One thing that is chan­ging is the way brands are inter­act­ing with audi­ences. People talk a lot about brand storytelling. Storytelling to me is a one-way flow, and people don’t buy into that any­more. Most of our exper­i­ences are a series of micro-events that add up to some­thing. With a multi-disciplinary approach, which is what we’ve taken, we’re able to man­age lots of fin­ger­tip events that add up to some­thing big­ger, rather than say­ing I’ve got a story and I’m going to tame the mar­ket with it. Value has changed, and prob­ably the biggest thing that will change in the mar­ket is people’s per­cep­tion of value. Value is only what you choose to call import­ant, and what you choose to call import­ant changes all the time. So if design really wants to cre­ate value for busi­ness, first of all it needs to fig­ure out what it means in the mar­ket, then how to cap­ture it, turn it into an offer­ing and deliver it. (Dean Poole in Prodesign, 2009.)

The main part of the Auckland Art Gallery was closed while I was there in 2009. Finally, on September 3rd this year, it reopened after many years of redevelopment. They’ve also got a new identity, created by Auckland-based buzz agency Alt Group. Alt Group was started by two alumni of Elam School of Fine Art eight years ago and have recently won several Best New Zealand Design Awards as well as international awards. The best thing about the new branding is perhaps not the typographic quality of the rather cumbersome logo above, but how the concept lends itself beautifully to adaptations across all media, from signage to marketing campaigns and merchandise. Literally the dream of any copywriter! Look below for some examples, and check Idealog for more pictures and NZ design journal Prodesign for the full interview with founders Poole and Corban, quoted above.

Alt Group have also created the current website for reknowned architecture firm Warren & Mahoney, responsible for such classic buildings as Christchurch’s Town Hall (completed 1972). The building was severely damaged in the earthquake and still faces a small risk of needing demolition.

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October 4, 2011

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