definitely, the advertisement is orientated on an audience of her age. According to the idea a text ‘beauty has no limits’ means anybody can be beautiful in any age if they use ‘pro-age Dove’. However, hair styling and open smile is signified as feeling self-confident and young, acceptance of who she is and without these signs the message would have different value.

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The last observation is going to be on the dental floss by ‘Colgate’. There is no text and only one kiwi against a white background. The interpretation, signified, is fallen seeds that express an ability of the dental floss to clean teeth from such small parts of food. Even one object and zero text remains to be a sign.

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#9

There is no doubt that we are surrounded by branding almost everywhere and at every time of day – on bus shelters, on food packaging, listening to music, watch television interspersed with advertisements and product placement. Brands are spreading rapidly whilst each of it differs and has its own voice. What is branding? Branding is hard to ignore, in part because it constructs our daily basis.

Branding is a visual image of conversation telling a long story in one symbol or word. It has a huge background and history but it communicates in an understandable language and tone of voice. Branding creates an unique name that identifies a product from another products. Meanwhile it relates to marketing and business strategies the basic construction remains to be a form of design.  The variety of colour pallets, forms and shapes gives an opportunity to transform any idea into brand identity. Important to mention that one of the main goals of branding is being commercially astute because it is created to be seen and sold on a global market.

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According to an editor and writer John O’Reilly branding has no meaning as its content depends upon its relationship to the other expressions around it. (“Eye Magazine” no. 53 vol. 14, Autumn 2004) He calls branding as a ‘floating signifier’ by referring to the Principality of Sealand which is virtually created government having a population of 11 people. In fact, it is just a platform in the middle of North Sea but not officially established as a sovereign state. However, The Sealand has its own flag, coins, passports and even national anthem. That is one of the John O’Reilly’s examples of ‘floating signifier’ – a desire to be something but having nothing. Also I think, branding has no relation to usability of a product or cuteness of packaging, it is all about standing out from the rest. Meanwhile there are billion of different labels selling similar products, there is always only one best.

#8

I always was interested in photography, but today’s lecture with Mark Ingham expanded my vision powerfully. Starting with the first photo ever taken by Nicéphore Niépce and ending with modern photography, we analysed concept of various shots without knowing the real meaning. For instance, Philip-Lorca di Corcia’s worldwide famous ‘Heads’ when people were captured secretly using strobe light. My first impression of the five shots was quite sceptic as I thought these people have no relations to the same place and it is just unknown portraits at night or even sequences from a film. You feel the power of the light that adjusts depth of shadows and textures so strong that makes day-time looks like night. It is hard to believe that such a photograph was taken randomly.

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The problem of Victorian photography was a big exposure. In order to make a non-blurred image people need to sit absolutely still for a half of minute. It is quite challenging so they used special equipment for holding head in one place. But how can you explain portraits of babies? The creepiness is hidden mothers in curtains or standing behind with cut faces. In Victorians time many children was dying in infancy, it was common to take photos of dead children for a memory.  I would never say that they are not alive before I knew it.

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Nowadays people take hundreds, no, million of selfies every day. In fact, the first self-portrait was taken by Robert Cornelius and on the back it was written “The first light Picture ever taken. 1839.” Mark asked us to take a selfie of each other but in interesting way – without moving for a minute. Personally, it was challenging to keep the same face impression for a long time without moving and smiling trying to hold the laugh. I really enjoyed this lecture and seems like I know what I’m going to write about in my final essay.