If by chance you watched the 2010 Academy Awards you may have noticed that the “Animated Short” category was won by the film called Logorama, directed by the French animation collective H5. This interesting film, like so many others, has actually proven to be a bit controversial. But I do think one thing remains clear — so many of our environments are “branded” in many ways and at many levels.
In Logorama, the entire animated environment is made up of logos, brands and slogans to depict an entire world with much of the complexity of ours. To give you a better idea of what I’m talking about…the following is a short trailer to give you a quick glimpse at the world of branding which Logorama creates:
From an architectural point of view, this animated short film brings up some old and new questions regarding architecture, “signage” and branding — whether it be stylistic branding or more additive branding. For instance, how might your building be perceived, after all of the hard work you put into designing it, when a well-known “brand” it added to your building by way of signage, corporate cultural identity or even by its proximity to another built form with a strong “branded” identity?
The latter are some interesting questions, but first, you may need to ask this — Is branding and architecture really a bad combination? I mean, to some extent everything might be “branded” — as if branding is inherently woven into all designs in our built environment. Is perhaps “branding” something that we humans do as we perceive objects, places, people and so on? If so, is there such a thing as good branding or bad branding? And how do you know the difference?
All of these questions lead me to ask whether the final “branding” on a building overshadows the original design intent. After all, don’t architectural features that you integrate into your designs, even though they are not necessarily a “logo”, become brands which encapsulate or stick with your occupants experience of your building? So then I must ask, does branding go hand in hand with what makes a built form and its experience memorable? And where is that fine line which divides more overt branding from more subtle impression?
I think Logorama is a very intriguing short film in that it makes us confront one way in which we have labeled, and furthermore interpreted, the things and experiences which make up the world in which we live. And since architecture plays a major role in the development and follow-through of that built environment, you as an architect, should be well-aware of how your building gets “branded”, both intentionally and by chance.
You should ask questions like: Who will have the majority of say in how my building gets branded? What will I be able to control about how my building gets branded? And how will my overall body of architectural work be branded — in a stylistic manner, in a functional manner, in an iconic manner, in an experiential manner and so on?
So, think about branding and all that might come with it when you delve into where you are in your architectural career. When designing, interpretation is fundamentally linked with both aesthetics and function — but you must also wonder what it is about your architectural design work that you are trying to “sell’ (if anything)? And then step back and consider whether it “sells” itself.
By asking such questions you might get to the root of not only your design intent, but also the success or failure of your design’s outcome.
Image Credit: © laurenatclemson | Flickr
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