Big brother, Identical twin
What is the value of family over identity? That is what came to mind when I saw the new member of the i-family pop it’s head out to the media world a few weeks ago. Another way of saying this is how much does the iPad actually have to look like a scaled up iPhone or close relative of the MacBook? So long as the values of the brand are communicated and the design is suitable for the target audience, the iPad could surely look like a distant cousin rather than identical, if overgrown, twin.
While not intending to invite the wrath of the Apple faithful, I did think it was interesting how tight Apple keeps their 3D brand language across their media products (and only slightly looser across all their products together) Many other brands out there have less or almost no continuity across their products, an example being the connection between the 3D language of Nokia‘s 6710, 5330 or N95. The curious thing though is that Nokia and Apple both vie for a similar consumer electronics space, yet both have very different 3D language strategies.
So does family matter? Or is identity enough?
You can argue that all Nokia’s phones still communicate a very loose version of their core values to do with engagement, innovation and ‘very human’ even though their product designs are highly differentiated. They still do quite well in the mobile phone market, so would they gain anything by having a much closer relationship between their products? Also would Apple gain a lot by making the iPad a bit more emotionally expressive given it’s likely high consumer focus?
This is a complex area involving many other factors like brand loyalty, ‘coolness factor’, interface design, brandworld coherence, peer pressure and social status, but ultimately it may simply be down to the fact that Nokia’s consumers are maybe happy for Nokia to ‘follow’ their lifestyle; for Nokia’s products to reflect their place in life with different colours, layout and look/feel etc, while the Apple faithful are happy for the iProducts to ‘lead’ and look like twins if they want, and so long as they don’t do another Newton, the ‘Applearti’ will be happy to keep on supporting the bitten fruit brand!
In: Digital, Structural design · Tags: Apple, Brand language, Mobile