Three case studies : The design language of a successful brand

Google was the last search engine to be created. An entire medium of
communication [podcast] has been nicknamed after an Apple product. While
Skyping became a verb, eBay just paid 2.6 Billion dollars for it. One is
a website, one is a handheld product and the last is a software
application – what they all have in common is a strong brand, a loyal
customer following and a business model that harnesses the future
potential of current technology.

~with a conceptual tip of the hat to this post by Hugh McLeod.

I noticed a pattern, they all have large expanses of white space, almost, in a way, exemplifying John Maeda‘s philosophy of simplicity.

Good design gives users just enough, but not too much, information — once knowledge is gleaned, attention moves easily on to a larger task – John Maeda.

NB: on 13th sept, I found out that Maeda had written just such a thing on google in his blog. I need to read his blog before I speak 🙂

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6 Responses to Three case studies : The design language of a successful brand

  1. jens says:


  2. “just enough but not too much information” – all great communicators know this to be so true. Maybe we might call it the Alfred Hitchcock design philosophy – who of course was famous in his films to give just enough for the audience to chew on, but never too much – thus engaging our thoughts and imaginations all the way to the end of the movie.
    Thanks for connecting the Google – Apple – Skype “brand dots”! Love it!

  3. Niti Bhan says:

    thank you for your kind words. That is a fun trio to look at in depth and see what comes up, isn’t it? 🙂 Any more patterns between them?
    And Jens… 🙂 … careful with that beer

  4. Maybe this is too obvious but they are all brands that inspired the creation of verbs; googling, podcasting, skyping. Not sure how to state this but the verbal ideas are around connections, communing, conversations…something there but not quite seeing it yet. Ideas?

  5. Niti Bhan says:

    That’s an excellent insight. What about “personal expression” as an underpinning philosophy, followed by entirely new activities. For example, according to the old business models, the best brands became common nouns a la aspirin, kleenex, xerox. But now, the successful new business models are those that become common verbs, such as googling, podcasting and skyping. And all of these are community building like you say around connections, communing and conversations (nice alliteration by the way) I wonder? I’m just throwing an idea around in my head and want to see what you think of this comment before I post the concept.

  6. Yes! Personal expression is it and refining it a bit more with imagined narrative; “I am no longer a mere consumer. I am a citizen consumer. I am not passive waiting for the opportunity to discover what I want to know, what I need to know, who I need to connect with; I google. I want the world to hear the intonations of my passions, thoughts and questions – I skype. I give voice, my voice to the great conversations of this world. I am not a passive consumer. I am an active citizen consumer participating in the disovery with others of our collective expertise. I reject monologues. I am embrace conversations. I reject broadcast. I embrace narrowcast. Mass markets are dead for me. Networked markets let me be alive in this world and not another marketing statistic. I google! I skype! I podcast!”
    All of the above is just rambing and unedited thoughts. But the empowered individual who no longer must be passive or silent is the sort of self expression that I am sensing.
    I know that all of these brands are often used in much more mundane and at times frivolous ways – but maybe there is something deeper being discovered?
    I am working on a framework of thinking about brands that I am calling “brand ownership” and this fits with my thinking.
    See what you think – energized by the conversation – keep creating, Mike

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