back to the list send to a friend print

archives

- 6 Dec 2012
- by
- by

The Art of Luxury Brand Design: The Unsung Hero?

5556_burberry-embed-2_2338446a_medium

Burberry’s Regent Street boutique aims to blur the physical and digital by mirroring the online experience in-store


Sophie Maxwell, Insight Director at Pearlfisher, believes that powerful brand design expresses big ideas, builds meaningful connections and creates rich product associations

The relationship between the worlds of art and luxury branding has always been revered and celebrated, with (clearly evident) high levels of investment and promotion dedicated to nurturing these exclusive partnerships.

BMW Art & Culture, BMW France, has been in existence since 2003 and is just one example of the more overt art initiatives that premier brands now integrate into their brand and marketing strategies. But just how much do luxury brands acknowledge the art of their own brand design?

The logos and identities of our luxury leaders are recognized and revered on the global stage today more than ever and – in the case of the most prestigious- as international icons that transcend language barriers.

But whilst we acknowledge their desirability, this also begs the question why we are not exploring new ways in which to promote and celebrate the art of the brand design?


 How much do luxury brands acknowledge the art of their own brand design? 


Why is it maybe not getting the attention and elevation it deserves? Especially when compared to the recognition and column inches afforded individually to fashion, architecture and product design.

For global luxury behemoth LVMH, the art of luxury branding is cited as one of its most successful business models – with Hotel du Marc, the renovated and celebrated Chateau owned by the Verve Cliquot brand proving to be a pinnacle of the brand’s expression.

LVMH also talks about having a positive tension between tradition and modernity and finding new, innovative and inclusive ways to focus attention on the art of the brand design. And a focus on this definitely presents an evolving opportunity to take luxury to a new level in the eyes of those both inside and outside of the industry.

Powerful brand design expresses big ideas, builds meaningful connections and creates rich associations. It works both on a conscious and subconscious level, resolving our conflicts and fulfilling our desires. Over time design (and ultimately brands) becomes part of our culture, shaping the symbolism, language and aesthetic that we aspire to and ultimately identify with.


5557_lv-ad1_medium

Louis Vuitton’s Express campaign started with a ‘living’ ad shot in Paris with models aboard the Express train_


And today, as brands’ stretch beyond their original areas of expertise and categories, the importance of using brand design to communicate a cohesive message is growing in importance and visibility.

And it is great design that has the potential to build brands into more than just products so that they become a celebration of the visual and the aesthetic and revolutionize the look and feel of our personal and collective worlds. And this statement is never more true and reflective than when applied to some of our luxury greats.

Marilyn Monroe becoming the poster girl for Chanel no. 5 gave this perfume bottle a legendary and iconic status that has never been challenged or disputed, enabling the product to attain an almost mythical status that has continued to make it a bestseller today…

And if achieving this on-going appeal is the aim of today’s luxury brands, they too need to consider applying the art of brand design to their own brand initiatives.


 Marilyn Monroe gave Chanel No. 5 a legendary and iconic status that has never been challenged or disputed 


The much-hyped and anticipated entry of Alexander McQueen’s men’s store to Savile Row (his original place of work) has resulted in an emporium once again – as many of its luxury predecessors have – paying homage to art with David Bailey photos adorning the walls and a glass box exhibition space curated by gallerist Sadie Coles.

Artistry is built into the store – and this is very much what we have come to expect. But it is also very much about the artistry of specific and select collaboration rather than the art of brand design – and the creation of a seamless message and expression that builds desirability across all touch points.

However a new and perfect example of this is now to be found just a stone’s throw away with Burberry and the opening of the new Burberry megastore on London’s Regent Street – a luxury leader fully embracing the art – and artistry – of brand design in fresh and inspirational ways.


5558_mcqueen6_v_23oct12_pr_1920_1080x720_medium

Alexander McQueen’s recently launched menswear boutique on Savile Row


Dubbed ‘Burberry World Live’ by the brand, the store aims to blur the physical and digital by mirroring the online experience in-store. Full length-screens switch to act as mirrors and many items are chipped with radio-frequency identification technology, meaning that multimedia content relevant to the product is triggered when an item is placed near a mirror.

And this ground floor experience is vastly different to – but just as striking and important – the display of trench coats dating back to the early 1900s showcased on the first floor.

Yes, it is another brand experience – a driving, strategic mission of all today’s brands – but it is an integrated experience that plays to the art of the brand using the retail world as an exhibition and gallery of its works but with the interactive, inclusive approach favoured by today’s consumer.


 Are brand designers as important as artists when it comes to creating aesthetic expressions that represent the cultural signs of our times? 


And if we look at Vuitton, we see an identity that is probably the most well known and replicated the world over. And whilst, in the past, this brand too has looked for ways to extend the creativity and artistic side of its offer, with its many collaborations, this year has seen a focus back on the celebration and showcasing of the brand design itself as befits one of the most applauded brands in the LVMH portfolio.

Like Burberry, Vuitton is recognizing the importance of balancing the physical and the digital for today’s luxury consumer. This year’s Louis Vuitton Express campaign started with a ‘living’ ad shot in Paris with models aboard the Express train signalling the heyday of luxury travel and luggage.

The campaign then created a buzz for the upcoming Shanghai fashion show via an all-digital initiative that followed photographer Todd Selby from the brand’s base in Paris to the show’s set in Shanghai shooting the collection on an actual train journey as it headed for the brand’s most important market.


5559_image_medium

The Louis Vuitton Express campaign then created a buzz for the upcoming Shanghai fashion show


Both the Burberry store and the Vuitton campaign pay testament to the power of design as a creative, commercial and cultural force to be reckoned with and asks the question, are today’s brand designers becoming as important as artists when it comes to creating aesthetic expressions that represent the cultural signs of our times?

As evidence of this we can consider the mass brands, such as Coke, that have looked to luxury brands and designers for this creative (and cultural) direction.

British model Daisy Lowe recently stripped down for a new collaboration between Diet Coke and Jean Paul Gaultier’s iconic perfume designs. The 23-year-old’s nude bodysuit was a replica of the company’s limited-edition design strategically covering her modesty in the shots.

The tattoo-like pattern appears on Lowe exactly as it does on the bottles, creating a new cheeky allure for the brand that followed in the footsteps of collaborations with Karl Lagerfeld, Manolo Blahnik and Daft Punk.


 Consider mass brands like Coke that have looked to luxury brands for new creative directions 


In recent times, brands such as Diet Coke and Evian, have proved to be masters at finding innovative ways to show that their brand design has transcended into the world of brand art, and this is firmly integrated into their packaging design strategies.

But, they are still relying on the kudos of others, from more premium worlds, to lend desire to their brands rather than achieving it in their own right. And, of course, this only serves to further underline and reflect what the luxury brands themselves are – or are not – doing.

The appreciation of brand design as an art form does need to gather more momentum and acknowledgement although hopefully we are now moving towards an exciting tipping point as more luxury brands start to fully realize their own potential.

In terms of desirability and aspiration the pull of the luxury world is still second to none and we should be looking at it’s brand design – and the role the art of brand design fulfils – in not just building the future picture of our luxury culture but as a force for future change across all sectors.





To further investigate luxury branding on Luxury Society, we invite your to explore the related materials as follows:

- Building Brands Beyond Tier One in China
- What Makes for a Successful Luxury Re-Brand?
- Indian Luxury Brands Go Beyond Borders


more

Pearlfisher is a leading global design agency, with studios in London and New York. Independent in everything they do, they are the only agency to have been twice voted number one for design effectiveness, creating design which connects strong brand truths with powerful desire.

Creating Design informed by Insight, distilled by Strategy and brought to life through Realisation, Pearlfisher releases the potential of new brands and nurtures the uniqueness of established ones. Assisting with the launch, evolution and strategies for the future, to drive commercial results.

www.pearlfisher.com