Gods & Branding

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Brand identities have long been idolized in our culture as if they were living gods. One could see a contemporary news article and draw correlation to stories of corporations bringing everything from peace and security to deception and tragedy to human lives. With technology as it is, human beings can follow and even interact with brands directly through social media and other online channels. If one believes that the past repeats itself one might see a direct correlation between the way we live and perceive brand identities now and how the ancient Greeks lived and perceived their gods from 1200-750 B.C.E. Ancient Greeks envisioned their gods as a family of immortals who intervened into the lives of human beings (Fiero, 2006, p. 76).

Have you ever spoken of a brand intervening in your life? "Netflix put on a great series last week," or, "Starbucks discontinued my favorite drink," are common things humans say daily in life these days living among the brand gods we have come to know and the idols they create for us. Like brands today, the gods of ancient Greece were not always benevolent or just and set forth no clear principles of moral conduct (Fiero, 2006, p. 77). The gods of ancient Greece made mistakes just like the rest of humanity and, in fact, lived among humanity on top of Mount Olympus, not a remote spiritual realm in the clouds.

In contemporary brand marketing, public relations, and business development there is a surge of capital and resources toward brand owners learning the perception of our modern corporate gods. To this end, the goal is to identify and capitalize on these humanistic personality traits as they are perceived by people to integrate the brand into the lives of humans in a more relevant way. Car manufacturers like Toyota humanize their brand with slogans like, "Let's go places." This number one selling brand in America humanizes itself by idolizing its product line to people as a partner in life, to be there to help them achieve their goals and aspirations.

What is more interesting is how gods were depicted in ancient Greek society. Relief sculptures and bronze statues of gods were commonly depicted in streets, government buildings and among common gathering places throughout ancient Greece. Places like the Parthenon and numerous temples of worship were also built for this purpose. Much like Toyota, these gods were a part of everyday life and lived among human beings this way. We see likenesses of our brands driving our roads and defining the landscapes of city skylines, like a modern day Mount Olympus.

The gods of ancient Greece battled one another, impacting other gods lower on the hierarchy of power, having ripple effects throughout Greek society both positive and negative. In one story Hades, god of the underworld, abducts the beautiful Persephone, her mother Demeter rescues her; tricked by Hades, however, this goddess of vegetation is forced to return annually to the underworld (Fiero, 2006, p. 77). This explanation for the annual harvest is contextualized by humans based on the actions of gods. Today we hear stories of won/lost battles of brands daily, now more than ever before in recent history. Small corporations getting absorbed by larger ones. Start-up companies disrupting long established corporations and industries by eating up market share within years, sometimes months. Uber vs. the transportation industry. RedBox vs. Blockbuster video. Now SlingTV vs. the cable industry. Today, brands like Apple could positively/negatively effect thousands of brands with one addendum to app store guidelines as it had in late 2017.

At the end of the day, we find that to the ancient Greeks, gods were never perfect. They were part of a fragile ecosystem of influence and power for the good or bad of humanity. It seems that as far as ancient Greek gods and modern brands are concerned, authenticity, truth, and relevance is more important than perfection.

Fiero, Gloria K. The Humanistic Tradition. 5th ed., vol. 1 6, McGraw Hill, 2006.

What File Type Should I Use for My Image?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

With more employees working with creative teams in the business world, it is becoming more important to make sure you understand the file types you need for different media applications. Designers typically take this knowledge for granted because they eat, sleep, and breathe these graphic file types all the time. But for those who don't, here is some insight into file types and the applications they can be used for:

  • .JPG
    Used for both web and print applications. JPG images do not support transparent backgrounds, meaning that if your art has a transparent background, and you save your native file as a JPG, the image will contain a white background. Benefits of this file are that it supports smaller file sizes. Color modes for this file type are HEX (web), RGB (screen), CMYK (four color process print), and Pantone color models. JPG images do not support layering within the file. This is a raster file type meaning that it is pixel-based. The image is made up of tiny pixels of color and, when seen at a reasonably small distance, render a crisp image.

  • .PNG
    Also used for both web and print applications, PNG images support transparent backgrounds. A disadvantage of this file is that it requires larger file sizes due to the fact that it contains transparent pixel data. Color modes for this file type are HEX (web), RGB (screen), CMYK (four color process print), and Pantone color models. This is also a raster file type like the JPG.

  • .TIFF
    Use for both print applications. TIFF images support transparent backgrounds but this file size is larger than a JPG or PNG. Color modes for this file type are RGB (screen), CMYK (four color process print), and Pantone color models. The benefit of this file type is that it allows for layering in the artwork, meaning that it could be opened in Adobe Photoshop and separate layers could be edited within the file and resaved. This is also a raster file type like the JPG and PNG.

  • .EPS
    Use for both print, embroidery, signage, foil stamping, embossing, diecutting, and screen printing applications. EPS files support transparent backgrounds and this file size is smaller than JPG, PNG, and TIFF files. Benefits of this file type is that it allows for layering in the artwork, but more importantly, this is a vector file. Vector files are files that are made with points and paths rather than pixels. This means that they use mathematical algorithms to render. For example, a square shape in EPS format would be made up of 4 points (corners) and 4 paths (lines) to be created. One benefit of vector graphics is that they can be scaled up to any size without any loss of image quality. Color modes for this file type are CMYK (four color process print), and Pantone color models.

  • .SVG
    Use for web applications. SVG files support transparent backgrounds and this file size is small since it is also a vector graphic like the EPS file. Benefits of this file type is that it is it can be used on the web but also be scaled up without loss of image quality. Color modes for this file type are HEX (web), and RGB (screen) color models.

Hopefully this helps clarify distinctions between these basic graphic file types. Happy designing!