design school


Here some proof you can give any idea, corporate or not, an 'identity'.

1. Identity
For many years (between the 1920's and 1980's) the making of a Corporate Identity (CI) has been the proud and more or less exclusive activity of communication designers (or their predecessors). More recently, the practice of CI design seems to have become tainted, lacking in quality, associated with questionable politics, and as a field, lacking a sense of compassion among self conscious, critical colleagues. What has happened?
Over the last decennia the discipline has been mainly overtaken by advertising- and branding agencies. Today, a typical identity is more likely the product of careful market research rather than the experimentation of a publicist / designer. As a result, many logos and corporate design systems are repetitions of earlier concepts, have a problem with not enough - or too much - humor, or seem to consist of misapplied elements taken out of an originally meaningful context. CI-design has become a loaded term, becoming almost synonymous with interchangeability, (large scale and growth-focused) commerce and flatness (monoculture).
As this century began, this development became most explicit. The authors of anti-globalization- bestsellers proclaimed (and used) the logo's of international companies as icons of the evil.
Despite the altered identity of corporate identity, it still has the potential it always had: a universal technique to improve corporate culture, a systematic and poetic art of portraying (in most cases) a company, the chance to improve the visual quality of daily (urban) life, and, to be honest, to serve as an excuse for the designer to play around with forms, shapes, color ranges, typographical schemes, logo-elements and, not in the last place, the joy to make it work all together.

2. Corporate
By the way: the connection between CI and the corporate world (companies) is, actually, only partially justified. The word 'corporate' refers in the first place to 'a group of people'. Such a group can actually 'be' a company but also a club, a minority or a political organisation. With the help of a CI such a specific organization is able to generate it's visual messages.

3. This project
In this project students will exercise and experiment with the basic principles of CI-design. Basically, this will be considered as the development, description and application of rules (make a cookbook and use it). Working this way, you can apply the technique on a wide range of design procedures. A CI-system can, for example, guide the production of a the pages of a magazine, the posters of an environmental organization or the web pages of a scientific institute. These will each be structured by a common grammar and recognized as (part of a larger) 'corporate' unity. You will be encouraged to take some marketing rules seriously (surface is the new content) and, at the same time, to make a statement, to learn, also in this field, to be present as a designer/author. Aesthetic, ethical, intuitive and logical criteria will be equally crucial.