DEFINING THE JOURNEY TO THE HIDDEN CENTER: THINGNESS
FINDING SOUL IN THE MYSTERY OF BRANDING:
THE QUEST FOR THE HEART, THE UNCOVERING OF MEANING, THE FOUND MEMORY—
THE MOMENT IN THE MOMENTUM.
For a brand to survive, there needs to be a stance, a point of view, distinction, differentiation and the stability in the being of a brand? It’s a reason for being—why be?
It’s a dream; it’s a story; it’s a set of beliefs that drive forward, to community, to market, to transitioning:
it’s new, it’s a transformation, transitioning a visioning to another tier of
neo-rightness and perfected change.
But it is, too, about finding and defining the counterpoint, the sensationalism of being, sensate:
And it is feeling
the reflectivity of the participant —
the giver, the receiver;
Brands work in interactivity, they exchange the layering of the brand story, and the story of the participant and how they interplay—“this is my brand, I made it for you, and your engagement will be the play of your relating to the brand and its making.” And in that will be the making, the build-out of the brand, and how the experiencer journeys, with and in, the brand.
In my history, there have been points of
argument to what the nature of the brand might be.
“Hey you, a brand doesn’t have a soul, it’s just: a brand.”
So how did that happen, that brand, I’d wonder?
Just spit out of the commercial engine, a mechanized and robotic spew?
That would be up to you and your interpretation of how you tend to relate to, feel towards any branded experience. Just a ride, or are you looking into it? For something deeper?
And as a maker, is your mark the layering of something different?
It is—for example—just a place that offers something?
Is is just a place that you grab some food, a service, a drink, a book, a gift—
just there, it’s a place—
get in, get out.
Get on your way.
Get outta [t]here.
And it might come, more pertinently,
to the notion of how you experience things,
which could be a
“make it through the day,”
“the exploration is the meaning of the day”
kind of appraisal of that diurnal action.
That too would lend itself to other tiers of examination, as you study commerce, consider enterprise, examine experience layering.
Really, do you care — study that, map that, tier the layering of how you link to a humanized experience of brand sensation? As a designer, you must be thinking about these things.
Or it is: “hmmm…this is nice.”
Or “no, this isn’t nice.”
And if you’re thinking about those things, are you pondering — “the why of it,” settling deeper into the molecular moment to ask,
“why am I thinking this?”
The etymology of the word mystical lies in the history of the process — to know more, there is an initiation — it’s a journey into another place, another way of seeing, a different layer of experience.
What you sense, what you see — it could be hidden, less than obvious, it’s the first step to knowing more as is quickly
implied in the word itself.
You might say, too, that to be an initiate, you are first in line to understand something that perhaps others might never grasp. Something has opened up to you—or you have opened up to it.
But never mind to that premise, just presume that the very idea of brand mysticism, from “myo” or the term ‘mysticism,’ comes from the Greek μυω, meaning “to conceal.” That would lend the gesture that the most interesting brands aren’t obvious, they are layered in a journey to discovering.
There is something behind, underneath, inside the layering of the brand.
And that’s where the soulfulness lies.
It might be, that everyone knows that Tim Westerling sells books down at the Market Book Shop. But does everyone know that Mr. Westerling was a former Catholic missionary priest in Shenzhen, China, that he lived in a monastery studying Chinese before his journey into the far country of China in the 60s?
Spread knowledge, his credo.
Or what of Shirley’s Waterfront Café and her early days as a circus performer and how that influenced her whole lineage of thinking about color, theatricality and presentation, and — in that instance: food?
Perform. Present. Practice.
I’m not suggesting that every brand has a hidden layering beneath the trappings of now-conventionalized appearance, but that, more often than not, there is something deeper to the very idea of getting into the presentment of a brand, built for selling, underlaid with a truth to some commitment to produce an offering needed by others than oneself, the maker of the brand.
Why make it?
What’s the point of the build?
Why take that journey, leading out to the edge of brand creation?
A withering wind, it comes and goes.
For something more, personally, as in all likelihood: an evocation to actualize dreams, ideals and ideas?
A calling [vocare] — which, in its very nature is a mystically-motivated premise: “the calling,” a voicing from within or without that “speaks,” literally, to an answer. A simple question presumes a simple answer. A mystical inquiry presumes the finding of an occult answer, something that isn’t out in the open, something concealed, something that lies in a greater embracement of the story being told.
Sure, you can get the basic plot line of any telling.
But what if there is something more beneath the surface?
Could be, should be, shall be,
In an earlier set of images, shot on the road, around the world, I’d overlaid messaging from the present, to remote locations, disruptions and disturbances – points of transitioning.
Portals of change.
Portals of changed awareness.
Portals of discovery.
The spellbinding of change.
I built this string of images a half decade back and more.
Shot in remote places and written as a three-stroke layering of message.
That takes you to:
a path that goes somewhere.
Of your choosing.
Or as a wander.
There is a path.
Which, daily, takes
a new turn.
Story is history,
it is where the brand was,
what it was made from,
who made it and why.
And this is the telling to what the brand is,
and who that was, is, could be and shall —
in the narrative augury of the futurist.
There is a brand song —
any song is a chant and enchantment is
intermingled in the siren’s notes.
Is your brand a theory?
Or something held?
comes back to what
That voice is the calling.
It is the calling-out.
And the calling-in — the shout, the whisper.
As in any journey,
the map-maker is the journalist;
every step of a map is an hour, the jour of the moment.
The journey and the journal intertwines —
as the plait-work of a pathway.
There is a loom of experience —
which is the earth and the heavens, the forward and the back,
west and east, the up skyward and the down south.
The loom gathers the threading, the warp and the weft and shuttles the holism of the fabric.
Which is, of course,
When some hear the word mysticism, they contemplate the visage of a mystic, clouded in obscuration. The explorer of the shadowed and veiled world — but perhaps, in fact, it is always through the mist, the fog of being, the wanderer in the trackless land, that we see more clearly beyond, in what is deeper.
Because we’ve been there. Out there. Further.
Some brands shall always be superficial, transaction-shell-games, while others seem to have a kind of, pardon the alliteration, mystique.
The point would be that the true value of any brand lies in the depth of its community of transactors.
Go deeper, into and
beyond the mist of being.
And see more.
TIM | GIRVIN | OSEAN Studios
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