Contemporary Visual Identities: Mutant Brands

Contemporary Visual Identities: Mutant Brands

Elizete de Azevedo Kreutz (Universidade Univates, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3628-5.ch009
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Visual identity is the result of a strategic decision that represents the ideology of an organization, through a set of ways of being and doing that represent a group of individuals in a differentiated way in comparison to other organizations. Seen as a process of representation, it is linked to the socio-historical context and follows the evolution of communication. Based on Thompson's Deep Hermeneutic and the Semantic Basin of Durand, this study presents the evolution of visual identity and the concept of Mutant Visual Identity, both Programmed as well as Poetic. It also presents the Mutant Brand as a contemporary communicational practice that is made up of an aura that must be felt, shared, make sense. It is the emotional nature of the brand.
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At the beginning of the 21st Century, more precisely in the year 2000, the studies of corporate visual identity (CVI) and the observations of the contemporary practices came into conflict. When reviewing the bibliography about the topic, selecting the main authors of the time, it was observed that the authors claimed that a CVI should be unique, always the same, follow a pattern, so that it could be fixed in the mind of the public, otherwise they would not be able to identify the brand, product, service and/or the company. However, when observing some brands active in society as MTV, Rip Curl, Mormaii or Vivo, what was seen was exactly the opposite. Thus, the next step would be interviewing professionals, researchers and authors who are active in the area to work out a communicational practice of each brand that indicated a less rigid tendency in the graphical representation of a brand.

At that time, it was common for discussions to happen between designers who had diverging ideas regarding the topic. It was the clash of generations, of technologies, from different worlds and different capacities to perceive them. The first stages of the Semantic Basin arose, the conflict generated by the flow of a new cultural manifestation, innovative. The steps of this potamological metaphor, created by Durand (1998), allows the understanding of the complex system of the imagination connected to society, as will be presented below.

The world changed, but mutation, as a word or action, was still a taboo, an aberration. From circuses to cinemas, the gaze of those curious has always been a mixture of admiration and rejection. An example of this is the movie X-Men, in which humans and mutants were considered a threat to society and needed to be indoctrinated for inter-racial harmony.

In general, anything that flees the pattern is not well accepted. The reaction of professionals in relation to non-traditional Corporate Visual Identities was no different. For these reasons and also in honor of the Brazilian Band of Psychedelic Rock, the decade of 1960, called “The Mutants” (which also provoked the society of the time with its irreverence, experimentalism, hybridity), that this visual identity contemporary manifestation was called “Mutant Corporate Visual Identity” and, later, “Mutant Brands”, as it goes beyond the graphic representation of the brand, it embraces its behavior in society.

In this study, the goal is to introduce the concepts of Mutant Visual Identity, Programed and Poetic (Kreutz, 2001 and 2005), as well as examples of them, their categories and characteristics. The methodology was qualitative exploratory (Bauer et al, 2002), anchored in Thompson’s Deep Hermeneutic (1995), and the methodological tools were bibliographical research (Stumpft, 2006), internet (Yamaoka, 2006), case studies (Duarte, 2006) and semiotic analysis (Penn, 2002).

To understand the evolutionary process of Mutant Brands, a brief incursion by notions and contexts of brand and by the Semantic Basin of Durand (1998) will be done, seeking the (in)accuracurte production of meaning in the constitution of visual identity, which depends on the imaginary, the identity and image, reaching the construction strategy of the Mutant Visual Identity. By doing this incursion, it is noted that the context transforms the rigid representations in fluidal, Mutants Programed and Poetics, whose cases addressed seek to elucidate the theme.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Poetic Mutant Visual Identity: Is one whose variations occur spontaneously, without predetermined rules, obeying only the creative intent of the designer, but generating a communion with the spectator that interacts to interpret it. And, on some occasions, the public act on the brand, creating its own version of VI.

Semantic Basin: Created by Durand (1998) , it is a potamological metaphor that allows the integration of scientific evolutions and, also, a more detailed analysis about an era or imaginary (its style, myths, conductors, pictorial motifs, literary themes, among others).

Fuzzy Logic: Is the logic of live, illogical; partial truth; is a form of many-valued logic in which the truth values of variables may be any real number between 0 and 1 both inclusive.

Programmed Mutant Visual Identity: Is one visual identity whose certain variations/mutations occur for a time that is also determined.

Multimodal Discourse of Brand: All social acts of the brand (IV, trade dress, advertisements, websites, products, services, interaction, among others).

Mutant Brands: Can be defined as one that is characterized by being open, innovative, artistic, indeterminate, subjective, a game of eclecticism. It is the emotional nature of the brand, because it is beyond its function, which is the identification.

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