Interviews from the Brand New Conference

Michael Johnson Interview

Dan Redding: In your presentation, you described a sea change in identity during the last few decades – as though it’s been liberated. Do you have any desires or predictions about how it will go in the next couple of decades?
Michael Johnson: I think you’re right… twenty years ago, everything was so static, and so fixed, and people wouldn’t want to be a logo designer. The fact that people are interested – the fact that there’s a conference about it – that itself is a sign. If people are progressively seeing identity and branding as the core of a project, of an organization, and then things spin off it, that’s very exciting. I tend to think that it can only get better from here, actually. If twenty years ago, [identity designers only worked on] blue chip organizations and now, we’re doing charities and cities and countries…
There’s something infectious about it.

There is something infectious about it! I’m naturally quite optimistic, but I do think that people will always want to identify themselves somehow. In fact, they’ll want to do it more and more. Progressively more and more.
And if you’re taking risks, as you advised in your speech-

Well I am small enough to take risks, to be fair.
If we all do that, then we’ll decide where identity goes.

Armin Vit Interview

Dan Redding: During the last couple of decades, we’ve seen a sea change – identity’s been liberated, it’s come to life with animation, et cetera. What do you see in the next couple of decades? Are there any trends you think will catch on?
Armin Vit: Well, I think the work that has been going on in the past twenty years – moving away from just a simple icon into something that’s a little bit more flexible – I think we’re seeing it pay off now. I think that in the next few years, there’s gonna be more animated identities that can do different things and react to the different mediums… like the iPad. So I think we’ll see a lot more interactivity with identities. You can see that with the PwC identity that Wolf Ollins did. For a corporate client, it’s amazingly interactive, within the context. You’ll see a lot more identities coming to life, just because of all of the different mediums that it has to exist in now.
Are there any other identities recently that you think will have a big impact or will be imitated?
I think the AOL identity – and I’m not a PR person for Wolff Olins – but what they did is starting to have the effect where other brands are saying, “Things can be a little more abstract and ethereal. We don’t have to be so literal.” I think AOL is having repercussions. On the other end of the spectrum, Gap has some big repercussions. It showed that if you don’t it right, it’s gonna come back and bite you on the ass. You have to get it right.

2 Responses to “Interviews from the Brand New Conference”

  1. No follow up questions? I’d love to hear him name 1 brand that has said “things can be more abstract and etheral” as a result of AOL’s rebrand – make that one that has not been designed by WO.

  2. I think only time will tell if Wolff Olins’ recent work (for example) has lasting impact or broadens the scope of how brands think of identity. One of the ideas that Armin confirmed is that the industry is often slow to embrace ideas that are ahead of their time.

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