The brand promise of the Jolly Roger

Warren Berger’s Glimmer covers similar ground to Tim Brown’s Change by Design, but is possibly the more useful of the two as it offers a more comprehensive overview of the modern design community.  The main protagonist of the piece, Canadian designer Bruce Mau, is a fascinating character.  His Massive Change project opened up a space for designers to move from creating aesthetically pleasing works for the Seanie Fitzes of this World to designing innovative solutions to problems across the corporate, social and third world communities.  It’s the kind of project that would do wonders for Ireland at the moment as salvation will not come from the fat gombeens who drink in the front bar of your local but the creative outsiders who are about to jump on the next flight out of here.

The book was well worth buying for this passage alone.

“The designer Brian Collins points out that everything that one needs to know about designing a compelling experience can be learned from Blackbeard….’Just imagine yourself back in those times, sailing in a Spanish galleon on the Carribean…You look out and notice another ship in the distance.  When you peer through the telescope to get a better look at that ship, you see a flag flying. As it gets closer, you can make out what’s on the flag – a skull and crossbones.  As soon as you see that symbol, you know exactly what kind of experience is in store for you.’  As Collins explains, that pirate “brand” had a story behind it that everyone knew, and the story was built and reinforced by memorable experiences – all of the previous legendary encounters that had taken place between the pirates and other ships.  [Everything about that experience] was symbolised in that designed logo, which sent a clear message to all who saw it.  ‘It was a brand promise,’ Collins says, ‘and the promise was: You’re F****d.’



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