I was talking to a colleague about “love,” the notion of letter-writing and love-worthy thoughts expressed in a hand-notated missive, one human to another.

To that, we were talking about stamps—particularly this love stamp I’d designed for the United States Post Office in 1989. It was my first and only stamp design. But it taught me a lot about designing tiny objects with incipient power—a storytelling of one most particular emotional bounds, and bonds, for people and their interconnectedness—their intertwinement.

Contemplating this in relationship to branding—which might seem a stretch, what could love have to do with business strategy? Of course, a great deal. We’ve written about, and worked for, a wide range of people over time that love what they do, and more so, they love what they’ve made, and inversely—the notion that people, members of a brand’s community, would love what they’re offering, as product and enterprise objects of exchange.

The layering of brand affection—a transactional experience that is tiered in personality, storytelling, beautiful detailing, quality and craft—that is about the depth, thoughtfulness and emotional content of the offering.

If you think about it for a moment, is there a brand that you “love,” that you admire—that perhaps plays into your life. Asking this question as a kickstarter in our BrandQuest® workshops, people answering this question come back with their personally profound, unforgettable experiences—which, of course, would include Disneyland, or the Burj Dubai, or complex or legacy brands—like my personal favorite, L’Officina Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. It reminds me of the Quicksilver Messenger Service’s—classic [1969] take on “Who do you love?” One or two of you would know this song. In a manner, everything that we do—at GIRVIN—ultimately comes down to love, loving what we do, in support of others that love.

Perhaps a reader here would have a memory of a powerful brand leader—an inventor, innovator, designer, storyteller of something new or something old. In my experience, this sharing of founder’s dreams of outwardly extending the messages and visualizations of a dream—and inspiring their teams to ever celebrating these visions is an energizing attribute of the craftwork of branding.

There’s the story of the brand—its core; and there’s the story of the person—human brand that made that proposition live:

Or completely integrated—brand is [as] human.

Love + Humans
Every brand has an emotional construct—even in the most non-humanized brands, there is a personality that is designed towards an emotive response—it’s a vibe, it’s a spirit, a soulful and inspirational characteristic. This equation lends itself to attachment and adhesion—the bind to relationships speaks to relevance: utility, and resonance:
the song of the story feels right, it resonates.

“I believe in what this brand is doing, I align with it, I love the premise of its…” motivations—whether transactional
or charitable in character.

Or a dream of linking—more directly, personal visioning and dreams are aligned by name, to brand, to legacy.

So, in a manner, you can look at brands through the portal of love—because that’s what it comes down to—the lovemaking in building a brand, the teams that support that love well made internally, and the love of the community commitments in relationship—they embrace the promise and are attracted to its mission—everything aligns.


Walking back—to just the most recent meditations, it came back to beautiful brands, which relate to a larger life arc: the most astonishingly powerful experiences in my life,
mostly they come back to beauty and love.

Other designers talk—that I’ve recently heard—
of UX utility, navigational worthiness,
information architectural solution-binding, and App-worthiness.

All good—and critical in the mix of utility, but what does it mean in the context of our journey towards something meaningfully intregral in our lives?

More so, does it seem more beautiful?

What betterment
we make?

I think about the quest of beauty,
the relating to relevance, resonance,
and happiness.

However, the work
does come back to

Which could be love.

And what holds fast in the
mind, memory and moment

and perhaps,
that momentum
of the happy instant.

Speak: memory.

What do you remember of love—and makes you happy?

When the strategy of brand modeling
comes around for study—how does
a brand work in relationship to its audience?

That would be about love—who loves your brand?

We’ve talked about that, along with
the captivations of enchantment,
engagement and embracement

A brand that
enchants—its opening magnetism,
then engages—there is an initial adhesion and attraction,
then it finalizes the relationship as it embraces.

And, an added note—
always good to study—
in the ROI of the work–
who cares about it?


These people are committed to their brands.
But what manner do they love them?

They boost their status?
It’s been suggested that, for some,
brands are class-leaping tools
buy-in here, your status is elevated there.
That’s the key magnetism.

The brand and its making is a journey?
And in this, they emulate their personal journey,
they are crafted, cared-for by their makers and their users?

They suggest a parallel of life statement.
They emulate a philosophy of
health and holism — a personal binding of belief.

They feel good.
And in the sensations of being, feeling good
is the tantamount measurement
of happiness and
whole worthiness?
And in the beginning,
and in the end,
the alignment of belief is love,
which is the inherently
the seed meaning of be-lief.


Tim | GIRVINSEATTLE + OseanStudios
Girvin Cloudmind