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The Adaptive Brand

“Consistency, consistency” used to be the mantra of brand identity gurus in the 20th century. In prior decades, brand managers aimed to establish their products and services primarily by way of consistency and repetition. And it was the goal of the designer was to define identity systems that would ensure compliance and coherence in all of the brand’s manifestations, as codified in brand identity style guides.

But we now live in a different context. The postmodern society is infinitely more fluid and diverse so, to trying to predict and codify all potential instances of a brand’s current identity can be counterproductive. Therefore, consistency — while still desirable — should not necessarily be the main driver of a brand identity system.

Brands should nowadays give themselves permission to be more surprising, to flirt with their customers, to listen to what they have to say and to cater to their desires. A modern brand should take leaps of faith, abandon self-obsessions and embrace risk. Conversely, by not doing this, the brand could become irrelevant in a hurry.

Because of the dominance of social media, brand identities can now be defined more by their customers than by the companies themselves. The ideal balance, however, stems from the ability to be flexible while keeping intact the core principles and attributes that formed the brand in the first place. Without such grounding, a brand becomes a changeling — morphing its shape to any external whim and impulse and rendering itself amorphous, or even anonymous.

This fresh approach to defining a brand can be liberating for designers, brand managers and the public. It tends to result in more immersive, delightful and rewarding customer experiences, and it is at the heart of a recent spate of “loose” brand identity executions whose core elements nevertheless remain. Designers have yet to exhaust the full potential of this new method, but many instances already point the way. One great example is the branding for the City of Melbourne.

Patrick Jackson Design
(Article extracts courtesy of Smashing Magazine)

Cultural ‘Spring’: Lebanon

Following the Arab Spring there are some very interesting and creative ideas emerging from the Middle-East. The Outpost is a lovely new magazine from Lebanon that aims to awaken a social and cultural renaissance in the Arab world through inspiring its readers to explore a world of possibilities.

Read more at: Incredible Types.





Retracing the Trunk

A history and celebration of the Louis Vuitton trunk through projection mapping on a blank trunk. Very nicely done.

Louis Vuitton Presents Retracing the Trunk from Louis Vuitton on Vimeo.

The only purpose of ‘customer service’

We – individuals, companies or organisations – are involved with ‘customer service’ in one way or another. Here’s some very sound and clear-headed advice, courtesy of Seth’s Blog:

Customer Service is to change feelings. Not the facts, but the way your customer feels. The facts might be the price, or a return, or how long someone had to wait for service. Sometimes changing the facts is a shortcut to changing feelings, but not always, and changing the facts alone is not always sufficient anyway.

If a customer service protocol (your call center/complaints department/returns policy) is built around stall, deny, begrudge and finally, to the few who persist, acquiesce, then it might save money, but it is a total failure.

The customer who seeks out your help isn’t often looking to deplete your bank account. He is usually seeking validation, support and a path to feeling the way he felt before you let him down.

The best measurement of customer support is whether, after the interaction, the customer would recommend you to a friend. Time on the line, refunds given or the facts of the case are irrelevant. The feelings are all that matter, and changing feelings takes humanity and connection, not cash.

(Courtesy Seth’s Blog:


Traditional Packaging by Lyons


This month sees the launch of newly designed packaging for Lyons cakes. Briefed to explore and celebrate the brand’s rich heritage, the new look plays back to its famous history of teashops and its waitresses from the 1890s.

With a long-standing tradition for ‘proper’ cakes, the brand was renowned for its nippy waitresses serving up affordable tea and cake to the masses. Having lost its way over the years, the redesign focused on communicating the brand’s story in a relevant and contemporary manner.

Read full article via lovelypackaging@: Lyons | Lovely Package.

US Branding Project Win

We have just been given the go ahead to redesign a major brand in the US. It will include a look at branding, identity work, website development and publicity items.

We will be working closely with marketing and advertising companies both here in the UK and in the US as well as developers from around the globe to get the job done. So, there’s a real sense of international collaboration on this one. And, hopefully, a few more meeting sunny Tennessee!

More on this in the weeks to come.

Pentagram Design Celebrates 40 Years


Pentagram has been at the very forefront of design for the last 40 years. They have had a huge influence on graphics, interiors and architecture, and have been the inspiration for many design students across the globe (including us at PJD).

Founded on June 12, 1972, in London by the designers Alan Fletcher, Colin Forbes, Theo Crosby, Kenneth Grange and Mervyn Kurlansky. The company was formed when Pentagram’s predecessor, Crosby Fletcher Forbes, added two new partners, Grange and Kurlansky, expanding the multi-disciplinary partnership to five.

For the anniversary the 19 current Pentagram partners, under the creative direction of Harry Pearce, have designed a series of posters for the 40 years since Pentagram’s birth. Each partner created posters for two or three different years, and the only parameters for the series were the use of black, white and red (Pentagram Warm Red, of course).

See the full story at Pentagram:  Forty Posters for Forty Years | New at Pentagram.

Going Global

We have recently created a brand mark for the global services offered by Harrogate based interim management provider, Interim Partners. This new service, called ‘International Capability’, is aimed at placing highly experienced interim managers with multi-national companies in the UK and in North and South America, the Middle East, Asia, Australasia, Africa and across Europe.

The globe motif will primarily be used online to distinguish this particular aspect of the business from Interim Partners’ other online services.

Interim Partners is a Sunday Times Fast Track 100 company.

Patrick Jackson Design)

Brands: the tale of two smoothies.

You may not know this but, at one point in the 1990′s there were two major smoothie brands in the UK – Innocent and PJ’s. Both of them started as small independent producers but their futures were destined to be very different. And branding had a lot to do with their fates.

PJ’s was launched in 1994 and, even though most people I talk to don’t remember it, the product soon became the UK’s number one smoothie brand. Innocent entered the market 5 years later in 1999. Despite PJ’s being sold to PepsiCo in 2005 and having the backing of this huge multi-national, sales went downhill – and the brand was eventually scrapped in 2008. At the time, many pointed to that fact that they had started to use concentrates in their smoothies. But most now agree that their branding was a major factor in its demise. Innocent had a clearer vision about how to build their brand – the combination of innovative ideas and ethical values proved to be a great success. They skillfully embodied these qualities in everything they did – their childlike identity, their no-nonsense ads and even their simple bottle shape. In comparison the PJ’s brand, such as it was, simply could not compete.

For us, the lesson is clear – when launching a new product your chances of success are hugely increased if your brand is robust, unique and clearly defined. Brand design and development isn’t just a case of making things ‘look good’, it’s about having a fundamental understanding of human communication and the culture in which the brand will exist.

Patrick Jackson Design)

In a nutshell: Promotional Literature

Promotional literature should projects a message of distinctiveness – a memorable and appealing introduction (or re-introduction) to the unique qualities of a product, service or experience. Whether it’s a beautifully crafted product brochure or contemporary catalogue, an intriguing invitation or witty piece direct mail its implicit purpose remains constant – to raise brand awareness and increase sales.

To see our promotional work please visit the Promotional Material section of our website.

Patrick Jackson Design)

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