We're working on a new client over at Polar and it's got me thinking about how design can so effectively position (or reposition) a product. There’s a design lexicon for meaning. When a brand is draped in a certain style to appeal to a certain audience, that style is created with a design vocabulary made up of colour, typography, composition, imagery and other elements. Good creative people can conjure a brand style that evokes many familiar emotional cues. Here’s an example…
What makes a luxury brand? What helps identify a premium product or service? I believe it is silence: a lack of audible or visual noise. Money buys insulation, and the wealthy, or wealthy-wannabes, will pay to filter out the world. A famous Ogilvy tagline says it all: “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock”. The more expensive a car, the more soundproofing it carries.
Luxury also means less visual noise. Compare Wal-Mart to the Holt-Renfrew shopping experience. One is fluorescently bright and colourfully merchandised, while the latter is visually quieter with neutral colour schemes and more nuanced incandescent lighting. Ever wonder why limousines are predominantly black? Or why the premium tier of many products are named as they are...Starbuck’s Black Apron, Coca-Cola Bläk, AMEX black Centurion card? Or why many upscale restaurants are candlelit? All the better to insulate and focus attention on you and your companion. Darkness removes distractions. It puts you in the spotlight. And it makes you (feel) more important.
Luxury is a very meaningful motivator. It enables freedom, personal validation, security, wonder, beauty, enlightenment and even redemption. A luxury experience, driven by careful brand design, creates moments that matter to you. And it begins with silence.