Thierry Brunfaut,

Blanding, The Branding Paradox

I’ve come to believe one thing: Brands are like people. Some are understated. Some are loud. Some funny. Some communicate by exclaiming! Some have terrible grammar. Brands aren’t created in a vacuum; they’re products of the world around them. Formed around the strengths and weaknesses of the competition, a brand is as much about what it isn’t as what it is. The point is differentiation; that’s what branding is. That’s why I’m so baffled by the current epidemic of what I call blanding—branding not to stand out at all, but to blend in. With results that are, in a word, bland.

Thierry Brunfaut is a creative director and one of the founding partners of Base Design, the international network of branding studios based in Brussels, New York, Geneva, and Melbourne. He is the author of the renowned 5–Minute poster series, a professor, and a regular speaker at design and branding conferences around the world. Thierry bears a striking and seemingly contradictory resemblance both to Moby and Kermit the frog.

Base Design creates brands with cultural impact. Our team of creatives, strategists, and digital experts design and develop simple yet powerful brands, and build unique personalities. Base knows that branding is first and foremost about people, so specializes in helping companies – whether new or established; large or small – to become human-centric brands with vision, clarity, and empathy. Founded in the early ‘90s, the company has evolved continuously over the years and is now steered by partners across all four studios.

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