Vinnie Sauvan, August 7, 2019

“Despite the design industry’s obsession with brand, in the real world, nobody’s really bothered. People don’t have a passion for brands. They don’t want to have meaningful relationships with them. They just want to pay sensible money for things that work well and look good. Brand loyalty is a myth. In truth, it’s not much more than habit and convenience.”

A bold statement from Offthetopofmyhead’s founder and Creative Director John Spencer.

John recently wrote an article in Design Week expressing there’s no such thing as brand design and much of what the design industry says about brand is incomprehensible, pretentious and just plain daft.

John Spencer: “Let’s get over our obsession with branding”

I think he’s wrong, I think people absolutely care about brand.

To say “nobody’s really bothered” about a specific brand is nonsense. Humans react to brands because they make us feel something. They do that because they have something they want to change. And as humans, we want to be part of that change. These brands have a reason to exist over and above making profit because they have…..PURPOSE.

Yes, we love the product. Yes they have a pretty colour palette. Yes they have an amazing type face that us designers nerd about. Yes they have great brand activations. But the thing we love most about them is the change they are driving.

Purpose is an incredibly powerful thing.

“If you create a purpose, make sure you deliver on that purpose. It is the filter through which you make every decision.”
Anne Finucane, Global Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer – Bank of America

As an industry we must have the mentality of Challenge, Change, Make Better. As creatives we have the ability to make people act and make change. Our job is to help brands express themselves and to stand for something, always questioning, why does the brand exist? What role does it play in customers lives? What challenge does it solve? How would the world be different without it? So they can install principle purpose that they can stay true to.

So why tell us we shouldn’t?

A “Rebrand” isn’t a typeface change; it’s a realignment of the purpose. The brands that we fall in love with, they don’t just make something, but change something as well. Those who successfully live through their purpose create a tight loyal community of brand followers, which helps fuel growth and inspire a new wave of change and creativity.

A little example. Do you think Patagonia would have made it if they were called Dolomites? Of course they would have…The purpose they practice is real. In this age of digital transparency customers can see through it and will redirect their spend elsewhere.


Facts are facts. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of surveyed global consumers prefer to purchase products and services from companies that stand for a purpose that reflects their own values and beliefs, and will avoid companies that don’t.

“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room” wise words from Mr Jeff Bezos. As an industry we’re responsible for tomorrows world. We’re shaping the next generation of doers and thinkers. So who says we should stay out of it?

Here are some of my favorite brands that practice what they preach!

Karma Cola