Following a full schedule of design-related events in Beijing and Shanghai, a day’s flight took us from the Chinese mainland (via Hong Kong) to Taiwan for presentations by Icograda board members in the well attended ‘Branding and Innovalue’ Seminar in Taipei. This was followed by a two-day
Icograda Regional Meeting (with 40 participants from 18 countries) at the spacious facilities of the China External Trade Development Council. In addition, Icograda board members toured schools, attended the opening of the ‘Discover Taiwan’ poster exhibition and spent time socialising with our warm-hearted hosts and colleagues. It was a treat to also participate in a special Friends of Icograda dinner.
In my talk entitled Branding—More is Less I chose to present a somewhat more cautious counterpoint to the pro-globalization and pro-branding stance of the seminar, in part as a response to the imposition of Western brands that I had just observed in China—it seems to me that the wholesale adoption of things Western, often in inappropriate contexts and without discernment for potentially negative social and cultural implications, is not healthy. (I was gratified by the response of numerous individuals who approached me later to thank me for “questioning the status quo” of brand-proliferation, for linking values to actions, and for framing my argument in a way that respected the “target audience” as well as the author/sender.