Noise. Branded

Riffs on brands, innovation and design

Entry Barrier' is soon becoming an obsolete concept.

We have seen them dropping in industry after industry - music, film, publishing and even manufacturing. The businesses of Advertising and Design are no exceptions. For e.g., even a 20 year old college student can win a marquee client like coke these days. The story goes like this:  

Almost everyone who knows Steve Jobs and is ‘net literate’ must have been captivated by this beautiful tribute going viral, hours after the legend passed away. Graham Fint, the Chief Creative Officer of O&M China was captivated too. So he tracked down the designer:  Jonathan Mak Long a 2nd year communications design student at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and offered him an assignment to design a poster with a deceptively simple brief -  ”Sharing a Coke”.  The result: 

The poster went on to win a Grand Prix at Cannes in June 2012. 

Take Johanna Basford - an illustrator and ‘ink evangelist’. 

(Image Source

This story starts in the autumn of 2010, when she set her sights on working for Starbucks and  bestowed on them the title - Dream Client. She then ‘hand penned’ Starbucks cups and posted them to their offices. Again. And Again. The string of these uninvited yet meticulously designed penned cups have finally landed her an official design assignment from Starbucks.  The story ends 18 months later when she finally adds Starbucks to her ‘Clients List’.  Read the fascinating account here

Off late, many such instances of ‘Uninvited Design’ have become commonplace, thanks to the Internet. Apparently, it just takes a creative designer with a laptop and a couple of hours (or at most days) to spare to create ripples in the world of brands, advertising and design.

On 23rd August 2012, a quarter of a century after its last update, Microsoft has unveiled a new logo.    


Evidently, it did not win too many aficionados on its unveiling. But what caught on the imagination of many people around the world was a student’s version of his redesign of the Microsoft logo. Andrew Kim is  a 21 year old designer whose ‘Uninvited Designs’ for Microsoft from his 3 day personal assignment went on to become a sensation with his concept of ‘Slate’ design and how he sees it to be applicable to the Microsoft logos. 

Scroll through the full presentation here. Though I personally found his designs to be a bit ‘Apple Inspired’, these ideas have quickly gained traction online. I have a feeling that he could soon be in the news again for some good reasons. 

And then there is an even more recent example of an ‘Uninvited Design’  - this time for American Airlines, from a Cyprus based designer -  Anna Kovecses. Read the story here

And then there was Wikipedia Redesigned, and even Jeremy Lin gets an uninvited design for his logo.

While we see some graphical instances of genius coming from all around the world by way of these Uninvited Design projects, there are also graphical instances of absurdity. Don’t miss the weird history of unsolicited redesigns.  

Absurdity or Genius, one thing is for sure. The entry barriers for individual creatives to stealing the thunder from established agencies have started to crumble. In a big way. Agree?   

2 years ago
  1. brandednoise posted this