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So what’s all this fuss about branding then?

Branding is often treated with suspicion sometimes characterised as vacuous and superficial. And there is no doubt, branding done well is a great skill and often involves creating clever illusions. This is both it’s glory and it’s sorrow. But any brand that is going to be truly successful must be built on fundamental truths and it is incumbent on designers to tease these out. So, it’s not about pulling the wool over the eyes of an audience, more about articulating the personality of the brand in interesting, relevant and charismatic ways.

It is understandable why there is so much confusion about branding because the demands on the concept are constantly growing and mutating and can encompass the important and the trivial. Branding projects can be directed upon things as diverse as individuals, countries and even ideas. And, the digital revolution has opened up a mesmerising array of possible channels. Our studio uses the expression ‘brand tapestry’. This we use to describe the gradual building up of an image of an organisation over multiple channels. Products, services, ideas, attitudes and values are woven into this fabric.

Many organisations communicate with a variety of stakeholders who come into contact with the brand. Customers, staff, shareholders, journalists, suppliers, partners etc. The messages can be very different but should be spoken with one voice. There can be huge benefits to good design and branding. In many large organisations the value of the brand significantly outstrip its physical assets. It’s obvious then this needs to be protected, nurtured and invested in – just like any other asset. Brands can engage emotionally, elicit pleasure and build loyalty.

This month sees the launch of the new Monkton Combe School advertising campaign Ice House Design have created. School advertising historically has largely tended to be a few smiling, attractive kids depicted in pleasant surroundings. Okay, but when ads need cut through and show the individuality of the institution (which they should), a more creative approach should be taken.  The proposition we came up with for Monkton advertising campaign came from ‘looking at schooling differently’. We wanted to make images that were challenging, stimulating and contained humour. Images that articulate a sense of what the school is and have the participation of the pupils. The design for the advertising needed to pull itself away from the masses. Ice House Design have created a sequence of 5 ads using various anamorphic illusions that incorporate the broad age range of pupils.

New Monkton Combe School advertising campaign

New Monkton Combe School advertising campaign