Maybe it is not about stickers, maybe it’s about tattoos? Or: How to summarize a conference within a conference.

Brand Talks: it is a new format at the TYPO conference. Thirteen talks in 6,5 hours – like a non-stop speed dating platform where design meets brands.

By Anne Rethfeldt

Thomas Müller (Fjord), photo: © Norman Posselt / Monotype

So let’s put it together, the key learnings of every talk. Don’t you worry, this won’t be an awful long blog post. I also will stick to the fast, buzzy style, that host Jürgen Siebert kept charmingly throughout the day in the conference room.
But I have to put on record, that this summary is only happening thanks to Thomas Müller (Fjord Agency), who gave a wrap up talk at the end of the day. Here we go:

1. Opening with Michael Johnson, ‎Creative Director, Inhaber / johnson banks (London)
He nailed it early in the morning: think before you design. What is the purpose of the brand? Working on a marketing strategy means to find the core inside of the brand. If you are able to answer the question »Why are we here?« you are on the right route to tackle on.

2. Škoda and KMS Team, Stefan Büscher and Patrick Märki
What do Porsche, Bentley and Škoda drivers have in common? It’s their passion about the product. And this is what they did, really getting to know their clients. And therefore their brand strategy rewards itself: Simplify, create surprising content, and be human.

3. DFL/Bundesliga and Mutabor, Thomas Markert and Heinrich Paravicini
Create something iconic, that works for the overall organization. You know what that means: Das Runde muss ins Eckige!


Justus Oehler (Pentagram), photo: © Norman Posselt / Monotype

4. dm Drogerie and Oddity, Julia Wolf and Simon Umbreit
Guidelines are utter rubbish. That’s it.

5. Mastercard and Pentagram, Justus Oehler, Pentagram
Unfortunately there is no office of historical protection of good design …

6. Kiehl’s and Olapic, Rema Gouyez-Benallal and Jose de Cabo
Your people and fans can be your best brand assets as well as your brands guidelines.
(Side note: Rather confusing in comparison to the dm Drogeriemarkt talk? Well this is how the world is, rather diverse than common, luckily.)


Carola Seybold (Pantone) photo: © Norman Posselt / Monotype

7. Keynote: Today’s Role of Color in Branding, Carola Seybold, Pantone
15-0343: greenery is the color of the year and men are still colorblind. (Sorry to hear about that.)

8. Case Studies: Building Brand Advocates with Mobile Messaging, Evan Wary, Swyft
About 2.5 billion people are registered on at least one mobile messaging app. The influence is huge these days. There is not one standard to name, it depends on your clients, for sure. Overall important is to create content. It is the key to success. (…)
Alright there may be another one: stickers are still cool.

9. Audi and Strichpunkt, Jochen Rädeker and Thomas Michelbach
Not a brand drives the interface. Interfaces drives your brand. Or to get it straight — interface is the touchpoint, literally.


Donatus von Hessen and Holger Schmidhuber (Fuenfwerken), photo: © Norman Posselt / Monotype

10. Prinz von Hessen and Fuenfwerken, Donatus von Hessen and Holger Schmidhuber.
Emphasize the story and the heritage of your product. Create something iconic, or in other words »Wenn Wappen … dann schon richtig.«

11. Juventus and Interbrand, Paolo Insinga (Creative Director)
Simple briefings like back in the old days might be not good enough. The real magic happens if you go beyond with your clients. Reframe the usual setting, show them how to be and believe in a brand. Create a rich story behind the work or make them want to tattoo their new logo anywhere on their bodies.

12. Hilti AG and Peter Schmidt Group, Michael Pietig and Norbert Möller
How to redefine a successful brand? I mean we are talking about the macbook of construction.
Be aware of your brand DNA and perform human-centric all the way. (TOOLPORN! — no need to comment on this word)


Nadine Chahine (Monotype), photo: © Norman Posselt / Monotype

13. Government of Dubai and Monotype, Ahmad Al Mahri and Nadine Chahini (The Dubai Font Project)
Creating a type design for the city of Dubai means one thing only — giving a voice to a culture through its own typography. It seems to be the ultimate way of expressing culture. #expressyou — this is about creating an identity as its finest.

The bottom line is, whether or not you are a fan of guidelines within your branding campaign, branding evolved big time.
To echo the theme from the morning talk, brands should be seen like a system. They need to work from the bottom up. They need to work from the bottom source. They need to work from people and customer perspective not the other way around.
Years ago there used to be not a lot of competition on the market. You had a great product, that was it. It worked. But talking about 2017 costumers have plenty of choices. What brand does a costumer use? What brand does the costumer pick?
It is all about establishing a real relationship between the costumer and the brand. It’s about knowing your brand identity and your brands character and showing off what it means. Label your brand and get a reality check. — Thank god, the industry collects enough data about people and costumers to tailor their brand, and use it as their oxygen to bring marketing to a complete new level of possibilities.
And if some of your costumers are really willing to tattoo your logo under their skin, well you know for sure your brand is on the right path and the design does its work.

Thomas Müller

Thomas Müller (Fjord)

‎Managing Director, Head of Design & Innovation / Fjord (Berlin)

Originally from Germany, Thomas began his career in the US after studying at the Art Center College of Design, and spent 10 years at Razorfish in New  York where he w orked as Design Director. More recently he acted as Chief Experience Of f icer at Siegel+Gale before coming on board as Regional Design Director of Fjord in Europe. In his lif e at Fjord, he splits his time betw een three main pursuits. Firstly, creating the environment necessary, as w ell as removing obstacles, in order for his team to be productive. Secondly, managing key client relationships, and building up a Fjord team that spans 4 of f ices. Thirdly, working on new business development including speaking at events, interacting with the media, and helping Fjord Berlin pitch for new business. A huge fan of simplicity, Thomas loves using design as a process to both f acilitate people and ultimately create clarity in both form and function. He believes that design is a better approach than consulting because it puts people f irst. He wants to give people something to smile about, and make the world a better place, and design is one of the few things that has the power to do this.