May 20, 2020

Throwback: #TDKTuesdays + And A Half

TDK (The Design Kids) is a global online resource that connects offline design communities and budding designers. #TDKTuesdays is a social arm held monthly all over the world, where local TDK chapters put together events for the community to engage with design studios and creative movers. TDK Manila and And A Half organized a discussion event called “The Perfect Brand” on May 7, 2019.

Their aim was to answer questions like: What does it take to create the perfect brand? What is it? Is it a product, service, an institution, or a person?

The panel was comprised of Sean Bautista from TETSUO, Rex Advincula of Inksurge, Christian San Jose of First Circle, award-winning designer Karl Castro, and yours truly Marla Darwin from Natural Selection Design.

We were free to set the parameters of interpreting the concept of the perfect brand and my talk focused on a meditation on the idea of perfection. I see branding as a relationship you extend to anyone who interacts with it. This is my favorite definition of it. Relationships are grounded in values and the belief placed in them can make abstract ideas become much more.

Designers who work with brands are essentially working to visually translate values. Therein lies the challenge of living up to the values we assign to each other. What would it mean to chase perfection? When I choose to view branding through the lens of a relationship, we move beyond transactions and become more human, which to me is what makes the branding process so compelling.

I defined the perfect brand as “You on Your Best Day.” This takes off from something I read in comedian Tina Fey’s memoir Bossy Pants. I anchor a lot of my ideals on intersectional feminism and this quote has a fantastic take on the kind of gaze I resonate with.

Feminists do the best Photoshop because they leave the meat in your bones. They don’t change your size or your skin color. They leave in your disgusting knuckles, but they make take out some armpit stubble. Not because they’re denying its existence, but because they understand that it’s ok to make a photo look as if you were caught on your best day in the best light.

You can watch the whole discussion here.
Photo Credit: And A Half