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Word: Brand: Branding Should Not Be Painful

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A few years ago I spoke to a troupe of
Girl Scouts as part of a series on careers. In doing so, the first question I
posed to the group of wide-eyed young women was, 'What is a brand'? Several
answers were offered up including, 'It's what they used to do to cows on the
ranch.'
Well, I didn't expect Brand to be our
first word studied in this series but, serendipity hit me with a baseball bat
on this one. In the process of writing our next book, "The Physics of
Brand", the slightly dusty adage of comparing "branding" to
the western cowboy method of marking cattle was dusted off. And, upon a quick
search, this site describing "How to Design a Brand" was
discovered. It's a great find.
The TSCRA dates back to 1877, when a
group of Texas ranchers formed an association to deal with livestock theft. How
better to establish ownership than to stamp your mark for all to see? In doing
so, not only is ownership established but also reputation for each rancher in
relation to quality and quantity of herd. I went deep into this site. The
branding language is chock full of meaning. It is a language in and of itself
including letters, numbers, lines and symbols. But after reviewing the
complexity of the hieroglyphic-like language, I learned these early language
designers established simplicity as 'the Bull'.
Our first book, 'Design Matters //
Logos' discusses what makes great identity design. As our clients have
experienced, the Capsule philosophy believes in simplicity as a primary
criteria. So I chuckled a bit as I learned the early practice of branding
recognized that not only are simple branding marks easier to read but also less
painful for the cattle. Designers please don't take offense to being compared
to cattle but we certainly understand pain when trying to work with a poorly
designed and cumbersome mark. 
My thoughts here are pretty simple, no
pun intended. Our world is complex. We chase life at a pace much too fast for
anyone's liking. So, as stewards of many of our world's largest and most
powerful brands gather for another FUSE conference, let's think about the
origin of Branding and the importance of simplicity.
Take a look at your brand. Does it cause
you pain? I hope not. Does it tell your story? Does it inspire and make
you proud? I hope so.

For
more intriguing conversations and content, attend FUSE in April.

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