Blanding, The Branding Paradox
Brands are like people. Some are understated. Some are loud. Some are funny. Some communicate exclusively by exclaiming! Some have terrible grammar.
As with people, brands aren’t created in a vacuum; they’re products of the world around them. Formed in relief around the strengths and weaknesses of the competition, a brand is as much about what it isn’t as what it is. The point is differentiation; by definition, that’s what branding is. Which is precisely why he’s so baffled by the current epidemic of what he calls blanding—branding designed not to stand out at all, but to blend in. With results that are, in a word, bland.
Base Design is an international network of studios that creates brands with cultural impact. Located in Brussels, New York, Geneva, and Melbourne, our team of creatives, strategists, and digital experts design and develop simple yet powerful brands, and build unique personalities.
Base knows that branding is first and foremost about people, so specializes in helping companies – whether new or established; large or small – to become human-centric brands with vision, clarity, and empathy.
Founded in the early ‘90s, the company has evolved continuously over the years and is now steered by partners across all four studios. Clients include Apple, The New York Times, l’Institut Français de la Mode, la Fondation Cartier, Studio Brussel, MoMA, Bob Dylan Center, Dior Galerie, La Monnaie Opera, IFAW, Orior, Bozar, NY Mets, Caran d’Ache, Caudalie, the JFK Terminal 4, and many more.
About Thierry Brunfaut
Thierry Brunfaut is a creative director and one of the founding partners of Base Design, the international network of branding studios based in Brussels, New York, Geneva, and Melbourne. He is the author of the renowned 5–Minute poster series, a professor, and a regular speaker at design and branding conferences around the world. Thierry bears a striking and seemingly contradictory resemblance both to Moby and Kermit the frog.