What does it mean to identify with someone or something? It could mean a lot of things, but being a graphic designer has got me thinking deeply about how people identify with the world around them and how they identify with themselves. I find myself thinking about how many people in the world often struggle with identifying themselves (including me) because for every positive attribute that we identify ourselves with there is a negative attribute to follow it and vise versa.
As a designer I am constantly contemplating the most efficient way to communicate thoughts and ideas using visual communication in a universal way. Over time I am realizing that this is such a difficult challenge because even though we are able to identify our external self through style with the clothes that we wear and things of that nature, we are not able to identify with certain internal aspects of ourselves as easily. Therefore culture is as major part of visual communication and being able to relate symbology to specific cultures and age groups is a difficult challenge.
There is a human essence that makes visual communication challenging and I don’t think can be described easily, it is often times described as the soul or the spirit. There has been a lot of research done on the human mind but one thing I don’t think we can understand about ourselves in a scientific way is the soul. Some people believe we have them others don’t as I designer I think that “soul” is the essence of identification with ourselves.
As I work on branding projects I find myself thinking about peoples ability or lack thereof to identify with brands or not. The reason why this is challenging for designers is because a brand is a representation of a lot of different people who come together to accomplish a business goal. Often times these people come from very different walks of life that all have different styles and personalities. Therefore a brand exists much like a person would: struggling to remain relevant to the world around it with its identity. Sometimes brands have mid life crisis other times they simply reach a time of nostalgia but in the end every brand works to do the same thing that an individual person does, Identify themselves for better or worse.