In our diversified, bustling modern world it’s impossible to avoid the influence of advertising. From an early age we all surrounded by different signs and we recognize logos to their respective brands. Signs are everywhere and semiotics is around us. We live in the world of signs, we live in Semiosphere.
Given the fact that we’re surrounded by them every day, brand marks form a concrete part of our visual representative memory. And while they may seem like eternal parts of the cultural landscape, they actually evolve and live their lives alongside with us.
One of the most fascinating brands that captures our attention and that is used by a substantial amount people nowadays is Braun is a German consumer products company. Braun’s products include the following categories:
Shaving and grooming (electric shaving, hair trimming, beard trimming), Oral care (now under the Oral-B brand), Beauty care (hair care and epilation).
In the 1920’s Max Braun started as a small engineering shop and by the 1960’s had become an internationally renowned brand for small electrical appliances – a development driven by technical innovation, long-lasting quality and outstanding design. Today, nearly 90 years after its inception, Braun is part of P&G, the largest consumer goods products company in the world.
The sign theory or Semiotics of a mathematician, philosopher, and scientist Charles Peirce is an intricate account of representation, reference and meaning.
Peirce treated sign theory as central to his work on logic and the process of scientific discovery. Its importance in Peirce’s philosophy, then, cannot be overestimated. Peirce claims that signs consist of three inter-related parts: a sign or representamen, an object, and an interpretant (Mollerup, 1997, p.78).
Braun logo is a representamen, object is products manufacturer. The interpretent depends not only on the representamen but also on the context of the made products. For instance letter ‘A’ in Braun logo can conjure up images of the front panel of the first radios that Braun company was producing since 1930’s.
Letter ‘U’ as well as ‘N’ which in this case is a reversed ‘U’ on the other hand, resemble the razors or trimmers.
The starting point for the new design concept was a positive assessment of the potential shopper: intelligent and open-minded, someone who appreciated unobtrusive products which left him or her ample freedom for personal fulfilment. From the mid-1950s, the Braun brand was closely linked with the concept of German modern industrial design and its combination of functionality and technology.
Wolfgang Schmittel joined the Braun design department as a freelancer in August of 1952. Upon his arrival, he revised the Braun logo and also gave it a reduced, constructively comprehensible form (Singer, 2010).
Given the current global prestige and strong image of the Braun products a protruding letter ‘A’ in the logo represents a driving force, ambitions a top notch quality that surpasses the others. Parallel vertical strokes of letters A, U, N(reversed U) trigger a concept of the straight and easy way or method of using these electric devices.
It’s quite interesting to see how different interpretations grow in the minds of the potential users and may be perceived as multilayered complex interpretant. Since the advent of the first products manufactured by BRAUN we can witness the resemblance of these products in letters that live their own lives.
Claridge, I (2010) Braun logo dissected. Available at: http://www.iainclaridge.co.uk/blog/1473 (Accessed 29 February 2016).
Lanks, B. (2012) The Histories Of 11 Super Famous Logos, From Apple To Levi’s. Available at: http://www.fastcodesign.com/1670886/the-histories-of-11-super-famous-logos-from-apple-to-levis/5 (Accessed 1 March 2016)
Mollerup, P. (1997) Marks of Excellence: the history and taxonomy of trademarks. London: Phaidon, pp.67-93.
Noe, R. (2013) A History of Braun Design, Part 1: Electric Shavers. Available at: http://www.core77.com/posts/24437/A-History-of-Braun-Design-Part-1-Electric-Shavers (Accessed 29 February 2016)
Singer, J. (2010) Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams. Available at: http://www.sightunseen.com/2010/02/less-and-more-the-design-ethos-of-dieter-rams/ (Accessed 29 February 2016)