Hilton Design


September 2016

Branding Apple


I’ve been researching in depth on how Apple succeeded to brand themselves so well when it looked like they were going to fully collapse before they rebranded themselves. I’ve been reading this article online called “Apple: It’s All About the Brand”. Below I will be pasting in the article which has been referenced from I will be pointing out a few parts of the article that I found rather interesting. The whole article itself is very interesting anyway.

“Apple is one of the leading branding companies in the world. Marketing experts like Marc Gobe argue that Apple’s brand is the key to the company’s success. It’s got nothing to do with products like the iMac or iPod.

Ask marketers and advertising experts why Mac users are so loyal, and they all cite the same reason: Apple’s brand.

It’s no coincidence that during the late 1980s and early 1990s it was a marketing executive from Pepsi, John Sculley, who turned Apple into the biggest single computer company in the world, with $11 billion in annual sales. Sculley marketed Apple like crazy, boosting the advertising budget from $15 million to $100 million.

“People talk about technology, but Apple was a marketing company,” Sculley told the Guardian newspaper in 1997. “It was the marketing company of the decade.”

The current CEO, Steve Jobs, spent $100 million marketing the iMac, which was a run-away hit. Apple continues to spend lots of money on high-profile ads like the “Switch” campaign, and it shows.

“It’s a really powerful brand,” said Robin Rusch, which awarded Apple “Brand of the Year” in 2001. “The overwhelming presence of Apple comes through in everything they do.”

Marketer Marc Gobe, author of Emotional Branding and principal of d/g worldwide, said Apple’s brand is the key to its survival. It’s got nothing to do with innovative products like the iMac or the iPod.

“Without the brand, Apple would be dead,” he said. “Absolutely. Completely. The brand is all they’ve got. The power of their branding is all that keeps them alive. It’s got nothing to do with products.”Here clearly states that without the strong brand Apple would be completely bust. This says a lot about branding and on how well it pushes a company/ business forward.  

Gobe, who hails from France, formulated this view while researching his book, in which he tells how brands have established deep, lasting bonds with their customers.

Apple, of course, is the archetypal emotional brand. It’s not just intimate with its customers; it is loved. Other examples are automaker Lexus, retailer Target and outdoor clothing line Patagonia.

“Apple is about imagination, design and innovation,” Gobe said from his office in New York. “It goes beyond commerce. This business should have been dead 10 years ago, but people said we’ve got to support it.”Branding isn’t just all about design, it’s about loads of other things such as ideology, the way your company and your business look at the way of living and the message they want to give out to their audience.

Gobe is of course referring to Apple’s financial tailspin during the mid-1990s when the company looked in danger of going out of business. At the time, its products were lackluster, its branding a mess.

“Before Steve Jobs came back, the brand was pretty much gone,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons Apple has been rebranded — to rejuvenate the brand.”This is what I was talking about at the beginning of the blog, the company was very close to dying.

Apple abandoned the old rainbow-hued Apple logo in favor of a minimalist monochrome one, gave its computers a funky, colorful look, and streamlined the messages in its advertising. It’s done wonders, Gobe said.

Gobe argued that, in some cases, branding has become as powerful as religion. “People’s connections with brands transcend commerce,” he said. Gobe cited Nike, which sparked customers’ ire when it was revealed the company’s products were assembled in sweatshops.

“They were not pissed about the products,” Gobe said. “It’s about the company’s ethics. It’s interesting how emotionally involved people are.”

According to Gobe, emotional brands have three things in common:

* The company projects a humanistic corporate culture and a strong corporate ethic, characterized by volunteerism, support of good causes or involvement in the community. Nike blundered here. Apple, on the other hand, comes across as profoundly humanist. Its founding ethos was power to the people through technology, and it remains committed to computers in education. “It’s always about people,” Gobe said.

* The company has a unique visual and verbal vocabulary, expressed in product design and advertising: This is true of Apple. Its products and advertising are clearly recognizable. (So is Target’s, or even Wal-Mart’s, Gobe said).

* The company has established a “heartfelt connection” with its customers. This can take several forms, from building trust to establishing a community around a product. In Apple’s case, its products are designed around people: “Take the iPod, it brings an emotional, sensory experience to computing,” Gobe said. “Apple’s design is people-driven.”

Gobe noted that Apple has always projected a human touch — from the charisma of Steve Jobs to the notion that its products are sold for a love of technology.

“It’s like having a good friend,” Gobe said. “That’s what’s interesting about this brand. Somewhere they have created this really humanistic, beyond-business relationship with users and created a cult-like relationship with their brand. It’s a big tribe, everyone is one of them. You’re part of the brand.”

The human touch is also expressed in product design, Gobe said. Apple’s flat-screen iMac, for example, was marketed as though it were created personally by Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive, not by factory workers in Asia.

Here is a good example of how ethics come into branding, you’ve got to know what your audience support and what they agree and disagree with. Most of it is common sense, like it says with Nike when their clients found out they used sweatshops to produce their products cheap. Branding involves building a strong relationship with your clients to make them feel safe and part of the brand, the article talks about this. 

“People are anxious and confused,” Gobe said. “Technology is accelerating faster and faster than we can keep up with. People need to find some grounding, that human touch, the leading hand. There’s a need to recreate tribes that give people a grounding.”

Writer Naomi Klein is a leading critic of branding, especially Apple’s. Klein, author of No Logo, argues that companies like Apple are no longer selling products. They are selling brands, which evoke a subtle mix of people’s hopes, dreams and aspirations.

Klein notes how Benetton used images of racial harmony to sell clothes, while Apple used great leaders — Cesar Chavez, Gandhi and the Dalai Lama — to persuade people that a Macintosh might also allow them to “Think Different.”

“People are drawn to these brands because they are selling their own ideas back to them, they are selling the most powerful ideas that we have in our culture such as transcendence and community — even democracy itself, these are all brand meanings now,” she told the Guardiannewspaper.

Klein’s analysis of branding finds a receptive audience in the marketing community. Jean-Marie Dru, described byAdbusters as the “ad industry’s current wonderkid,” also believes that brands thrive or perish based on the ideals they espouse.

“Apple expresses liberty regained; Pepsi, youthfulness; Oil of Olay, timeless beauty; Saturn, the American competitive spirit; and AT&T, the promises of the future,” he wrote in his book Disruption.

To Dru, brands are more important than products. Products have limited life cycles, but brands — if managed well — last forever. “The battle of brands and products will be, above all, a battle of ideas,” he wrote.

Ryan Bigge, writing in Adbusters, said: “Our dreams and desires for a better world are no longer articulated by JFKs nor generated through personal epiphanies — they are now the intellectual currency of Pepsi and Diesel. We used to have movements for change — now we have products. Brands may befriend us, console us and inspire us, but the relationship comes at the highest price imaginable — the loss of self.”

Apple’s famous “1984” Super Bowl ad, for example, was expressly political: It’s message was, give power to the masses. The power, of course, was computing power.

“Macintosh was always bigger than the product,” Steve Hayden, the ad’s copywriter, told AdWeek. “We thought of it as an ideology, a value set. It was a way of letting the whole world access the power of computing and letting them talk to one another. The democratization of technology — the computer for the rest of us.”

The “1984” ad began a branding campaign that portrayed Apple as a symbol of counterculture — rebellious, free-thinking and creative. According to Charles Pillar, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, this image is a calculated marketing ploy to sell expensive computers.

“Expressions of almost spiritual faithfulness to the Mac, although heartfelt, weren’t a purely spontaneous response to a sublime creation,” he wrote. “They were a response to a calculated marketing ploy to sell computers that cost much more than competing brands.

“I’m not making this up. Members of the Mac’s original engineering and marketing team told me all about it. They did it by building a sense of belonging to an elite club by portraying the Mac as embodying the values of righteous outsiderism and rebellion against injustice. It started in the early ’80s with the famous ‘1984’ TV commercial that launched the Mac, and continued with ‘The computer for the rest of us’ slogan and several ad campaigns playing on a revolutionary theme.”

Steve Manning, co-founder of Igor, a brand consultancy in San Francisco, California, said even a seasoned professional like himself is seduced. “Even though I understand this stuff, I’ve bought into it,” he said. “I own four Macs. They’re more expensive, but the advertising and marketing works.”

I found this article incredibly interesting to see how Apple successfully rebuilt their brand so well after a very dramatic drop in the business. It’s made me understand a lot more that branding is not just to do with design but it is the most important thing to build a relationship with your audience.

Branding Shell


Moreover to the design of big brands logos I am going to be looking at how shell branding themselves in the huge competitive market of selling fuel. Throughout the many years of their history there have been a few major changes within their logo obviously to keep it looking modern. They didn’t only have one designer having an input they had a few.

Taken from their website they say, “The form of the Shell emblem has changed gradually over the years in line with trends in graphic design. The current emblem was introduced in 1971. Thirty years on it stands the test of time as one of the world’s most recognised symbols.”

Sourced from

At first Shell used a mussel to represent them when they first established, moving on four years on they decided to change the shell to a pecten which is pretty much a giant scallop. The more they tried to modernise it through 1904-1948 it started to look a little too rough and still look like a sketch, in 1955 they cleaned it up a little but still there was something missing or there was in fact too much still. In 1971 a designer named Raymond Loewy came and turned it into something great and bold which stood out from every single past attempt. Ever since then the shape has never changed there has only been change with the font and mostly the colours used.

The great thing about the Shell logo is that when you’re driving the logo stands out incredibly with it illuminate colours. It’s so easily recognised as a rebus (A rebus (/ˈrē-bəs/) is an illusion device that uses pictures to represent words or parts of words. It was a favourite form of heraldic expression used in the Middle Ages to denote surnames.)

Doing this bit of research has made me think more on my target audience and how a logo has to change every so often to keep up with modern design.



Well known examples of branding


To get more of an understanding of branding I thought it would be best to do a little research finding a few well known successful brands which we all know and love. This will consist over a few blogs as that I want to search deep into how of a few of these brands started up. All these brands that i’m listing are all very recognisable and as soon as you see them you know exactly who they are.

First will be a few type based logos.

With these logos the typography is so powerful that they don’t even need any kind of illustration to stand out but even if they wanted to they could and it would stand out even greater!

Now I will be looking at a few brands that use illustration in their logos.

Here you can kind of see that these brands typography is rather basic, this is where their illustration kicks in so that their audience can recognise them easier. Let’s take adidas for example, if we were to see a piece of clothing with three lines close together printed on to it you’d automatically assume that is an item from adidas.

Anyway I’m going to be going into more detail in my next couple of blogs on a few of these brands such as Shell and Apple.

*All images in this blog are sourced from the worldwide web*



Sketch’s for the logo to represent Bleu


So today I went to the drawing boards to try and get an idea on how to start creating a logo for this celeb.



I want to create an actual logo so then it’s simple and easy to recognise as being his brand. As I’ve seen he used to love his sports more than music so I want to make this logo a little personal to him where only his true fans will be able to understand.

I’m going to move over to illustrator to experiment with shapes and also try some standard type branding to see if maybe that will work as that I’m useless with handwritten type!

Also making the logo close to home I am looking at using colours from the Texan flag, possibly I may use a texan style font though that may be pushing it a little too far as it would start to look a little tacky. I believe Bleu would like the idea of simplicity.

Who is Bleu Edmondson?


I’ve been given a fairly unknown celebrity which is either going to be a hard or easy job to brand. I’ve been checking out his website and looking deeper into his bio but there isn’t really too much to pick at but it’s a good start.

Below is a copy of the Bio taken from his website – I’m going to be highlightng a few key points from here to give me a better understanding of Bleu.

“Bleu’s early years were spent focused on sports rather than music.  He picked up a guitar for the first time during his college years, learned a few chords and his future was set.  Bleu soon discovered that some of his favorite musical acts – Robert Earl Keen, Radney Foster, Uncle Tupelo – shared a common thread: Lloyd Maines either produced or played steel guitar on their recordings.  A short time later, using a tape player in his dorm room, Bleu made guitar/vocal demos of some of his songs and sent the tape to Maines.  Quickly recognizing the raw talent on that homemade cassette tape, Maines contacted Bleu and ultimately became his producer.  The pairing made two records together – Southland and The Band Plays On – and Bleu credits Maines with giving him his start in the music business.

“Writing is like holding up a mirror to those darkest corners of our lives that we keep hidden,” confides the raspy-throated singer.  “It’s not always a pretty reflection, but it’s real and it matters.”  His collection of songs ministers to the saint and the sinner in each of us. It is a conglomeration of those touch points and influences that give us permission to question, confront and raise a little hell on Saturday night.

Bleu’s lyrics convey a worldly perspective of one who has lived a life balanced on the edge – of success and failure, love and hate, elation and despair – with his trademark grit and unselfconscious vulnerability intact. There is no sugar-coating in his songs; he simply calls it like he sees it.

He also knows how to crank up the amps and throw down hard. His raucous live show has earned him street cred and respect among his fans as well as his musical co-horts throughout Texas, a state that can lay claim to more than its fair share of the musical talent gene pool.

Edmondson’s rapidly growing fan base, “The Southland Mob,” takes its name from his debut CD, produced by Texas musical royalty, Lloyd Maines.  His road-dog touring ethic, coupled with his management (Greg Henry) and booking team (CTK Entertainment), keeps him running down blacktops and back roads in excess of 200 days each year.  As Edmondson’s popularity has grown so has his touring radius, much to the delight of his out-of-Texas fans.”

The Brief Guidelines


Branding is one of the most common requirements for graphic designers and there’s far more to branding than designing just a quick logo. The aims of this assessment are to afford me the opportunity to develop my design and typography via the field of branding. During this module I will be exploring what a brand is and how that is developed visually as a means to represent a person or company’s values.

This assignment consists of two parts, one part being that I am to develop the branding of a given celebrity picked at random. The aim of the project is to design a branding that will project a positive image of the given person. It is important that I create my branding in a way that I’d believe the celebrity would wish to be portrayed rather than how I’d feel about them. I must be sure to heavily research around the topic of branding and personal promotion with a view to demonstrating the key concepts regarding branding.

I will have to have produced a logo, letterhead, business card and compliment slip by the deadline which is in three weeks. These items are to be of standard size. I will also produce a style guide for my client and this will include instructions as to how the logo, typeface(s) and colour systems are to be used. I’m also needed to consider the making or visualising of a promotional item. Again, I will need to research these.

The second part of the assignment will be using the skills and knowledge developed in the first part of the module, I will then have to apply this to the development of self-promotional materials, essentially self-branding.

This may be difficult as being both client and designer can be problematic in terms of remaining objective. It is essential that I consider the audience that I’m going to intend to address and be able to explain how I know my design to be appropriate for communicating with the professional design community. The deliverables of this part will consist of a logo, letterhead and business card.

The brief is also strongly saying that typography is a must, obviously as that is part of my type portfolio.


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