Welcome to the first post of Designers Who, Season 2!
This article easily opens up a discussion about branding and brand reputation, but what really interested me was its idea of an unmanageable authenticity — not only as a selling or communication tool, but as a way to inform all aspects of a business and its brand.
Online trolling exists in the false assumption that publication lends legitimacy. So does a brief; a project; a client's request. Because of this, we are taught that designers double as editors, and that we need to cut away all that is an expression of ego — our client's, and our own. We have learned that we need to invigilate the line between aspiration and authenticity. Yet Ellis' article suggests that this needn't be so.
Ellis writes that authenticity is the only useful currency for a business, and authenticity means being both liked and disliked, as a way of expressing legitimate value. Ellis describes this as having to embrace our “messy, contradictory” selves, to not celebrate our virtues only. I am adding that this might represent some real, compelling foundations for strong, confident brands, from which their actions and communications are informed.
Our processes teach us to empathise and listen, but to also simplify, edit and control. Can we do our jobs, while understanding the value in the impassioned, the unmanageable? Can we let go of the idea of constant comfort, and find compelling value in chaos?