Branding Choices 1 – Subvertisement Online Research Experiment

Subvertisement – Google Search

LINK 1: Independent (2012) Brandalism: Street artists hijack billboards for ‘subvertising campaign’. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/brandalism-street-artists-hijack-billboards-for-subvertising-campaign-7953151.html (Accessed: 24 November 2015)

Brandalism: Street artists hijack billboards for ‘subvertising campaign’. Interesting ideas – artists are transforming billboard advertisements to create something that goes against the ideas of what these ads are trying to promote. The article makes reference to the London Riots, and artists such as Robert Montgomery are writing poetry on billboards to redefine their meaning.

Subvertisement could perhaps mean to advertise something in a mocking manner, defacing the brand.

LINK 2: Independent (2012) The artist vandalising advertisting with poetry. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/the-artist-vandalising-advertising-with-poetry-6353303.html (Accessed: 24 November 2015)

This article is a Q&A with the artist Robert Montgomery about his experiences with the billboard art and about his exhibition in London. Some of the questions also explore his methodology, Situationist influences, relationship with street art.

LINK 3: KK Outlet (2015) Available at: http://www.kkoutlet.com/ (Accessed: 24 November 2015)

Home page for KK Outlet – “a multifunctional office combining a communications agency with a gallery and bookshop”.

LINK 4: KK Outlet (2015) Christmas Print Fayre Available at: http://www.kkoutlet.com/exhibitions (Accessed: 24 November 2015)

Talks about the Christmas Print Fayre sale which was organised by KK Outlet and People of Print. It talks about the posters that we are bombarded with every Christmas:

“Every year the Christmas bullshit truck rolls into town and every year high street stores spread their usual schmaltzy muck. Their big budget adverts tell us, “Buy these gifts otherwise your nearest and dearest won’t feel loved and you’ll ruin Christmas for everyone.” Well we say “No more!”

I think this is subvertising as well. They are trying to do something Christmas related but they are taking a different spin on the gift ideas you might want to give to your loved ones.

LINK 5: KK Outlet (2015) The Public Prime Minister. Available at: http://www.kkoutlet.com/exhibitions/2015/the-public-prime-minister (Accessed: 24 November 2015)

Talks about an election show. This is a project that explores politician’s identity and puts the focus on society. The show is another attempt at subvertising, as the show description states that it’s the only place where “there’s a chance that day for your vote to actually count” As part of the gallery show, people are allowed to put themselves forward as the “Public Prime Minister” and vote for whoever’s policy they like the most. Policies can include taxing the rich or free tea for everyone.

LINK 6: KK Outlet (201) Where Children Sleep Available at: http://www.kkoutlet.com/exhibitions/2010/james-mollison (Accessed: 24 November 2015)

Where Children Sleep a book from photographer James Mollison that explores equality and how different children live are told through photographs of their bedrooms from around the world. I think it’s a different idea that we are not equal from our upbringing. The KK Outlet gallery space is launching the release of this book. I think it’s interesting to see how people have different objects from infancy, and what they are surrounded by and what they do in their lives, and also their prospects.

I could have continued to explore the KK Outlet website, as the website has easy links to all previous events launched at the venue.

I have been quite selective about what I click, making sure that I don’t waste my clicks since I couldn’t go back. (This was the challenge of the exercise) The Independent is quite open with its sources and links to other websites, which is how I was able to access other pages with content that was related.

 

Branding Choices 1 – Lego Case Study

LEGO: A Case Study

 

“Only the best is good enough,” (http://www.lego.com/en-gb/aboutus, 2015)

 

With this in mind, Lego has strived to develop its products in exciting and innovative ways to drive its business forward. The Lego toys are aimed to inspire and challenge children all across the globe to learn through imaginative and stimulating play. However, there is much more to LEGO than the familiar plastic building bricks. (Dibb and Simkin, 2001, pg. 64)

Since 1932, the company has stressed high emphasis on quality. Ole Kirk Kristiansen founded Lego by making and selling wooden toys. In 1949, Lego developed its first plastic bricks, and in 1958 the innovative discovery that tubes positioned inside the plastic bricks improved their ability to join together was implemented. (Dibb and Simkin, 2001, pg. 64)

At the beginning of the new century, Lego experienced huge financial problems as children’s demands shifted and technological advances meant fewer children played with the low-tech Lego construction sets and moved on to video and computer games. The company was able to bounce back by selling off some of its property and revitalising its products.

Lego has continued to be a successful toy company despite the competition because it remained focused in its core market. Lego has also launched other products to raise the brand awareness. Other lines of merchandise include theme parks, kids wear, bed linen, games, shampoo towels and a plethora of other accessories. Lego have launched a number of retail outlets which stock all types of lego products. (Dibb and Simkin, 2001, pg. 67)

LEGOLAND is also a huge part of the Lego brand awareness campaign. These parks are located in 5 countries across the globe, with rides and infrastructure designed specifically for children. The company also began taking on licensing deals, with one of its most successful toy lines being the Star Wars franchise Lego adaption. Lego didn’t stop there; the company also launched Harry Potter, DC Comics and Pirates of the Caribbean toy lines. As part of the non-stop enhancement program, Lego themed books and video games have been consistently launched. In 2014 the highly acclaimed The Lego Movie was released.

With the shifting tides, the company’s brand has also changed. Just looking at the logos, the company image has shifted drastically. From heavy, black fonts of the 1930’s to an introduction of red in the 1950’s, the logo had undergone a complete transformation. in the mid 1950’s , the Lego logo began to look as something that we would recognise today. The company image changed, just as their products did. From wooden toys to plastic bricks, the Lego logo has changed from something old to a new, fresh, eye popping image which attracted kids for generations, and will continue to do so as Logo develop new ways of creating something familiar.

No matter what the challenges the future may bring, Lego will continue to overcome them with it’s focus on children, and their aims will continue to reflect creativity, learning and imagination. Will the company image continue to shift as well? Lego has been quite adamant in its claims to quality and innovation. Will it persist with its company image? Who knows, perhaps in a couple years time Lego could have a green background, just like Coke had decided to change it’s coke can.

 

 

References:

(2015) Available at: http://www.lego.com/en-gb/aboutus (Accessed: 17 November 2015)

(2015) Available at: http://www.lego.com/en-gb (Accessed: 17 November 2015)

Craig, E. (2014) How Legos Licensed the Unvierse, and Ended up Ruling Us All Available at: http://www.wired.com/2014/02/infoporn-legos/ (Accessed: 17 November 2015)

Delingpole, J. (2009) When Lego lost its head – and how this toy story got its happy ending (2009) Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1234465/When-Lego-lost-head–toy-story-got-happy-ending.html (Accessed: 17 November 2015)

Dibb, S. and Simkin,L. (2001) The Marketing Casebook: Cases and Concepts 2nd edn. London: Thompson Learning

Howard, J. (2013) 5 Amazing Examples of Successful Rebranding Available at: http://pencilscoop.com/2013/04/5-amazing-examples-of-successful-rebranding (Accessed: 17 November 2015)

 

Biblipgraphy:

Wikipedia (2014) The Lego Movie https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lego_Movie (Accessed: 17 November 2015)

 

Branding Choices – Museum of Brands and Packaging

Museum of Brands and Packaging.

Tuesday, 3rd of November 2015.

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As part of our Branding Choices module, we were told to go to the Museum of Brands and Packaging (or, Museum of Brands) to do a review of the current exhibition. Unfortunately the museum is in the process of moving, and I only got to sample a small section of the type of exhibition it will have on offer in the future.

Once I paid the admission fees, I proceeded to go to the temporary gallery space. To the left of the cafe, I was immediately welcomed by a wall of radios, going back decades. Starting off with the early types, and ending with the more modern ones.

Through the corridor to the right is a small room which is fitted out with dark cases and carpet. Here you can find displays of a specific item “through the years”. Some of these included Cadbury, Guinness, Persil, Dettol and many others. (This list is not exhaustive.)

Through the room, which serves as a sort of “atrium”, you are enticed by the light to go further into the next room. This room is brighter, bigger than the first. There are large windows which let in a lot of natural light, which is nice for a change as a lot of museums use artificial light. The bright space and open cases allow for a 360 view of the room. At first I didn’t know where to look!

From the left, the displays were arranged chronologically along the walls of the room. Each case dedicated to the decade, the items included created a good notion of what types of products were used and how they were marketed.

The glass displays were quite tall, but not so tall that you couldn’t see the things that were on the top. I think this is a nice touch.

Each display case had a short summary of the events which took place during the years, including political movements, pastimes and entertainment, and popular subjects of the time such as exploration and innovation. I particularly enjoyed reading these because they shed light on why the packets were created the way they are. It was interesting to see window displays and posters outside of their context. For example:

“PEACETIME PERSIL in it’s WARTIME PACKET

Nowadays Persil packets look less attractive than usual. But they’re saving precious paper – thinner card made from waste is used. Persil itself is unchanged – as good as ever.”(Museum of Brands, 2015)

I didn’t like the fact that there were four or five packets of the same brand, when that space could have been taken up by other items. The cases were also small, which is understandable since the museum was still moving, but owing to this the items displayed screamed “selection”. It was good to be able to look at a small fragment of the future exhibits rather than none at all, however I was aware of a slight bias. If I see the full exhibition, will it trigger similar thoughts or will I feel entirely different about it?

Another thing which frustrated me was not knowing which items were from each year. While it was interesting to see the progression of brands and packaging through the decades, it would also have been interesting to see how they progressed from year to year. Perhaps this is something the museum will introduce in the full exhibition, which will come out January next year.

References:

Museum of Brands (2015) Available at: http://www.museumofbrands.com/ (Accessed: 3 November 2015)

Branding Choices 1 – Week 4

Part 1: Week 4

“Can questions predetermine answers?” (Tomasula, 2004, p. 198)

As part of our lecture we had to write five questions. Include one of each:

  1. Multiple choice (single or multiple answers)
  2. Open-ended
  3. Ordinal scale (rank a range of items)
  4. Interval scale (“on a scale of 1 to 8, with 1 being x and 8 being y, how satisfied are you with…)
  5. Ratio scale.

The questions could be anything based on the material covered in class, or our reading material.

Here are my questions and the are the answers given by three people:

Question 1: Do you think that propaganda images are a form of brand?

PERSON 1: Maybe

PERSON 2: Yes

PERSON 3: Yes

Question 2: Do you think that political parties should use a logo or brand? If so, why?

PERSON 1: They do. Labour party – red. Tories – blue. I think they already do. Don’t kow, maybe not. As soon as you see a logo or brand you can influence people in ways that maybe aren’t ethical.

PERSON 2: They have a logo but I don’t know it it’s the right thing. Is it right to represent a party in one image? Better for a person to say what they believe. Logos can intimidate people.

PERSON 3: They do have logos, they don’t need it. It’s not necessary. A logo can’t speak for itself.

Question 3:  Rank this range of political movements in terms of how corrupt you think they are?(1 being most corrupt, 5 being least corrupt)

  • Nazi Party
  • North Korea (Communist Party)
  • Chinese Revolution
  • Soviet Russia
  • Communist Cuba

PERSON 1:

  1. North Korea (Communist Party)
  2. Nazi Party
  3. Soviet Russia
  4. Chinese Revolution
  5. Communist Cuba

PERSON 2:

  1. North Korea
  2. Soviet Russia
  3. Nazi Party
  4. Communist Cuba
  5. Chinese Revolution

PERSON 3:

  1. Soviet Russia
  2. Chinese Revolution
  3. Nazi Party
  4. Communist Cuba
  5. North Korea

Question 4: On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being the least affected and 5 being the most affected, how would you rate your experience when you see the Swastika in a modern context?

PERSON 1: 3

PERSON 2: 4 or 5

PERSON 3: 3

Question 5: How many political designers do you know about?

PERSON 1: Not many. 0.

PERSON 2: A few. 3.

PERSON 3: 1.

Going back to the quote which I wrote at the beginning of my post:

“Can questions predetermine answers?” (Tomasula, 2004, p. 198)

I think the answer is yes. Our lecture covered Ethics, and what that means. It also made me think of my own ethics and what my ethics would be once I began to work professionally.

A part of my lecture also covered ethical interviews, and what it means to be an ethical researcher. When asking people questions, I think you need to be objective. You must ask questions that are fair and don’t predetermine results, not leading questions.

We also looked at other people’s ideas of ethics, including Victor Papanek, Jan van Toorn and Lucienne Roberts. We also looked at The American Institute for Graphic Arts.

References:

Tomasula, S. (2004)Vas: An Opera in Flatland 2nd edn. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press

Life Drawing – Oct 2015

A different model. I think I’m starting to get into the swing of drawing again. I think the fact that we are given more time helps a lot. I’m able to go into a lot more detail than before. I don’t know if I put them in the right order, but this is roughly the set of poses that I drew during the class.

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For the first sketch we just drew however we wanted.

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For this exercise we were unable to look at the page. I tried to minimalise looking at the page.

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This was an exercise where I wasn’t able to take my charcoal off the page – continuous drawing. It’s interesting because it helped me to see how everything in the drawing is connected.

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This was the last drawing I did that evening. There was A LOT of foreshortening, and I had some serious trouble (as always) with drawing the face.

Vas: An Opera in Flatland

Vas: An Opera in Flatland

a novel by Steve Tomasula

Art + Design by Stephen Farrell

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BOOK REVIEW:

I found it difficult to concentrate on the main story. It was a type of “inception” plot, where the story is written inside the story.

The title “Vas: An Opera in Flatland” is a reference to many things that are happening in the book. It’s an apt title, I think. Only towards the end was I realising that the book was written not from the “author’s” point of view (of course it was because who else wrote it) but the plot was made to appear as if it was written by the main character… who was going to have a medical procedure. More specifically, a (vasectomy?) This book is an exploration of the thinking process this “man” went through whilst preparing for “the procedure”, as the writer managed to point out quite a number of times. “They never call it sterilisation.” (Man = Square, Procedure = Sterilization)

The book is set in “Flatland”, and the main characters are represented as geometric shapes. However, it’s quite easy to forget this and picture just any kind of place (speaking in relation to realistic dimensions). The main character is a middle-aged man who is a writer (Square), a stay at home father. His wife is a lawyer (Circe), and their daughter is Oval.

The couple had many problems related to conceiving, and Circle has had enough of putting up with the problems. (As she has been doing up to that point). These problems include a miscarriage, inability to give birth naturally and therefore resulting in a c-section, and an abortion resulting from negative screenings and high risks to health. (This is the mother’s and child’s health)

The main plot of the book is about Square struggling to come to terms with the fact that he will have to “go under the knife.” Square obviously has no sympathy from his wife, and misled encouragement from his mother in law to have another child who thinks that Circle has had two miscarriages instead of just one – and an abortion. Circle’s mother encourages the couple to go and see “an Opera”, believing that it will change things for the better. However, when Square manages to finally persuade Circle to go to the Opera with him, it only leads to the conclusion of the plot, the inevitable fact that he will have the procedure done. Hence, the title.

The sub plots are all about his (Square’s) thought processes on genetics, society and our ideals, our moral values, sterilisation and the laws and legislation surrounding it, as well as experiments concerning race superiority and selective breeding.

The book is filled with many shocking quotes and statistics from people and places that you wouldn’t expect. There’s a chart that displays the names, age, measurements and year of hosted Miss America beauty pageants which shows how trends in “beauty” have changed. (pg.238) There are many visuals and pieces of text that make you reconsider the information we know, and this book also makes you rethink some of the decisions people make. Some of these decisions are quite difficult and extremely controversial – this book touches on the idea that all life is beautiful, but mankind doesn’t see it.

This book is extremely thought provoking, which I think is it’s main aim. It takes the reader on a journey that doesn’t have an obvious route. The (digressions) don’t seem to move the plot, but through them the reader is able to appreciate the chaotic thought process we undergo. Irrational yet logical, sporadic yet organised. I think that is what this book is.

Some of the shifts in plot, for sometimes the book deviates from the main story altogether, seem at first to have no connection at all, but later on when the audience is reintroduced to the main plot, although it seems like it’s skips, the transition from one to the other feels natural because the information sandwiched in between is useful. It touches on some interesting ideas and topics that help the reader form an understanding and side with the dilemma Square is faced.

There were also a couple of “A Ha!” moments when the author made reference something I’ve read previously. The first of these was a reference to subliminal advertising. Circle slips in an advert about Viagra and Square notices, making a comparison to the person who “bought into both coke and popcorn only because ads had been slipped in between the frames of a musical comedy”.  (Tomasula, 2004, p. 182)

As with most things that are visual, the graphics in the book are open to interpretations. Some of the content I felt was unnecessary, whilst some I thought was a vital addition to the story even though it wasn’t a part of the main plot. The extra information was useful in some cases, while in some, the text was used merely for visual effect and in my opinion – shock value.

In order to appreciate the book fully, I think a person should read it in the physical format. (I have no idea if an e-book is available) The design of the book is great, and I think it can only be appreciated when held physically. That way you can admire the double spread layouts and get frustrated at the tightness of the spine – as some of the text is small and cut off because of the stitching.

I would recommend this book. It’s not an easy read because I think it requires concentration. There is so much going on at the same time that I was wondering sometimes if the author would ever go back to the main plot. However, it’s definitely interesting, thought provoking and intelligent in its use of graphics and text.

Reference:

Tomasula, S. (2004)Vas: An Opera in Flatland 2nd edn. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press