A Brand New Approach
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These days, there isn’t much that can’t be branded. Our country is a brand (imaginatively named Brand Australia); government legislation is judged in terms of brand value (the recent renaming of the Work Choices legislation due to damage to the “Work Choices brand” for example); even schools, art galleries and charities are branded. Discussion within the graphic design industry about branding these traditionally non-commercial activities reveals a host of professional concerns about the role graphic designers play in, and the broader implications of, brand work. Many of us feel deeply uncomfortable with our contribution to this seemingly unstoppable force and its relentless encroachment into territory close to our hearts. This discomfort is only compounded by the central role of graphic design in the application of brand strategy. The profession’s dependence on the sheer volume of design work generated by branding and re-branding renders us not just dirty by association; we find ourselves to be rolling around in the trough. This distasteful observation is dependent upon assumptions about branding and graphic design’s role within it that are worth closer inspection.