A World Without Branding

What would the world look like without branding? What if everything in the store came in plain white packaging?

Brand Spirit can answer that. For 100 days, branding professional and Tumblr blogger Andrew Miller is exploring a world without branding. Each day, he paints a new item white, “reducing the object to its purest form.” He is restricting the project to everyday items he finds, is gifted, has laying around the house, or can buy for less than $10. Call it pop art for branding nerds.

Miller’s project reveals a great deal about how we perceive different items. Looking through the photos, I noticed that I identified some items as a product void of branding, and some items by the brand. For example, I immediately identified the Scotch tape and Heinz ketchup packet as tape and ketchup packet. Or the Conair hair dryer as “that purple folding hair dryer I once had.” They are pretty universal shapes, and show just how important branding can be.

On the contrary, I immediately identified Tabasco and Sharpie as Tabasco and Sharpie. My brain practically superimposed their labeling. Both of these items have pretty iconic shapes associated with the product, making shape and form part of brand recognition.

It’s a familiar phenomenon—similar to a generic trademark. Zipper, aspirin, cellophane, and escalator all became so identified with the product that the trademarked name became synonymous with the product.

What do you see when you look at each item?

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