Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Luxury, Authenticity & Communication

Above filmmaker Jim Jarmusch supports creative copying. If there is one area where imitation is more freely accepted it is communication design because the end product is not a good so to speak in the same way a bag or clothing item is copied and re-sold.

Below is an example of problematic mass communication design. It aims to reach the widest public audience for a free event.

The crowded text and multi-colors oppose the tenants of luxury communication design, which instead aim for an exclusive, asset class client with minimalist, often monochromatic aesthetics.

Fashion invitations are a great case study in luxury communication design. Above the luxury communication design standard, high quality white paper with engraved printing. The invitations are top quality but aesthetically limited. Below Dior's use of color.

Above and below Chanel couture invitations honor historic elements such as Coco's lion and the original showroom arch.

Above Galliano's inventive forms from animal skin, to film prop, to Charlie Chaplin handkerchief are each reflective of the research inspiration themes of the collections. Below architectural invitation forms for Prada have been designed in partnership with OMA.

Vibrant color in these examples does not take away from the luxury detail. Above Gucci, Kenzo and Miu Miu and below Moschino. Creative Director Rosella Jardini explains: “The invite for a Moschino Show is an introduction. A foreword to a story that the Fashion Show will tell. I think since the beginning of our history the invite has been a short explanation that puts the guest at ease: it is like when you invite somebody to dinner, it hints at what is to come. It is in this way that the invite is very important, because it gives in advance details that will be unveiled during the fashion show as part of the collection itself.”

Above personal touches of Yoji Yamamoto's hand tied bow and Viktor & Rolf's hand written invite bring a level of customization that is a luxury value.

Antwerp trained designers Martin Margiela above and Dries Van Noten below use a variety of forms to challenge the conventional aesthetics, more playful for Margiela and formal for Van Noten.

Below the Spring 2011 Van Noten invitation made reference to accessories in the collection.

Can a label make a product? The answer is yes in the case of Diptyque.

The three Diptyque founders were originally in the fabric business then started making scented candles and perfumes with labels by artist founder Desmond Knox-Leet. The labels then gave the otherwise colorless, glass contained candles a recognizable personality recalling French art nouveau.

Today the labels are designed by artist team Kuntzel & Deygas who has also created communication for Colette and bring added value to the communication design by also being exhibiting artists.

In addition to the label, the packaging and store design of Diptyque represent essential luxury values - minimal, monochromatic forms of quality materials. Restraint is essential to luxury, aligned to the aspects of control and beauty.

Packaging is an enormous investment for luxury companies as it is seen as an extension of communication design.Luxe Pack is a global event, taking place in Monaco in Europe that brings together the best in luxury companies with the best in packaging. Below an innovative Gaultier fragrance package that contained a musical component.

Luxury companies are slowly combining web, lookbooks and campaigns to one unified communication platform. The website becomes a portal into promotional materials and unveiling shows, collections and creative materials. Above YSL gives direct coverage of the shows and below archives ad campaigns, previous collections and history.

The decline of print is the rise of mobile digital - Luxury companies are now seeking the greatest growth through hand held devices (see the Digital Agenda). Above luxury apps for the iPhone and below for iPad.

Finally another common luxury communication strategy is silence. Some brands, such as those below, choose to do limited to no advertising at all. They allow their services to communicate, in a gesture of genuine authenticity. They also host websites for global consumers. Chopard's communication director states, "our customers say please don't advertise." See more on alternative luxury communications here.

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