Global design

Brands around us create such a significant influence that can’t be ignored. A brand is the combination of the designer’s thinking and consumer who is subjected to it. We are bombarded daily by images, smells, sounds, and symbols that settle in our minds and the brand arises whenever these are stimulated. We are surrounded by well known products and our society is driven by smart marketing. It’s easy to notice that design is happening globally.

Lockwood, explained that reason plays a major role in marketing, and it’s time to get rid of it. The major difference between reason and emotions, is that reasons leads to conclusions and emotions lead to actions. (Lockwood L, 2005)

In fact, everyone, while driving, has seen the yellow M of McDonald’s and found themselves queuing in the drive thru. That’s because the visual identity of this brand has such a significant strength around it, that we are unconsciously influenced. Mass production brands that use effective communication strategies and are well established, are trusted by the consumer.

But how does a brand become globally recognised? McDonald’s opened in 1940, developing low price hamburgers that are sold through the slogan “the same burger, with the same quality in all parts of the world.” Apparently, this was a key method that worked for McDonald’s. In 1991, there were 12,000 McDonald’s in the world. Today, this number has tripled.( Carriero E., 2013)

Due to global production, a standardisation of items has occurred. As a result of global production, low prices and low brand identity can happen. In order to face this issue, big brands reacted by connecting to local culture. Indeed, a kind of cultural design is rising.

Here is where one big brand adopted a countries cultural identity to sell its products.

An example of this type of marketing was when McDonald’s stepped back to the culinary traditions of each country. This is evident with the italianization of McDonald’s Menu.

In an Italian McDonalds, you can find more fruit and vegetables, as these items are important to Italians. In order to give importance to a cultural tradition, you can have some Barilla pasta (Fig. 1) with Mcdonalds Italian style sauces. These items bring McDonalds ”nearer to the Mediterranean model of eating’.’ (McDonald’s website, 2013)


This example demonstrates how “Branding uses a range of strategies to activate a social identification by consumers, as part of a process of building close links between social and commodity identity.” (R. Jindal,2014)

It is not the first time, however, that this company, has taken heat over efforts to satisfy new desires of its consumers. Similar to his cultural ideas, McDonalds has acted with much more health responsibility. In fact, another step further is to support a sport activity with “Happy Meal Sports Camp” with the testimonial Antonio Rossi and other famous sport’s champions (Fig. 2)(McDonalds website, 2014).

Healthy mind in a healthy body” is the slogan of fitness that McDonalds conveys by associating its products with a fitness approach. This project has the strategic intent to promote events that reduce the numerous accusations of spreading a culture of poor nutrition. Moreover, McDonalds, as reported in Burger Business blog, shows their brand power during The FIFA World Cup soccer in Brazil, in a global sponsorship position. McDonald’s has created extensive special variations to its menu to adapt to the different fan demands.(Fig. 3) As the World Cups is an international event, the game plan is to spoil its customers.(Rizzo A., 2012).

Another marketing approach is well represented by Nutella. Nutella’s path is through globalization. Instead of McDonalds, who is trying to adapt products by modifying tasting, Nutella is able to operate selling the same product everywhere. Even though the product is always the same, Nutella is trying to achieve an emotional link to connect to every single person, regardless the country. An illusion for the “consumer” is that the company has created the product for them. In reality however, the communication remains firmly controlled by the company that manipulates and uses the enthusiasm of the consumer, to achieve new company goals.

Nutella, has staked everything on their significant popularity and identity. They are able to remove the brand name on the jar, using personalized names and roles labels that cover everyone in the society (dad, friends) (V. Nardi, 2013). This personalised marketing strategy is an example of how Nutella, competes in the global market.


In addition, Coca -Cola has used a similar strategy: The main purpose of advertising the known soft drink is to give consumers the opportunity to feel just the brand and remain united under one brand, together sharing a moment of happiness (old slogan of the company).” (P. Pinak,2012)

Fig.4 Share a Coke this summer

Share a Coke this summer


Ultimately, it’s crystal clear that it is the target customers that dictate which is the most effective marketing strategy to use. Furthermore, the big companies have to respond to market and cultural demands and perceived needs of the consumer. Products which, even if commercialized through mass production, can achieve a personal connection, through marketing, can always satisfy the customer and their needs.


Burger Business, (2014). McDonald’s Ties Global Menus To World Cup. [online] The Huffington Post. Available at: [Accessed 24 Dec. 2014].

Carriero, E. (2013). Semplicemente io. [Blog] Come è nato McDonald’s. Available at: [Accessed 24 Dec. 2014].

Coca-Cola – Share a Coke This Summer. (2013). Coca-Cola.

Jindal, R. (2014). Brand and the market… pp. 27.

Lockwood, L. (2005). Powering Brands with emotions. 190.107, pp.1-2.

Mc Donald, (2014). HAPPY MEAL SPORT CAMP. [online] McDonald’s Italia. Available at: [Accessed 24 Dec. 2014].

McDonald’s (2013) Available at: [Accessed 24 Dec. 2014].

Nardi, V. (2013). Ferrero personalizza i vasetti di Nutella: il nome aveva fatto il boom. [online] Il Fatto Alimentare. Available at: [Accessed 24 Dec. 2014].

Pinak, P. (2014). Marketing strategies of Coca-Cola. 1st ed. pp.1-10.

Rizzo, A. (2012). Strategie e Marketing 3.0: Il caso McDonald’s UK e Italia – Papers – [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Dec. 2014].


Sub-cultural Design


Not only mass- production surround us. Sub-  cultural brands are not to take for granted as their way of expression is also strong and effective.

Loacker differs from standard brands, through its use of communication, in order to achieve an emotional connection with people.It’s a company that has been founded in Bozen, in 1925, and since then, is synonymous with fresh wafer and delicious chocolate specialities. In the course of this century, the famous “laboratory” has grown and has expanded to become a large factory of success. (Loaker website, 2012)

Starting from the Logo as we can see in Fig. 1, behind the name “Loacker”, lies the family owners name. The Sciliar, the mountain of South Tyrol surmounting the brand name, stands as the guarantor of the origin and authenticity of the products. (Endo7, 2013)

The brand identity has been built up idealizing the environment around it, through a magic interpretation. This idealisation is the main representation that shows a family selecting the best natural ingredients and producing the products with passion. The production and advertising is located in the heart of the Dolomites, where the air and water are fresh and pure. (Loacker website, 2012)

Differently from other television advertisements, in theirs, there are no testimonials. Therefore, their advertisements don’t change based on current trends. The theme is always the same, where little gnomes are immersed in nature baking sweets surrounded by towering mountain ranges.( Fig. 2) (M. Belloni, 2011)



In the current subcultural markets, the focus, on the design front, has shifted to green products. In fact, organic products are one of the areas that has grown significantly and has gained influence in recent times. However, in most of the cases, this is a marketing strategy used by brands, to meet the consumer demands.

Baudrillard shows that” the products we purchase create a language (sign/signifier) that communicates who we are” it is not a case that we are going in this direction.(Weller L, Baudrillard,2004)

There are a variety that use green marketing strategies. Intimissimi in Italy adopted the strategy to

recycle old underwear, reducing prices for the new purchase. In addition, many companies in the food industry are adding some sustainable labels through their packaging of products. Furthermore, Coca-Cola added some natural sugar as a replacement and also McDonalds adopted a green approach.(G. Embiricos, 2013) (Calzedonia S:P:A., 2014)

McDonalds is a company that has adopted the green marketing strategy. The background of the M of the McDonalds logo has been changed from a yellow to a dark green. Also, the furnishing and interior has changed into one that is minimal and through the wood, it connects with the natural elements through the decorations and natural tones. This creates and eco-friendly feeling byswapping its traditional red for a deep hunter green – to promote a more eco-friendly image in Europe.” (L.Soares, 2014).Apparently, now, eating in one of these fast-food chains, could seem healthy. The issue is that the visual is covering the real content of the food. It is still unhealthy.

However, even if the food is unhealthy, progress is still being made.



Through using green marketing strategies, companies, such as Intimissimi, McDonald’s (Fig. 3) and Coca -Cola are able to continuously make progress through connecting to their consumers.

In contrast to these examples, there are also subcultural brands that really believe in low environmental impact, safe items and green manufacturing. Lush is certainly one of these brands, with the belief that the words fresh and organic have a real meaning beyond marketing.

Lush (Fig. 4) is a remarkable British cosmetic business, specializing in the production of organic beauty and cleaning products. As the aim of the brand is to be natural, its mission statement is to behelping people to feel better about themselves, others, and the world around them” (Hickman, 2010)




The difference that makes Lush a unique company, which stands out from the other cosmetic brands, is the fact that the whole company (factories, offices, stores, materials, products) are following green ideals and rules. 100% of the materials used to make their products are found in nature and have a short shelf life because they are organic. All the items are made by hand instead of through mass production measures. This also to ensure freshness. “Organic Cosmetics is an up and coming idea.” (Jenny Ku, 2012). Each product has a sticker showcasing who made it, along with an expiration date. To attract consumers, cosmetic labels are strengthened by some unique funny names and details that we do not find in a common store. (Fig. 5, 6, 7, )is not only the content of the actual products that are important to stay on the top of the green debate, but also the form. Lush has drastically cut it’s environmental waste by recycling their products. Also, it has reduced its use of packaging by replacing with packets made from raw materials. These changes demonstrate Lush’s commitment to the environment.



 In addition, the magazine (Fig. 8,9) keeps the customer updated on the products and much more!” is not sent home and they do not print out many copies and hand around for environmental reasons. This is surely an ethical motivation rather than following conventional marketing rules. Their advertising are drawings with simple shapes and caricatures of the wide range of the target audience, accompanied by sketched writing. Real women are not taking parts in the advertising, as models which is different from what we are used to seeing.


As a result the green ethics of Lush, their products tend to be more expensive compared to other beauty products, and therefore the target audience is small. This scenario eliminates a number of potential consumers that turn to cheaper substitutes or other pre-existing lines. Furthermore, Lush seems to be way ahead of the rest of the industry through its opposition of animal testing. A lot of support is being given to some CSR campaigns that also help people discuss their products.

This opposition to animal cruelty is evident through Lush’s Fox hunting campaign in 2013:

As well as handing out the leaflets which prompted the ASA ruling, Lush raised £50,000 for the Hunt Saboteurs Association through the sale of the Fabulous Mrs Fox bubblebath. (Fig. 10,11) The money went towards upgrading Land Rovers and paying for fuel.” (Hickman, M, 2013)


In conclusion, through evaluating some subcultural products, it has emerged that these are certainly high quality standard. This is the perfect time for companies, with a clear vision to move into green design. It’s easy to re-launch themselves into the public eye, despite the price. In this way, we can also consider them as niche product, with added value. As the target audience are consumers who are conscious about the environment and what they put into their body, companies need to demonstrate innovation and environmental values with their green design.







Belloni, M. (2011). Loacker ,La bontò vinceï, il gran finale a Heinfels. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Dec. 2014].

Calzedonia S.P.A., (2014). Intimissimi goes Green – Intimissimi. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Dec. 2014].

Embiricos, G. (2013). Coke Is Introducing A New Product. Will It Help Revive The Soda Industry?. [online] Food Republic. Available at: [Accessed 23 Dec. 2014].

Endo7, (2013). Loacker – Inconfondibile sapore di naturalità. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Dec. 2014].

Hickman, M. (2010). How Lush made a meal out of fox hunting. [online] The Independent. Available at: [Accessed 23 Dec. 2014].

Jenny Ku, (2012). Lush Happy people making happy soap. 1st ed. [ebook] pp.1-28. Available at: [Accessed 23 Dec. 2014].

Soares, L. (2011). Mc Donalds™s Rolled out Green Logo in Europe. brandiary, pp.1-2.

Weller, L. (2004). Baudrillards Theory of Modern Society Through the Analysis of Consumption. Power Discourse Dange, pp.1-8.

Gender Design

Humans, having primary and secondary needs create requests to be solved. Marketing aims to investigate these requests in order to create a satisfying products. From a superficial analysis, however, what emerges is that marketing is driven by standard preconceptions that determine products.

Marketing is the process by which a firm profitably translates customer needs into revenue.”(Mark Burgess Managing Partner,Blue Focus Marketing) . This is not such an uninvolved and naïve process. In fact, Lisa Buyer affirms that, “Intuitive by design, marketing matches the right message/cause to the right person. Finding someone who has a personal connection with your product, service or cause in a way that is unobtrusive and inviting.(Lisa Buyer– President and Chief Executive Officer, The Buyer Group)

It’ s right here that gender design bases its roots.

Unfounded, but well practiced preconceptions are inherent from childhood creating stereotypes. The idea of femininity and masculinity divide requests from a marketing point of view. (Fig. 1)

This builds up like a layer, with which we filter reality, and is clear that marketing is the puppeteer.

The main design and gender differentiation is based on a sexuality approach. It is dervived from the past: today this emerges from marketing, in the past it came from artistic representation of women.

The represented of female figures changed from Tiziano‘s “La Venere d’Urbino” (Fig. 2) to Édouard Manet‘s Olympia” (Fig. 3) in just a couple of centuries. The first is shown as a prudish, mythological, naked woman lying on a bed. It is important to notice that nudity is shown through historical and well known ideals that make her pure and beautiful through peoples eyes.

The second one is completely different. The same girl is replaced by Olympia, and is now an anti-academic, provocateur of official circles and morals. This time we can see a shocking nudity: she is no more a pure woman but the whole representation lets us clearly understand that she is a prostitute. She has particular jewelery, the ribbon velvet neck, the orchid in her hair, the slipper dangling from her foot. Also, the place of a noble residence is now the glimpse of a brothel.

Fig. 2: Tiziano: La Venede d’Urbino - Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi, 1538

Fig. 2: Tiziano: La Venede d’Urbino – Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi, 1538

Fig. 3: Édouard Manet: Olympia- Parigi, Musée d’Orsay, 1863

Fig. 3: Édouard Manet: Olympia- Parigi, Musée d’Orsay, 1863


The Sexual approaches of women figures has deeply changed with the development of social concepts. Superficiality is gained nowadays from the level of life that address products and advertising based on shallows notions.

Needless to say, that the sexuality that once seemed to be taboo, today, does not seem to exist anymore, as we can see in many kinds of product.(Fig. 4)

Another nonconformist behavior similar to Manet’s one, is identified in the Intimissimi advertising that breaks the chain of standard samples of our new sexuality concepts. This is taking the path less of the travelled. In the past this type of advertising created scandals. Nowadays this game of gender design can be seen as a marketing strategy.

Manets strategy can be seen as thinking that differs from previous times.

The woman doesnt wear, as we are used to seeing, sexy underwear that is pink or transparent, but a pair of mens grey boxers.


For thousands of years, in the minds of men, it is rooted concept that males have greater importance than the females, and then a man who dresses as a woman, losing dignity and importance, it becomes ridiculous; consequently a woman dressed as man acquires dignity and importance. So ingrained in our mind, that we can no longer look objectively reality.” (Mediatech, 2011)

Much research is being made to investigate our needs and it seems that its a circle that creates new demands to be satisfied. The one in which we live is recognized as a sophisticated humanity in whicha Brand’s Ability to Speak to Women and Men”.(Cohen H., 2011)

Maybe it is better to start from the scratch and live without stereotypes from birth. Designers shouldn’t focus on gender design stereotypes. Our mind has to be created with our imagination through free and simple shapes. We are such blind people that being the toy of marketing seems to be normality.


Cohen, H. (2011). 72 Marketing Definitions – Heidi Cohen. [online] Heidi Cohen. Available at: [Accessed 1 Dec. 2014].

Fondazione Internazionale Menarini, (2013). Dopo 325 anni il padre dell’Impressionismo ripropone in chiave contemporanea la Venere d’Urbino e stavolta le toglie la maschera, il risultato è uno scandalo. Tiziano e Manet un confronto al femminile, pp.1,2.

Mediatech, (2011). Pubblicità/ Irina Shayk con i boxer da uomo fa discutere. Di’ la tua. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Dec. 2014].

The dieline, (2014). Student Spotlight: Cornish College of the Arts, Condom Packaging Project. [online] The Dieline. Available at: [Accessed 4 Jan. 2015].