Archive for the ‘Branding’ Category

An Innocent Rebrand?

March 18, 2020

Innocent’s social media team is back at it again, with their genius PR stunts.

After their ‘Pancake Tuesday‘ craze encouraging the public to use their lemon and lime sparkling drink rather than lemon on their pancakes, Innocent have hit us with a branding stunt. In terms of social media engagement and key messaging innocent hits the nail on the head with this stunt.

Innocent rebranding

Posting on their social media platforms, the juice brand announced new shiny labels for their smoothies, claiming the drinks are now boosted with even more vitamins than before. What looked like packaging created from WordArt, followers were left rather confused about their new, unoriginal designs.

As the online community often does, individuals quickly became critical of the new packaging, pointing out obvious errors.

Between the misuse of upper and lower case letters and simple spelling mistakes, not to mention the use of the comic sans font, the new labels were a complete disaster.

However, Innocent used the increased engagement to their advantage. Responding to one commenter ‘We wanted a fun font with a lot of energy. It might not be for everyone, but we think it really packs a punch, like the extra vitamins in our drinks.’ They were promoting their key messaging in their replies.

As more opinions flowed in, Innocent continued to announce more rebrands and new labels, exaggerating the comments they had received. When one individual said there weren’t enough pictures on the labels, Innocent came back with packaging with only pictures. Several joked that there wasn’t enough comic sans so Innocent went full throttle with the font and so on.

Innocent rebranding

Innocent re-branded a total of 12 times within 24 hours, with each rebrand as ridiculous as the next. 

While Innocent’s designs continued to receive a bashing, followers were delighted their opinions were being considered. The social media team continued to respond to their audience and made fun of the rebrand in the process mentioning over and over that their smoothies contained more vitamins, again reiterating their key messaging.

The stunt was completely genius! 

Some LinkedIn followers also copped on to their clever strategy “Looking at their Twitter, the Innocent team are responding to the hate with even more terrible designs, generating even more engagement. They know people love a moan and are quick to share their dislike so well played, as always innocent drinks! Great way to showcase the brand and flavours and get people talking!

Both rebranding and PR stunts can be risky business and are often open to backlash however, Innocent executed this stunt perfectly using the wit and satire, they are typically known for as well as running a clever experiment that showed them how people felt about their brand!

Niamh 

Niamh Lawlor is an Account Executive with Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork.

Taking away the fear and the power of great communications the KLM way

March 13, 2020

KLM Airlines - Coronavirus

I just received a very clever piece of personalised email correspondence from the President and CEO of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Pieter Elbers, which was designed to reassure anyone contemplating a flight with them that they are to be trusted during these worrying Coronavirus times.

It was really clever for a number of reasons..

It was Personalised

The email used my name…us customers love that!!

Really understanding the Customers Frame of Mind

The email understood my frame of mind perfectly and took me through a thought process step by step addressing my concerns and “What Ifs”.

The story in my head is that getting on a plane in a confined space with other people at the moment is one of very worst possible things that you could do. How can planes be cleaned between flights efficiently, what about all the places that a person will touch on the plane and what about the air circulation?

As a frequent traveler with KLM, you trust us to not only take you where you need to go, but to do so safely, comfortably and responsibly. Today, as the world comes to terms with an unprecedented health scare in COVID-19 (Corona virus), these values are more important to us than ever

His email addressed my fear and it reassured me step by step what they are doing at KLM to make sure that it is a safe environment.

He spoke about Safety and Hygiene procedures in very specific detail

  • Thorough cleaning and disinfecting before each departure itemising
    • Cleaning of galleys, carpets and toilets
    • Cleaning of tray tables, armrests, headrests and seatbelt buckles
  • Continuous cleaning by cabin crew in the air
  • Cabin air is continually refreshed with outside air
  • Using hospital-grade HEPA filters that are 99.99% effective in preventing airborne bacterial and viral organisms such as COVID-19
  • All flights have special Corona-kits and the team are trained in containment measures
  • Hygiene extends to catering, ingredients are fresh and locally sourced, strict guidelines to preparation

There was a link in the email to a video, which provided more information about hygiene at the airline.

While I was reading this impressive list of hygiene steps I was thinking of course that KLM would say this because they are protecting their interests and spinning the risks in their favour.

This was addressed:

“I fully understand the hesitation many people feel at the moment when deciding whether to book a flight or not. But you can feel secure in the knowledge that KLM has taken every precaution necessary to protect your health and the health of your loved ones.

In this emotional time, you can be assured that we are guided and consistently act by fact-based, circumstance-driven decision making. On a daily basis, we work closely with the top experts at the World Health Organization and Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (RIVM) in the Netherlands”

Beyond the Airline

And what about the other things that can go wrong about a journey that might have you unable to take the flight?

I also understand that your concern may not be about your journey with KLM, but about the many unknowns about the situation on the ground at your destination. That’s why you can book your KLM flight with the confidence of being able to change your booking without a change fee

It’s not exactly a refund but ..

Practical Information

The email provided practical information and demonstrated the professionalism of the airline

“We are in constant touch with all the relevant authorities to adjust our network as required. This means that we can immediately respond when new travel restrictions are announced. For the latest information on flight status, please visit our travel advisory page or use the KLM app and let us keep you posted 24/7 with push messages

Proud History and Customer Service Ethos

The email went on to highlight the history of the airline, the number of employees and the customer care ethos

“In 100 years of operations, KLM has faced many challenges and always emerged stronger. We were able to do so because we put you, our customer, at the heart of our operation. With that commitment in mind, I am confident that we will overcome this challenging time as well. As you know 33.000 KLM staff will go further to recognize your concerns and take care of you.”

We always preach to our clients that in their communications that they should weave in their ‘Key Messages’ – this was done here in a very clever, natural way.

Trust, Care, History, Customer Focus, Scale …. many boxes ticked!

Tone and Language 

All of the language used was appropriate, non-corporate and very down to earth and the tone was caring and inclusive, which was sealed in the email sign off

“Thank you for choosing KLM, and safe travels”

A Great Excuse to Communicate with Potential Customers!!

The most clever aspect of all with this email correspondence is that the Coronavirus, despite the horrible scenario, gave KLM a reason to reach out to all of their customers and remind them about their brand and prompt them to possibly think about them when booking flights in the future when things are hopefully back to normal.

It was a really long time since I flew KLM (I’m not sure what the GDPR police would be saying about this!!) but they have made me think about them in a really positive light which brings me to my very last point.

This is Positive PR

KLM have taken the opportunity (in awful circumstances) in a really nice, caring and soft way to reach out and tell a lot of people just how great they are!!

I’ve just told you about them..

So, a huge well done to KLM and their team for a really clever and well timed piece of correspondence that reminds us all about the power of great communications!

Can you do something similar with your customers today?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

How Innocent was the ‘Conker’ publicity stunt?

November 11, 2019

Innocent Conkers

The Coca-Cola owned brand Innocent, famous for its smoothies and juices, is a great recent example of how a communication’s team careful management of a publicity stunt gone wrong can save the reputation of the brand.

Running a very satirical social media narrative, Innocent have a habit of coming up with some “fake news” or stunt products such as ‘100% bits orange juice’ and ‘Marmite Smoothies’, however their autumn themed drink didn’t have the same success.

Innocent came up with the idea to poke fun at dairy free products by creating ‘Conker Milk’. They quickly received backlash as horse chestnuts are poisonous and could seriously harm those who consume them. Although they disclaimed they used edible chestnuts rather than horse chestnuts, people still didn’t really get the stunt.

They responded quickly announcing on Twitter their intentions for a clever advertisement and how it didn’t go to plan, tweeting ‘‘Hello everyone. Yesterday we made a mistake. Now we’re trying to put things right. Long story short: PLEASE DO NOT EAT OR MILK CONKERS

People forgave the brand rather quickly, responding lightly to their blunder, asking whether they should take the conkers out of the oven or if they should use acorns instead.

Innocent turned it into a campaign, urging people not to consume Conkers!

‘CONKERS. Don’t eat or milk them. In fact, avoid them at all costs, creating videos on how Conker Milk isn’t real and posting a fake campaign poster by the ‘Conkervatives’.

They made their message very clear. Innocent’s witty responses to their mistake and reiteration to not eat conkers, resulted in greater publicity than they previously imagined. This gave the brand the opportunity to shed light onto their very real and edible nut-based milk products.

Publicity stunts can be great to get people talking, to draw attention and create news but when they go wrong it’s crucial to handle it effectively. The results of a publicity stunt can be unpredictable so it’s important to take calculated risks every step of the way.

At Fuzion we love to push boundaries and be brave, and have done some stunts to create awareness of taboo subjects such as this Maxi Zoo stunt from their #ScoopThePoop campaign. However we always do a risk assessment (promise!!) before a stunt and we plan for the unexpected.

Innocent’s transparency and ability to make light of a situation, overshadowed their lack of thought and research behind the faux product. While their slip could have been detrimental, the bursting personality of their social media team saved the brands blushes and reputation.

Niamh 

Niamh Lawlor is a PR intern with Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork.

 

It’s all about integration!

September 4, 2019

Donald Draper

A big shift has happened with media in the last 10 years.

I remember 10 years ago when the wheels well and truly fell off the economy, we had a thing called social media, which effectively had become a “free” (except for your time and effort of course) way to promote you and your business.

At Fuzion we were quick out of the traps offering people training on the various social media platforms and when it came to our own clients we were doing our very best to get them up and running and fully embracing this new and exciting medium.

I remember at that time when we devised marketing plans for prospects, complete with a range of different tactics to achieve their objectives, we would always have social media as one of the first tactics to discuss. After all it was free, it was new and it provided another great way to reach their target audiences but in a special and unique way demonstrating the personality of the organisation and those working there.

We discovered very quickly that we shouldn’t have social media as one of the first tactics because with many people we presented to you could visibly see the “shutters coming down” and we would lose their attention.

Quite simply they didn’t want to hear about this ‘new fangled’ thing called social media.

As usual there were a few who broke from the pack and made it work really well for them and bit by bit the word spread that social media could be great for business.

We find ourselves 10 years down the road and with many people, the whole thing with social media has flipped.

In many cases now, prospects call and their request is for Digital Marketing and they don’t want to hear anything about other forms of, let us call it ‘Traditional Marketing’ … the way it used be in the old days!!

So, where are we and where should we be on this Digital to Traditional spectrum?

While digital is great and on the face of it, very measurable, the truth is the social media platforms are overloaded with low quality content, the algorithms have squeezed the life out of “organic” (non paid for posts) and to reach your audiences you must invest in advertising, which is increasing in cost all the time.

The resulting problem that we face is that your social media post, that you have had to resort to putting budget behind now appears as a “sponsored” or “promoted” post and has effectively just become an advert of sorts.

However, social media is very powerful as it allows you demonstrate your personality in a way that other media can’t, it allows you to interact with other users and when you are advertising, it does allow you to target very precisely, depending on the type of audience you need to reach and the social media platform that you are using.

When we talk about Traditional media I am talking about PR, print and outdoor advertising, direct marketing, events, sponsorship and I even include email marketing in this boat.

All of these methods for reaching your audience can be really effective and depending on your objective they can be powerful ways of generating brand awareness or generating leads.

And we have PR sitting in the middle of all of this activity, that art and craft of getting your organisation covered positively in the media, which can be in print or online – at this stage it really doesn’t matter which, as long as you are able to reach your target audience. PR kicks in as well, where the objective might be to try to keep an organisation out of the media or to navigate it through a time where there might be a situation, which could potentially damage their reputation and business.

Trying to cope with all of this can be very difficult, so it’s very important to know your audience and figure out how you can reach them – rarely is this a silver bullet situation with one audience and one perfect method of reaching them.

For example attracting the attention of talent could be just as important to the organisation as selling goods and services to customers.

All paid for media (advertising) comes from the organisation and our savvy consumers know this and as a result may not believe the “sales pitch”.

The sales pitch becomes much more believable when there is some form of 3rd Party verification, which could be an article by a journalist or a review by a customer.

In effect, PR can be the valuable trigger in the middle that increases the return from both advertising and other forms of promotional activity, social media and other online activity, because the customer is more convinced because of this third party verification that we referred to.

So … what’s the magic formula for success?

It’s knowing your audience, figuring out how to target them, choosing that mix of Digital and Traditional tactics to reach them effectively and then carefully monitoring the results to figure out what worked and what didn’t.

While digital marketing can provide great analytics and stats, be careful that you don’t avoid traditional activity just because it’s not as easy to measure.

As a full service agency it is our role to create fully integrated campaigns with that special mix that we believe will deliver optimum results for our clients.

By carefully planning, coordinating, weaving and executing all of these elements together, we believe clients will get an exponential return on their investment. So can you !

If we can help you let us know!

The very best of luck!….

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

PR Stunt – “Dove Real Beauty Sketches”.

September 2, 2019

Dove campaign

The company Dove is legendary when it comes to creating world renowned publicity stunts and one of my favourites has to be the short film they created in 2013 titled, “Dove Real Beauty Sketches”.

Throughout the short film , Dove investigates further into female self-loathing and hatred. It is safe to say that women in this modern era lack a great deal of self-esteem.

This self-hatred stems from the likes of social media, beauty magazines and gorgeous celebrity models. Women are forced to compare themselves to an image that is most arguably face-tuned and photo-shopped.

Dove believe that women undervalue their true selves and that women are “their own worst critics”. However, in order to battle this phenomenon of self-critique, Dove invited a number of women to describe their face to a sketch artist.

The comments made by these women in the video are extremely disheartening.

One of the most shocking remarks was from a woman who immediately stated that she had a “fat, rounded face” when asked what was her most prominent feature. This proves that most women immediately focus on the negative aspects of themselves and see it as their most prominent feature instead of a positive aspect, such as their eyes or smile.

Dove campaign

Thankfully the video includes a surprising turn of events in which each woman had to chat with a stranger after describing their appearance.

After a long chat, this new acquaintance was asked to describe the face of the women they were just talking to.

Finally, the film concludes with each woman examining two pictures of themselves, one drawn with the details they had given and the other with the details given by the stranger. What is completely unbelievable is that the two images are strikingly different.

The image described by the stranger is clearly more flattering and complimentary of the woman. This image is also a lot more similar to the women’s actual appearance. The images described by the women themselves seem to be more depressed, older and fatter than the other picture.

Dove campaign

This short film is revolutionary in my opinion as it reminds women that what we see every day in the media is not real and most importantly extremely unattainable.

I find myself looking at bloggers and celebrities on Instagram and comparing myself to them and discovering faults in my own appearance. However according to Dove I must realise that I am more beautiful than I think.

I hope every woman watches this film and gains a sense of confidence and comfort in their own skin. I also believe that the media has a moral obligation to promote real beauty and beauty diversity rather than an unrealistic photo-shopped image.

This in turn could demolish this common self-hatred among women.

Eimear

Eimear McKenna wrote this blog post when she was on a week’s work experience with Fuzion Communications, a PR, Marketing, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing Agency in Ireland with offices in Dublin and Cork

About Eimear (in her own words!)

I am 19 and currently studying English, History and Classics in UCD. This course has unleashed a true desire within me to write and elaborate stories. I am also a fully qualified associate teacher in Speech and Drama.

As a Drama teacher I meet many people every day and organise events such as the Feis and musicals/plays. It is a combination of these interests that has created an aspiration of mine to fulfill a career in PR. As a teenager I also love to follow many different influencers and fashion bloggers on Instagram, which has also added to my interest in PR as I would hopefully be working with these influencers every day

Some Instagram changes for the better?

July 23, 2019

In my training sessions, I always start off by saying that Instagram is the platform where you show your best side.

From amazing pictures of products to great pictures of your team, it allows you to build your brand aesthetic and show your story.

Most personal users use it this way too.

They only put up their best pictures – pictures of themselves, their holidays, great nights out. Due to this behaviour, Instagram has become associated with many negative effects like bullying, self-esteem, anxiety, depression and body image.

Other social media platforms such as Facebook & Twitter are full of the plague of fake news and Instagram was the one positive place where this fake news epidemic hadn’t reached.

However due to the perfect image that Instagram is meant to present, it has been a breeding place for low self-esteem and bullying. Teenagers will take down their posts if they have less than a hundred likes, due to a fear of other people seeing and judging their likes, or lack of, and also because they’re conditioned now to base the effectiveness of their social media activity on likes.

None of them are just posting a picture to Instagram any more just because it’s a nice picture.

To combat this, Instagram has introduced a number of anti-bullying features including comment warnings and restrictions. The comment warning is meant to detect offensive content as it’s being typed and prompt the poster to reconsider before they post. The restriction setting allows users to identify their bullies without blocking them but giving the user the opportunity to review their comments before they go live.

This protects the user in that their bully thinks the content is live but it gives the user the ability to review it before the rest of their followers see it.

The other new feature, which isn’t technically an anti-bullying measure, but can be seen as one for those teenagers that are judged on their likes, is a new test that will hide the display of the number of likes on a post.

This is currently being tested on some users in Ireland after being previously tested in Canada.

Instagram have said, “We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get. You can still see your own likes by tapping on the list of people who’ve liked it, but your friends will not be able to see how many likes your post has received. We’re looking forward to learning more about how this change might benefit everyone’s experience on Instagram.”

It will be interesting to see how this change effects how Instagram works, from businesses judging their successes on post engagement to influencers building their whole career on the amount of likes they get.

The important part to note about this change is that users will still be able to see the amount of likes they are getting and will be able to continue to monitor their insights. It’s only that your audience will not be able to see how many others have liked your posts.

Whether this affects the amount of likes a post gets remains to be seen.

One tip I’ll leave you with, which I always give in my training sessions, is to create content that is valuable to your business and shows your story.

This is why we’re all using social media and if you stay true to yourself and your business, your customers will react positively.

Alma Brosnan Social Media Consultant, Fuzion CommunicationsAlma

Alma Brosnan is part of the Digital Marketing team providing Social Media Consultancy and Training services at Fuzion Communications from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

The end of the Business Card?

July 3, 2019

Business Card etiquette

I was having a chat yesterday with a businessman who was saying how LinkedIn was his new business card – that when he meets a new business contact, instead of handing them a business card he connects with them on LinkedIn, so he has that electronic connection.

This is a perfect use of social media tools for business, but I think he is missing a big point of the business card.

For me my business card is an opportunity to showcase my brand to a new contact “Look who I am and where I work”, ““Look at what we can do”, “Look how well we look”.

I just love the Chinese and Japanese culture around business cards, how it is considered rude not to present your business card properly and then to examine a business card respectively and carefully when you are presented with one.

They almost have a ceremony around business cards – how they present it with two hands and you are expected to receive it in both hands, study it and put it beside you if you are at a meeting with them. The business card is considered to represents the person.

I remember 20 years ago when I first started Fuzion Communications, I didn’t have a fancy office, I was working with a borrowed laptop, but I invested in my branding and my business cards, as out and about meeting people, my business cards were my shop window!

Even in our digital age, I still like to present my business cards – and I always watch how they are received. I think it’s a great way to judge if someone is actually engaging with you, to see how they react when you hand them your business card.

So next time you present a card to someone, see how they receive it – and when someone gives you a business card, accept it with honour – you never know, they might have read this blog post too!!

Deirdre Waldron, Fuzion Communications, PR ConsultantDeirdre 

Deirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion Communications, a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Local Elections, old codgers and phone zapping…

May 21, 2019

Old codgers - Inniscarra Bar, Cork

We were in our local, the Inniscarra Bar, one of the most authentic old style pubs you will find in the country, part of that dying breed where the walls will talk warmly to you about everyone who has sat there before you and before them.

It was early on a Saturday evening and we were having a sneaky pint before heading home to cook some grub.

The two old codgers sitting at the bar sipped quietly on their  pints and every now and then there was some chit chat between them. One of the guys had a battle weary black dog with him who was busy going from one patron to the next, sniffing and being friendly.

For some strange reason there was a large election poster leaning up against the wall for one of the local candidates, Shane Fallon. I’m not really sure if this was a practical joke or if it was a serious election tactic by the candidate?!

Out of nowhere the two men got very animated and their conversation got louder and louder..

Those f##king posters are a f##king disgrace and they should be banned as they are ruining the environment

Wow….it went on..

Sure, don’t they have email and don’t they have the internet and..and don’t they have, you know yourself, can’t they just zap phones the way they do?

You are so right, a f##king disgrace!“, followed by lots of huffing and puffing and then back to their pints.

Were they right??  

It’s funny …just a few days beforehand I was standing in front of my Dublin Chamber Council colleagues presenting them an overview of our business sector.

To do this I reached out to many of the member companies, both large and small and looked for their feedback about trends in the sector.

A BIG MESSAGE was that there was a huge shift from traditional media to digital but this was loaded with a gentle warning that clients need to be very careful not to put all of their eggs into this one channel as you just won’t reach your audience in a way that your message will land.

As I walked back from the pub I noticed all of the election posters – who do I like the look of?

When I pushed opened the front door open I looked at the flyers that had been pushed through the letter box – who are you and what are you promising?

And if I believe you really care about the location I do expect you to knock on my door and chat to me.

I tweeted three of the candidates who had dropped in their literature and two responded. One just took herself out of the running!

It’s great that the old codgers got so animated about the environment (there probably should be a limit to how many they put up), but unfortunately a candidate who relies only on email (GDPR has that one squeezed to death!!) and zapping phones (I’m taking this to mean social media) will not be successful.

The candidates need to integrate their social media with their traditional media and however they manage it, they need to be recognised, liked and if possible connect in some real way with the voters.

Get out and vote this Friday!!

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Is the future of social media to not be on social media?

April 17, 2019

Lush Cosmetics

Is the future of social media to not be on social media? 

That seems to be the viewpoint of Lush UK at the moment.

Out of nowhere, they announced recently that they would be shutting down their social media platforms and communicating with their customers through live chat on their website, email and over the phone.

Their reasoning behind it is due to all the algorithm changes from the various social media platforms making it harder for their content to be viewed by their audience.

As we all know, Facebook wants your advertising money and due to this organic posts (those with no advertising budget) don’t reach as many people as they would have previously by a huge margin.

So clearly Lush just reached the end of their digital marketing tether and gave up…. Or did they?

Lush UK may be closing down their social media operations but the main Lush accounts are not.

The @LushCosmetics Instagram account has 4.4 million followers, a huge difference from the now-defunct @Lush account with only 571 thousand followers.

Basically this is an experiment whereby they’re not risking losing their core audience but want to see if their direct communications with customers will benefit them in the long run.

We all know that the end goal of all communications is reaching your audience and achieving ‘that’ objective, which in their case is sales, and if the only way people can contact them is via their website, they’re already close to the bottom of the funnel and that bit closer to making a purchase.

By Lush encouraging their followers to communicate with them via their website, they’re effectively cutting out the middle-man.

One of the main reasons we encourage our clients to use social media is so that they can much better control their messaging and it also gives them a unique opportunity to demonstrate the personality of the brand or organisation and tell their story in a unique, authentic voice.

This is not just interacting with customers, but also “listening” to what they’re saying.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon is quoted as saying, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”, and this is always something I will refer back to with clients.

Telling your story online, being able to converse “socially” and being able to respond to negative or positive comments will help to build the brand and hopefully build trust and a much better connection with your customers (as long as you get it right, of course!).

Social media is one of the many powerful communication tools offering you a special way of telling your story and by removing yourself from these platforms, will you hurt your brand in the long run?

Let’s see how is plays out for Lush?

Alma Brosnan Social Media Consultant, Fuzion CommunicationsAlma

Alma Brosnan is part of the Social Media Consultancy and Training team at Fuzion Communications who provide our services from offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Space Force or Space farce?!!

August 27, 2018

Space Force

 

Whatever your feelings about the current person sitting in the White House in the United States of America until a real President is elected, one thing is without question..

He is a maverick, dealing in things that are bizarre, outrageous, backwards, dangerous, unconstitutional and just damn wrong. He touches more people than is right and correct (all puns intended) and finally, he has laid his tiny hands on the design industry, offering up 6 solutions for a form of open vote for the Space Force, the 6th arm of the American Defence Forces. 

Now, we all know how public votes tend to go (Boaty McBoatface, Honey G, Soylent Green flavoured Mountain Dew etc) so, this really isn’t ever going to go any other way other than Awesome, but I do have a two-fold issue with the process of a “Publicly selected piece of design“.

Firstly; offering up a logo or brand with no sense of rationale, qualifications or positioning is insane!!

The majority of those voting will have little or no clue as to the journey that the “designer(s)” (very deliberate quotation marks there BTW) has come to finish up with the designs offered. There will be no conversations around the appropriateness of the design, typefaces, colours and implied and/or subliminal meanings. It’s like asking someone what their favourite track on an album that they have never heard is.    

Secondly; this is not the right way to create something that has lasting meaning, that truly adheres to the cornerstones of “branding”; that pays tribute and homage to that which has gone before it (from Buzz Aldrin, the 1986 Challenger disaster, to the joint ISS programme and the Opportunity rover on Mars) and looks towards the essence of what Space exploration and discovery is all about.

And aside from the fact that Space Force is a military operation, not some fluffy pursuit of organic matter – this is about defence, destruction and warfare, so the icons and illustrations on the 6 offered solutions are as much use as a Buzz Lightyear toy with no batteries.

Of course, I am not suggesting that the pursuit of a logo requires a story and a 120 page document to explain why as designers we have selected a typeface/colour/shape combination (you can watch Stefan Sagmeister’s short and sweary* feelings about that here: (its *quite* sweary), but there should be rationale, there should be a reason that elements are being used in an order to make those intangible assets click in our minds, and at a decision making level, these should be presented to help make what is clearly quite an important decision in a format that relies more than a few big VOTE HERE buttons underneath them on a website. 

Stefan - Space Force

Bloomberg magazine asked a number of designers to throw their hat into the ring, as a counter balance to the work offered by the Trump (Chump!) Administration, and the results are incredible.

The core of the Administration’s xenophobic, racist, self parodying and purile notions have been captured in all their embroidered glory. Have a look and see how absolutely Milton Glaser nails the Commander in Chief.

It’s a work of art and pure genius.

Check out the Bloomberg article.


alt Space Force - Milton Glaser

If Space Force is to become an actual thing, I suggest that we let Jar Jar Binks run it – he’d do a better job, even they had better logos than those on offer!!

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj - FuzionJonathan

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj leads the Graphic Design Department in Fuzion with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 


%d bloggers like this: