Design For Where You Are

I was pondering about contextual branding today. Looking at Pinterest, I note a range of exciting design solutions that are artistically vibrant and visually engaging, but there is a ‘but’. These designs, from all over the World, are crafted for their given marketplace. Each marketplace allows for different levels of accepted style based upon a chosen criteria of the target demographic which includes considerations about gender, age, wealth, education, fashion and culture etc. What might be culturally engaging for one country can be very different for another. Check out Brand Fails in your own time for more on this.

As you can see a designer in Thialand or India or China can make a monumental faux pas because they’re having a punt at what they think might fly in a given marketplace and not what they know will fly.  I, for instance, feel I have a pretty good grasp of what is contexual to the Northern Ireland and UK marketplace. Whereas the sarcastic reader will be thinking that it’s a stroke of luck to be born in such a place it is important to know the marketplace you design for otherwise you’re a fish out of water.

You could say that the design ethos of Porche is aimed at a affluent clientele but equally you can say that Porche isn’t aimed at the unrich. Whereas both the statements seem to say the same thing there is an important distinction. The right brand design in advertising takes into account the people you never have to appeal to and sets them to one side – purely on the basis of how the design construct reaches our eyeballs. Powerful stuff. Prestige brands don’t have to put fluorescent card discounts on their products because, somehow, we know that it’s something not within out price band. That’s the genius of brand design. So we understand when, ‘It’s not for us’. It’s the visual equivalent of traffics lights. Green is the right design for the right marketplace for the right customer. Amber, is the weak brand that wants to be green but it’s not the colour your customer wants.


That said, the ole punk in me says there’s always room for someone to break the trend and make a new one.

Viva la Design Revolution!