Practice Investigation Reflection

Initially looking into brand colours and the representation of a ‘cheap’ brand and a ‘luxury’ led me to look at store sale signs and the distinctive red, yellow, blue white and black blocks of colours used. Throughout this search I also looked into store brands that contained these colours, or to a very similar CMYK colour value.
After looking at juxtaposed colours I began to look at brand juxtapositions and discovered differentiation is an important strategy for companies when branding their products in comparison to their competition. I had also learnt there is little difference between many product brands; only the class aesthetics associated with the product in their advertising campaign.
One well known example I had decided to look at was the Aldi Adverts created by McCann Manchester. The adverts gently mock famous brands successfully. In each advert scenario they would represent a famous brand, adding “they like that specific brand, but they also like the Aldi brand too.” Adding nothing too critical towards the rival brand, only adding honesty and suggesting that their customers think there is not much difference in taste from the recognisable brand, to the cheaper Aldi brand.

I have recently been collaborating with Chester Performs on their most recent project ‘Rogues’ Galleries’. The main point of the project is to address the struggles the high street has with homogeneous brands and the effect this has on original thought. I thought the project would be a fantastic opportunity to work with some of the artists and their artistic approach to answering this particular brief as part of my MA, with currently looking into mass behaviour and the consumer. I had the opportunity to collaborate with Art Director Hester Chillingworth who had put together an installation including a collection of ‘SALE’ signage.
Sold as Seen is a collection of professionally made red and white ‘SALE’ signage which play tricks with well-known sale phrases changing their meaning and opening up questions about the price of retail whilst skewing their meaning and reach. Looking into shop sale signage as part of my project I think this is a particularly interesting approach. I noticed myself giving them a second look when walking past Hester’s installation, and could have easily have mistaken these for actual sale and closing down signs.

As we become increasingly bombarded with information and stimulation, the world is becoming a noisier place. In an initiative that went beyond retail, and to celebrate the power of quiet amongst the crowds, Selfridges in London had put together a collection of minimalist design which I was fortunate to visit. The Quite Shop included fashion, accessories and beauty products. Some of the world’s most recognisable brands including Beats by Dre, Levi’s, Marmite and Crème de la Mer had taken the symbolic step of removing their logos in the exclusive collection of “de-branded” products.

My findings has led me to look more into mass behaviour and consumption. I believe consumers are constantly aiming to buy into a lifestyle, and wanting to meet the mannerisms associated with the product and advertisement in a way that reflects their values and attitudes. I believe they relate to specific brands in a manner of the way they wish to be living. Initially concentrating on one area I will question ‘honesty’ in branding through food products.
Other than the Aldi products, many products are advertised in a way which is either extremely positive ‘false’ or extremely negative ‘Shockvertising’ which is aimed to encourage or deliberately offend its audience. I will create a series of packaging design and advertisements that will display these brands in an honest way, later analysing and questioning to discover how these differ to the original brand class aesthetics associated with the product.