form Nº 274.
Identical identities are rare – and this is as it should be. Whether it is a person, a brand or a product, their identity is a question of distinctiveness, a high degree of recognisability and a sense of connection with the human or object opposite. In form 274 we explore how identities are shaped today.
In her article “The Brand-new Manager” Ana Andjelic illustrates how brand identity no longer originates from a vertical brand-media complex, but relies on networks. She writes: “To stay relevant in the age of networks, which diminishes their traditional role in connecting products and consumers, brands need to start piggybacking on the identity of those they want to connect with.”
In view of this change, it is not easy for a company to decide to revise its corporate identity. The Frankfurt agency Atelier Markgraph has nevertheless dared to take this step. Our interview “‘Nicht nur neu, sondern besser’ – Kill Your Darlings”, with two of the three Markgraph managing directors and the two graphic designers from Schultzschultz, who are responsible for the new identity, is available to read online.
form’s identity also has a long history of development. In looking at the history of form in the piece “Übergänge und Zustände – Corporate Idemity”, Stephan Ott considers the different stages of identity formation and what it is like to be in the state of idemity.
In “Objects of Desire – Die Suche nach den Dingen”, Ian Woodward describes how objects or consumer goods nowadays contribute to the formation of personal identity. He spans an arc from Donald Winnicott’s ideas about children’s transitional objects, Karl Marx’s ideas on the alienation of mass-produced goods in industrial capitalism to his own conclusion that in “a complex and global world identity becomes something constructed and socially performed, and this is where objects matter a great deal.”
Furthermore, we present the history of the plastic bag and question its bad reputation. In the Discourse section, we put to the test the proclamation made 25 years ago about the “death of the designer” and in “One Size Fits All? Eine Frage der Ergonomie”, we discuss the relevance of ergonomic considerations in a world where everything seems individualised.
In the final part of our anniversary series “Revisiting the Past”, we highlight six directions that design as a discipline can take in the future. We have also expanded all six issues of this series and included them in our format form feature. The special yearbook form feature 2 “Revisiting the Past” is now available in our online shop.
As with any issue, you can also read three articles online from form 274. This time, you’ll find out how designers deal with the phenomenon of the Anthropocene age in “Gesteinsgeschichten – Rock Strata”; the above-mentioned interview gives you an insight into the development of the new corporate identity of Atelier Markgraph and the article “Show Them What You’re Made Of – Material macht Marken” shows how the choice of materials decisively contributes to the perception of a brand.