Get some Brand – Find a new religion … Volume II

<< Test First Name >>, this is chapter two of playing with brand. In context for us at Arcade it has a more immediate reference being the master stroke of re-branding, branded T-shirts as your own but it is certainly not exclusively about such a narrow field. What this text attempts to do is open up the idea of brand in a world view shifting more and more toward ’99 Designs’ and cool logos on Fiverr … a little more toward the idea of visual communications and language and just possibly to reveal the depth of possibility of what a brand means or could mean or even do.

The UNBRANDED T-shirt Manifesto

In advertising when designing a roadside billboard – you go beyond the scarcity of one idea to the laid in the concrete of time tested rule of 6 words and if you are lucky 6 seconds as the amount of time you have to deliver your idea. Time being the key to brand experience.
Time ‘is’ the only thing in which we can experience anything and therefore time is what we attempt to buy with our communications. While a logo or mark is a vessel that holds the collective experiences we have of any brand.

This may take a while …

In un-rehearsed foreplay I realize I have lost 30% of my audience in the second line of the first paragraph with the superfluous wording ‘laid in the concrete of time tested rule’ and that’s the point.
It begs the question – Is this a text about brand or some asshole playing games. Did I just lose them deliberately – are they potential advocates that I have tossed to the wind by exposing superlative padding – are they someone that I would want to read this piece for if it is, I have to obviously question my delivery. Was the vocabulary blunt? In that asking of attention did I forget the 6 seconds of succinct that will endear me to the masses. Did I just swear through ignorance or am I deliberately drawing a line in the sand. Separating the chaff from the hay… is this worth my time?

Even more interesting as we are essentially speaking to the creative sphere of designers, advertisers, creatives, marketers, artists and image builders why have I chosen to disenfranchise so many more by writing in ‘Mailchimp’ in a typeface I haven’t even bothered to identify. Alienating all but the idle or skeptically intrigued aesthletes of design. As a person that has worked in ‘Pictures’ throughout many forms, brand seems an unlikely place to ignore the greatest of all references – the greatest key to the city – the greatest universal key to our minds.

This line beckons for the relief ‘or shortcut’ provided by the text ‘Insert image here’. But the request is ignored.

Further more, am I so naive to illustrate in black and white the subject known in colour and imagery and sound. While ‘Email Templates as with Microsoft Word’ itself has become a great homogeniser. A delivery vehicle of little flair with it’s mundane and yet heroic general utility. But hardly a utility used for such a subject.

But braver still, is it utterly ridiculous to write and therefore expose my written words to this audience that holds thousands of people more qualified than I from the ranks of ‘Copy writers’, Authors and wordsmiths. Would this not take away from my brand, would it not remove credibility from my brand in those eyes. Probably yes. Again, a line in the sand.

But regardless of who is still in this conversation, what I have done is procured that most valuable of all things from right under your nose. I have planted a seed, I have exposed a feeling and a temper and a tension in my voice while handing you a gift I have started the process of establishing a brand. Bizarrely not connected with a T-shirt as the heading may suggest, and with no pictures or colour to let me indulge the safety of an emotional life raft. I have in fact started to establish my brand of being un-branded. The feeling of this brand is only ‘the feeling’ of this moment. And apparently it’s sort of like work, albeit an interesting work.

By dividing the audience we have been left with a thin slice of social merit and in the act of doing so the few have experienced time soaked in what is becoming ‘our’ intent, resonating in intrigue and promise because it is within the resonating and experiencing that we are working.

Because, brand is essentially experiential.

I was always inspired by the DaDa Manifesto. I loved the idea and the spirit – I could download it 100 times and peak a look at an inspirational page but really it had my undivided attention for 45 seconds as is my need for a quick bit of association with the intellects of art and thought that I secretly aspire to and in effect – try to live. To borrow credibility blatantly as if I was one of them.

It seems impossible to describe DaDa – except in it’s simplest form. DaDa was a movement of art and ideas, designed to be without apology.

DaDa ‘is’ a political movement. It ‘is’ a movement of the political and it’s vehicle could be anything. DaDa was freeform experiential expression.

DaDa as a brand would be against (and for) all brands, as their art refused to be categorized I feel in fact they wouldn’t even bother being against brands, they were (are) busy being extravagant and gorgeous and rare and everywhere. Do they even have a brand – and if they did what constitutes their brand? Or as we are discovering as the owners of the brand, what makes up the collective expression that is DaDa.

Is DaDa a brand defined by it’s art movement or it’s manifesto or it’s momentum or it’s thinking or it’s energy.

I suggest as all members are dead (or extremely close) that their brand is still alive and is operating as a dynamic idea.

The thing that you cannot ignore with a brand that fails to define itself and in itself is left open for interpretation is that the brand can’t be defined by those that created it but is more defined by the people who hold it in the collective consciousness. If you wanted tangible evidence of brand marks and communications, it is now defined by an ever decreasing number of people that actually knew it, art history references, antiques and Wikipedia style information on the web. However – DaDa is DaDa and ‘is’ as revolutionary as Picasso, Dali or Warhol. So how does it continue to hold this form.

Here is the opening stanza of the first DaDa Manifesto–


The 1st DADA Manifesto:
By Monsieur Antipyrine.

DADA is our intensity: it erects inconsequential bayonets and the Sumatral head of German babies; Dada is life with neither bedroom slippers nor parallels; it is against and for unity and definitely against the future; we are wise enough to know that our brains are going to become flabby cushions, that our anti-dogmatism is as exclusive as a civil servant, and that we cry liberty but are not free; a severe necessity with entire discipline nor morals and that we spit on humanity.

DADA remains within the framework of European weaknesses, it’s still shit, but from now on we want to shit in different colours so as to adorn the zoo of art with all the flags of all the consulates.

We are circus ringmasters and we can be found whistling amongst the winds of fairgrounds, in convents, prostitution, theatres, realities, feelings, restaurants, ohoho, bang bang.


Once again I have lost more ‘listeners’ defined by my lack of adherence to the rules of literature and the particular use of the word stanza (when clearly not) but have I also lost the DaDa purists for not publishing the entire text.

I doubt it …

I think the lasting feeling of DaDaism is the destruction of the idea of moral absolution. The contradiction as law and the law as contradiction.

I suggest even if mifted, the DaDa purists might still be listening. Listening for a ringmaster in charge of another circus. Something to see that’s not so serious, something that they can belong to in a small way, something that speaks a little odd and it’s a little odd is what they may like. Something safe and intriguing at the same time. Something of promise.

Like the feeling you get when you love a brand.

6 Seconds of dynamic promise.

BELOW IMAGE : Hannah Höch, Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany, 1919, collage of pasted papers, 90×144 cm

Click on the image and jump to a page with the surprisingly short Manifestos’ in waiting …

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