Book review: Uncorporate Identitity
Welcome to Europe shows us a picture of a painted sun in red, yellow and black colors. This logo was created by the Spanish artist Joan Miró in 1980. This logo, or brand had as main purpose to reposition Spain as a welcoming and vibrant destination for tourists. On the following page we see logo’s of other nation-states which remind us of the Spanish one. They have the same loosely font, an image of the sun and the use of primer colors. The book “Uncorporated Identity “concludes that these adoptions lacked the artistic signature and became steered by the hand of the branding industry. Next it shows us how these national brands resemblance the logo’s of IT-firms, which use the same full-color spectrum. Even the European Union chose a logo with loosely font and primer colors:
“Together, with every character set in a different typeface and color. Sex Pistols (Never Mind the Bollocks) meets Miró at the coffee dispenser, Together appeases with all the formal criteria of diversity and tolerance- family-friendly Europunk for all ages.”
Next, Uncorporated Identity presents us another way of how European countries use branding and how the idea of diversity and tolerance is a question of the specific target group that is kept in mind. They bring in two campaigns, one from Switzerland and one from Spain. Both campaigns portray Europe as a terrible place to life for migrants. So, European countries brand them self as sunny travel opportunities and on the other hand as rainy, terrible places to go.
In many forms, all the contributors of the book try to unmask and construct Uncorporate Identity, which are abstractions of organizations we can see when the corporate logo is removed.
“A logo has trouble closing the gap between itself and the intangible thing it stands for. The emblem or image that represents an organization is a surface to cover that void.”
So if that logo is removed, we can see what is underneath. Uncorporate Identity provides us two ways of doing this, one way is iconoclasm: Remove to Expose and the other one is Crisis: the vanishing of an organization while its emblems and trademarks survive. This way we can analyze what is tried to be covered by the logo.
The book offers for instance an interview with anthropologist Michael Taussig on his essay Defacement, which arguments that destruction is the closest to the sacred. Taussig also writes about the Iconoclasm “Iconoclasm maybe not so much a case of subverting a steadfast and moral image, but the bringing to the surface of a latent vice that was always there.”
Uncorperate Identity is a collection of articles, interviews, studies, letters, comics, pictures etc. It is an inspirational book on how design is used in our time of political instability, economic recession and cultural disorder. It is a beautiful book which also challenges its reader to take a different perspective on how design is used.