Tag Archives: marketing

Rebirth/Rebranding: An Unwanted Sequel?


A lot has happened since my last entry but the motivation for the blog remains the same. Little responsibilities have gotten in the way but here is Urban Peanut: A Gallery’s redux. It’s still far from becoming a brick and mortar gallery but here it is with a vengeance.

The theme of rebirth has fascinated humanity for a long time and various faiths and schools of thoughts have found new beginnings, for better or for worse, to be inspiring; this might offer a small clue about why popular brands rebrand.

The Gap, Starbucks, and American Apparel have in the last couple of months decided that a new take on their respective logos for different reasons.

For the Gap, the general consensus about their new logo was so utterly horrible that within days. I am quite certain that Monster.com received new business in the aftermath.

Starbucks’ reason to rid its logo of its written word is valid; to reach new, non-English speaking markets is a goal that any company would like to have on its five year plan, to the dismay of some loyalists who might feel alienated.

Just walking on Queen Street over the weekend, I noticed that American Apparel on Toronto’s esteemed street, also went through a little facelift. (I tried looking for a press release regarding the new look and was unsuccessful.) I was thinking of using ‘touchup’ but changing the typeface is  closer to butchery and is not turning anyone on as much as their well-placed ads on the back of weekly magazines, right after the adult ads. Inspiration: ugly script is the new Helvetica.

The more image-saturated our daily lives become, the more we rely on visual cues to speed up the way we process information. Logos symbolize, in one image, what we want and expect. It is still a mystery to me why the Gap thought it would be a good idea to change their logo. A new beginning evokes hope and rebirth/rebranding is on the same plane. Ultimately, though, rebirth can sometimes just mean a second hack at life as a dung beetle.



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Filed under City Life, graphic design, History, ideas, lifestyle

Analog branding, or, wax on, wax off.

From an archaeology dig in England

A strong brand can occupy hot real estate on a person’s brain, my marketing textbooks say so. Companies invest serious dollars (or euros, yens, pesos, rupees, etc.) to have obtain permanent residence in the perception of consumers.

Leaving imprints is a matter of history and communication. Archaeologists have studied hieroglyphics, cave wall markings, and journals, among other things. Sigillography is the field of inquiry for seals, the symbolic kind and not the animals.

Wax seals were used by individuals on their correspondence as a means to seal close envelopes, and with a signet ring, officializes the transaction. Monarchs and the Church gave their thumbs up through seals. Don Corleone had nothing on these kings, queens and popes whose rings were more than what people kissed; signet rings, which contained coats of arms, were used to sign letters, accords, and contracts.

Before rubber stamps and inkpads at government offices, signet rings held authority that put traitors and suspected witches to their deaths. Nowadays, the wait for getting approval can be so time and energy consuming that the wait is enough to cause a natural death due to ennui. Too much of a stretch? No.


Filed under Archaeology, art, fashion, History, ideas, lifestyle