Branding – How Have Brands Changed Over Time

Branding have evolved over time, and I think it’s important to understand the origin of branding so I understand the concepts used to create a powerful brand.

How has the meaning changed:

950        A burning piece of wood, a torch

1552       A mark made by burning, for example on cattle

1827      A trade-mark made on a product

1958      The impression of a product in the minds of consumers

From about 1660, people began burn marks into property, particularly cattle, to give identity and ownership. In 1820 people began to use the word “brand” to refer not only property, but products. These marks signified origin and quality. This meant customers could identify products easier and quicker, knowing that quality was assured. Companies in turn, could potentially charge a higher price for a quality product.

The imagery of branding very quickly appeared in art. This shows the social and cultural understanding of brands.

From 1920, companies started to use mass media to powerfully exploit the market place and give their products exposure like never before.  Companies associated their products with deep emotional benefits such as improved self image, pleasure. This idea encouraged customers to stay loyal to the brand and buy more of the product.

By the 1950’s, advertising became more sophisticated. Instead of just saying the product was delicious and refreshing, it exploited peoples need to improve self esteem and image, saying you’ll feel better after the great taste of coca-cola.

In 1980, branding revolutionised further. The term “brand” was used not only to identify products, but also to identify whole organisations. This idea historically was called corporate identity. Companies were able to create a relationship with a brand, with the customer feeling a strong sense of belonging and therefore encouraging people to buy whatever the company had made.

All of these versions of brand are still in use today, so there is no right or wrong answer to a solution. However I have found it really useful to delve into the history and understand how designers of big brands have triggered emotional connections with brands in order to ultimately drive sales and make the company successful in modern society.


Branding Research – What is a brand

In the next series of posts, I wish to demonstrate my development of knowledge of branding, understanding the key concepts in order to improve my final designs for the project.

I enrolled on the future learn course named “The Secret Power of Brands”. I will use this almost like a library of resources.

Definition of Brand: A name, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. A brand may identify one item, or a group of items from that seller. The legal term for a brand is trademark.

American Marketing Association


Brand = What it stands for

The perception of the brand from the wider world is what will make a brand stand out. Clear ideologies within the brand will make up a perception within the marketplace, enabling the brand to stand out.

For example:

People associate Disney with family fun due to its comic characters and vibrant colours.

Apple stands for intuitive design. Of course everyone knows the Apple logo, and this simple design can be associated with innovation and technology.

The BBC in a lot of places stands for authority, as they present the British governments ideologies through media.

I simpler understanding of the definition of a brand is the set of ideas a company or product stands for in people’s minds. Its shaped by that company or product’s actions and recognised through a visual and verbal style.

However, its not just a one way system where the brand controls the meaning to the consumer. The consumer also interprets the meaning of the brand in a social context, stimulating thoughts and discussions to form a perception to the consumer.

Punk Genre Research – Celebrity Branding

After gaining a better understanding of my Celebrity’s personality and music genre, I decided to conduct further research in to punk in both America and the UK.

Punk evolved in the 1970’s, which provided the music lovers with something they missed in the 60’s, danger. The genre took over from the hippie music from the previous decade, purposely promoting violence, sex and destruction. The world had never experienced such loud and in your face music, providing a culture shock that would be felt worldwide.

The first breakthrough came in the 60’s with bands such as Iggy & The Stooges and MC5. Loud, direct, and in your face, the audiences loved the ideology of rebelling against society. In America, the first movement in the punk world came from Detroit, however, the revolution grew out of two cities on the opposite side of the Atlantic.

One of the most influential clubs of the era sprung out of New York, CBGB. It was here that bands such as Television, Dead Boys, and Blondie were given their first real break. However, out of all the bands to come out of CBGB, the Ramones were the essence of punk.


Justin Sane Research

Initially, I did a quick google search of Justin Sane to gather a little background on him.

Key Points

  • Lead guitarist of band “Anti-Flag”
  • Singer / songwriter
  • Genre – Punk Rock
  • Nationality – American
  • Formed in 1988 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Hold dual citizenship in Ireland and US

After finding out he works in the music industry, I sampled some of his music from youtube to draw further understanding of the character I’m about to brand.


This music video below showed another dimension to the band. They use their music to address some very left wing issues in a very loud and angry fashion. These include social & political issues such as drugs, war, guns. A lot of their music is directly aimed to mock the high society, such as the corporations, government, and people in power. The message at the end of the video was “What are we going to do about the U.S.A.” and that basically sums up the ideologies of the band.

It suddenly clicked after listening to a few tracks that the name of the band “Anti-Flag” is also a reference to disliking America and its morals, appealing to a younger audience where reform and revolution within America can occur for future generations.

Again, this track addresses the issue of guns in America. “1 Trillion Dollars”, the title of the track, is the size of the arms market across the world. The lyrics “1 trillion dollars, could buy almost anything” is basically the idea of the song. Is there really a need for all the suffering guns cause when the money could buy anything else positive to the world.

I picked this video partly because of the interesting opening image. It shows a group of punk rockers erecting an upside down American flag. I learnt in our previous zine project, reversing the orientation of an image can give conotiontions of revolution. Again, this ties in with the bands ethical and moral slant on the punk genre.


Justin Sane Introduction – Celebrity Branding

After receiving the brief this morning, we thought of a list of interesting celebrities, cut them up and put them in a hat. We then drew from the hat at random, and that celebrity would be the focus of the branding project.

I was baffled when I received my celebrity, Justin Sane. I had never heard of him before! However, I think this is actually an advantage, as I can have an unclouded judgement of the character, and have a fresh approach to the task at hand.

In the next few posts, I want to take a look in depth about the kind of person Justin Sane is, what industry is he in? What are the connotations of this person?

Brief Analysis – Branding

Today we were given our first brief of the year, branding. This module is split into two parts.

Part one asks us to brand a Celebrity. It’s important to note the following:

  • Create branding that the celebrity would want to be portrayed, our own personal feelings about the person left aside.
  • Consider the connotations of the industry they operate in.
  • We must produce a logo, letterhead, business card, and compliment slip.

Initial Thoughts

  • Research is key – Understanding the industry they operate in, genre, style, and fashion sense.
  • What existing branding is out there for that celebrity.
  • What are the characteristics of the celebrity.
  • What colours may associate them to a certain style or genre.

Research – Summer Brief

After my initial brainstorming of ideas, I came to the conclusion that I will produce a series of sporting double page spreads. In the post I want to show extensive and detailed research into sporting articles to draw inspiration from.

Before delving into the resources I have gathered, I thought about the connotations of sport and what will the audience would expect to see.

  • Speed
  • Dynamic
  • Excitement
  • Bold, warm, contrasting colours
  • Strong subjects (Car, Bike etc)


I started by looking at this race guide produced for the riders of the Prudential London 100 ride on the 31st of July. Although I didn’t personally take part, my father did, and I travelled to London to watch him and thousands of other riders complete the course for charity.

As you can see, the front cover has been divided into three unequal sections, expanding the further the reader goes down the page. The designer has used a very warm orange for the top banner, introducing that exciting, summer/sport vibe. To add contrast, the text is white on top of the orange.

Interestingly, I recognise the typeface used for “Prudential Ride London – Surrey 100”, Bebas, a san serif typeface which I have used for other projects. Its bold, condensed appearance adds a contemporary feel to the design. The date of the event is lighter weighted and positioned below the title, adding contrast yet grouping the two pieces of information by likeness and colour.

The sole image positioned in the central horizontal section, shows riders turning a corner to begin an accent up a hill. The image says a lot about the event. Instead of focusing on the fast, dynamic angle of cycling, the image shows the enjoyment and leisure aspect of cycling. The main subject of the image shows a rider looking up the hill is positioned to below center and to the right. This lies comfortably on the page and and on the eye of the reader.


The magazine is full of exciting spreads, however I have picked a couple of my favourites and explain why.

The spread below is simple, yet effective and displays the information for the riders in a clear and systematic manner. The typefaces remain the same as the front page, providing brand recognition, so the reader isn’t confused by loads of different typefaces. The page on the left shows directions to the start of the course, using a red colour to mark the route. This colour scheme is then continued on opposite page, with the use of the same colour in the form of a box to contain further information about how to get to the event. There is certainly a grid system being used in the underlying design to create structure and interest. The designer has also used blending options such as multiply to reveal some detail of the image below.