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    How Does Branding Relate to Interior Design Practice

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    Branding is a buzzword of the 21st century and has changed the way consumers shop. It can be found in a brand’s online presence, in the brand’s ethos, and even on small things like a clothing label. But how much does interior design influence a brand’s identity and the consumers who follow the brand? This essay will focus on the topic of branding and how it is linked to interior design practice. It will also outline the ways in which branding has become a critical issue in the medium of interior design.

    Branding has been known for a long time to encompass a brand’s identity as a representation for the consumer to experience. In an article by ‘Brandingmag’, Elizabeth Smithson describes branding as “a marketing practice in which a company creates a name, symbol or design that is easily identifiable as belonging to the company.” (Smithson, 2019). However, branding has come to mean a lot more than just the brand itself. Many view brands as a means of judging others, associating

    them with a sort of social hierarchy. This could be from the standpoint of fashion, wealth, or even the brand’s own economic impact. When creating a brand, the target market needs to be considered, along with all potential wishes of that market. For example, to gain a following, a fashion brand directed at young adults would need to host creative and on-trend designs but would also need to consider the economic impact of the company, given that more and more young adults are seeking eco- friendly ways of living. It would also need to offer a strong social media presence to further attract the target market. Where interior design comes into the branding of the company is by acting as an extension of the brand’s ethos, a physical, tactile representation of the brand itself. This could be in terms of aesthetics, ‘vibe’, or even the materials used. When designing a branded interior, the designer needs to think carefully about product placement and the impact of product placement. But most importantly, the designer must guarantee that the brand shines through all of its interior elements.

    The brand Jack Wills (Fig 1) has been around since 1999 and has since become a household name. The brand exhibits a quintessential British lifestyle with motifs of hunting, polo and the British upper class. The brand describes itself as “intrinsically charming, endlessly optimistic and unapologetically British.” (, 2019). Their store sells mainly countryside fashion items, as well as smaller items such as keyrings and phone cases. The merchandise is fairly affordable, however the branding gives the impression of class and luxury. Jack Wills is aimed at the teenage/ young adult age group. an article by Boe magazine states that “The Jack Wills brand targets affluent school and university students in the sixteen to twenty-four age demographic” (Magazine, 2019). Although it is not strictly classed as a luxury store, the branding makes it more desirable to a younger audience by seeming a bit higher class than other shops. The branding of Jack Wills leaks through into the interior design of all of their stores. For example, the Jack Wills store in Newcastle conveys the brand’s identity with hunting décor, mismatched furniture and taxidermy. The brand manages to convey their British values in the Newcastle store whilst still adding a modern twist with things like the Neon light antlers above the checkout (Fig 2) and some industrial style railings to keep up with changing trends. With all of these different styles of branding pulled together into one company Jack Wills has given the impression of being a timeless and established company when it is really only 20 years old. Although this could be seen as slightly sneaky towards the consumer, it has helped them become a nationally recognized name.

    An example of a more honest company in terms of branding would be the skincare/ cosmetics brand ‘Burt’s Bees’. Burt’s bees was founded in 1984 and started with “Burt the Beekeeper happily selling honey from the back of his truck” (Burt’s Bees UK, 2019). From selling honey to candles to lip balm and now to selling over 180 products, Burt’s Bees has grown into a trusted and sustainable brand that focuses on naturally sourced ingredients, using the message “Nature has the best answers.” (Burt’s Bees UK, 2019). Burt’s Bees use many branding strategies to stay relevant, the main one focuses on the brand’s ethos and appealing to the consumer’s care for nature and the environment. They use a mixture of genuinely natural products, social media presence and also brand story to create their brand identity. On the Burt’s Bees Youtube channel the company post regular videos demonstrating and advertising the products, advertising the products along with also videos on the brand’s ethos and educational videos about nature. This gives the impression to the consumer that the company cares about their loyal following and wants to share a wholesome message about the consumer’s interests and not just sell them product. In 2016, Landini Associates- a Sydney based design studio- created a new retail experience for Burt’s Bees. The store they designed buzzes with the Burt’s Bees ethos (Fig 4) and invites customers to experience the brand before buying the product. The interior features mainly timber surfaces, giving the store a very warm rustic feeling, which paired with the golden lighting makes the store feel like a very safe space to shop and view the products. Every detail of the interior has been meticulously thought out and is a true celebration of the brand. The interior manages to capture the humble beginnings of the brand with one simple image: “The back wall is made up of a large image of Burt in nature with his bees, the space where he was most at ease.” (, 2019) (Fig 3). This interior is a perfect example of the power of a branded interior and the importance of this subject for any interior designer working commercially.

    When designing a branded interior for the brand Kenzo, I first began researching in depth about the brand. Kenzo is a French luxury fashion brand founded in 1970 by Kenzo Takada, a Japanese fashion designer. The brand has a successful past in the fashion world and recently rebranded into a more accessible luxury brand focusing on streetwear. The new Kenzo brand has a very playful, modern image whilst also keeping the original spirit of Kenzo Takada alive in the brand. Kenzo is known for its tiger branding (Fig 5) and its exciting, slightly wacky designs. A lot of the Kenzo merchandise features bright clashing patterns with jungle vibes, inspired by Takada’s travels. I wanted to keep this energy alive throughout the interior, welcoming the customers into the wild world of Kenzo. When I first tackled this brief, I thought about creating a very clean white interior, like many of the existing Kenzo stores, however I wanted to make this Newcastle store full of Instagram moments that people would want to visit and share. When a customer walks into the store they are greeted with floor to ceiling screens showing a jungle scene, if they watch for long enough they will catch a glimpse of the iconic Kenzo tiger prowling through the jungle. I wanted the Kenzo tiger to become a focal point of the ground floor, as this tiger truly represents Kenzo and it is what the brand is known for. Considering this, I decided that all of the merchandise on the ground floor would be tiger branded, for example the iconic Kenzo sweatshirts. This gives a new customer an introduction to the brand and what they stand for. Moving past the screens, the rest of the ground floor is a jungle of patterns, panels and colours. I wanted to incorporate the Jungle element of Kenzo but I didn’t want to be too literal, which I resolved by interpreting the word ‘jungle’ in a more abstract way and translating it into an interior that would make the ground floor an exciting adventure for the customer to explore, (Fig 6). The first floor acts as if it were the canopy of the trees, when the customer walks up the stairs they are greeted with a breath of fresh air, a cleaner, quieter area displaying Kenzo’s collaborations and collections. I wanted this area to feel like more of an exclusive floor, so that a customer who is already familiar with the brand could wander up to experience the new projects that Kenzo has been working on (Fig 7). Alternatively, there is an arcade in the basement. This captures the Kenzo spirit and gives customers a fun experience to try out whilst they are in store (Fig 8). In designing the Kenzo interior, I hope to have truly represented the essence of the brand and what it stands for: a playful, carefree environment.

    In conclusion, it is clear to see that a branded interior is one of many pillars a brand must stand upon to become a well-loved and followed brand. Interior designers who work commercially with brands must keep up with everchanging branding, as well as those that remain the same, in order to stay relevant in the design world.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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