Layers Magazine
Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Although people generally associate branding with the aspects of a brand they can see, the visual side of branding is only the tip of the iceberg. It is the aspect of a brand people generally fall in love with and it is also the aspect of branding that draws designers and visually-oriented people like moths to a flame. 

Not only is a brand dependent on a robust business comprised of products and services but businesses are generally determined and run by people who tend to think and express themselves in words. Brand strategists also tend to work almost exclusively in words and at most draw on diagrams to illustrate principles where the use of words would prove tedious. In my experience, the most successful branding projects are those that have in place a coherent strategy in a single document. A strategy wherein, ideally, a single idea expressed in words has been agreed with the client, an idea that best represents the essence of the positioning and for which a brand identity should form the fullest expression.

Drawing on my experience working with various top-line brand consultancies in London I've followed closely the various methodologies on offer. Most interesting to me is how these methodologies enable brands to become more effective. This, in combination with my interest in what things mean (in the broadest sense), has placed me in a position to put brands in the context of all purposeful pursuits with which people concern themselves, including philosophy, art, religion, science and language. And, against which every type of brand can be understood and measured.

Earlier this year, on the strength of David Airey's recommendation, Chris Main, the editor of Layers Magazine asked me to write a feature article on branding. I leaped at the opportunity as it would enable me to demonstrate my observation and conclusions about brands and branding to a size-able audience. Layers Magazine is Adobe's technical magazine aimed at the creative industry who use Adobe products, many of whom are freelancers or creative people who run small businesses. The magazine is US-based and has a respectable print run of 65 000 and a website that draws heavy traffic.

The editors at Layers received my article extremely well and I was asked to expound on some of my points to enhance the article with very little editorial intervention. My article was not only a feature article but was published as the cover story of the May/June 2010 issue. Best of all I got paid for writing an article I would probably have seriously considered writing for free.

Click on the image above to go to the article as a published work on this website.