“Don’t judge a book by its cover”
One of those sayings that seem it will forever be valid. I remember this ideal being quoted and portrayed in some of my favourite time-wasters from days gone by e.g. Bambi and The Pagemaster. Yet as we grow up, this piece of advice becomes lost in superficiality and replaced by the importance of good presentation equalling good reputation. Whether it is lost from inevitable judgement of peers, romantic interests or objects, we ALL become guilty of sometimes judging a book by its cover. It is why I believe we then come to have a funny relationship with the logo and brand packaging. We don’t want to become fools of consumerism, but we can’t help it! Choosing a certain product because it is visually appeasing. Buying a product because knowledge of said product says something about whom we are and what we have come to learn in life. Realising you rather like certain logos, packaging or campaigns. They can look good and they can be clever. These are all factors of logos and packaging that help to seal the deal.
The Quiet Shop in No Noise at Selfridges attempted to question the power of branding within logos and bring people back to the bare basics. Producing a line of iconic and treasured items with parts of their aesthetic removed challenged the poignancy of image. Although it was still clear to see what brand the product belonged to, you get their drift. The No Noise campaign implemented in January (2013), came just after the yearly hectic rush of buying everything in sight for one day of consistent hedonism – a time we have grown to both love and hate. Remembering its roots through the recreation of The Silence Room is a space originally conjured by founder Harry Gordon Selfridge in a bid to relax shoppers and remind them all is well. In the 21st century edition rules in this area included no shoes and no phones (or other technical devices I assume). Apparently No noise is ‘an initiative that goes beyond retail’, however, it is clear Selfridges realise the irony of it all as they go on to say goods from The Quiet Shop will become ‘exclusive collector’s items of the future’. Many of those available sold out within days. The only reason this outcome was inevitable lay in the choice of products up for grabs. With most of them being iconic symbols of Britain and the other few now having long-term international status, stripping away bits of their logo meant nothing, the key was in the years of clever campaigns, branding and visibility that predated No Noise. These items had already been judged and approved.
It is clear logos are still important in our buying choices but do we decide this or is it decided for us? We all feel in control of how we spend our money because after all we are the most prominent agents involved in such transactions, but what about all the advertising or sometimes lack thereof, that help attribute to an image with which we would like association to. In addition the inescapable reality of judging what is in front of you doesn’t help. Being aware of how others perceive you, your ideals and lifestyle on the basis of such choices, means that as much as we are in control in the physical sense, others have a huge influence we at times can not see. As we are constantly being judged and constantly judging, it seems who decides how important they are switches back and forth from us to them.
Designers like Moschino and Versace reference logos and iconography in a way I am quite obsessed with: humour, style and irony. I love traditional styles of logos as well as the in-your-face-brash and conceptual styles we see more of today. I am happy to say BOTH are still going strong.
having a laugh
Tom Sachs making Mcdonalds look bog-standard with the help of Kate Moss.