Andpeople Is Not About Us

2018 August 7th

For as long as I can remember, the world has been obsessed with looks.

People, brands, products - all have been judged, defined and categorised, predominantly on what they looked like.

Contrary to wise, old advice - for most people - the cover has been the book.

But this cultural obsession with appearances has been about more than aesthetics. It’s also been the foundation of how we’ve defined and understood identity as a global culture.

Actors were leading or character-types, branding was everything and packaging moved products, regardless of what was inside.

"Today identity is most critically defined and judged by what someone or something stands for. What they stand against. And why they stand at all. "

But over the last couple of years we've seen a shift as the world has started to look deeper. Influenced by the increasing ubiquity of information and the urge for transparency that comes with it, people have started wanting more. Questioning more.

No longer prepared to accept things at face value, people are increasingly finding meaning in the questions and answers in what lies beneath.

This evolution is inspiring people everywhere to turn from material to meaning and in the process, its rewriting how we define and relate to identity.
Today identity is most critically defined and judged by what someone or something stands for. What they stand against. And why they stand at all.

This change is fundamentally reshaping how we engage with the world around us and it’s a change that is rapidly sweeping popular culture.

"At the coalface of this transition, are the Youth."

Today, its actors like Lena Waithe, that have us reaching for the remote and punching movie tickets. Its brands like Patagonia, with a purpose beyond the bottom line, that have people voting with their wallets. And it’s the ingredients on the side of the box, that have would-be shoppers most immediate attention.

At the coalface of this transition, are the Youth.

Natives to a post-consumerist world in which information is their birthright, they know that identity is about more than first impressions. They know that identity is best reflected in action. Most importantly, they demonstrate this awareness in how they represent themselves. It’s because of their belief that we’re so acutely aware of this change in the world. It’s in our faces every day.

"Our logo did not define us."

Which recently led Andpeople to a simple realisation.

Our logo did not define us. More than that, a logo could not truly define anything. As an industry, we’ve just pretended that they do and up until now that’s been good enough.

But in the face of this shift from material to meaning, we’ve been inspired to ask, how could our logo better represent what we stood for? And how could we rewrite the role of our identity to serve a purpose better suited to today?

To create something new however, we had to first reset our understanding of the role brand identities have played up until now.

Brand identities were first popularized around the industrial revolution. The purpose was single-minded: differentiate similar products on the shelf from one and other. As a result, brand identities were designed to be simple, memorable and work across any format. These requirements secured in place a set of fundamentals that have guided the majority of brand identities created ever since; and continue to be the guiding principles today. Despite the fact that a lot of businesses or brands, no longer have the same needs.

As a creative agency, we are one such business. We don't get picked off the shelf in the way a can of soup does, and for the most part, our identity lives in a digital space. For us, like many others, the old rules no longer apply.

What doesn't change however is the purpose. The need to differentiate ourselves from others around us. A challenge in a largely homogenous industry such as ours. And one to date we’ve struggled with. The problem, we’ve found, is how do you do truly differentiate yourself when you’re all designing from the same old map?

For us, the answer lies in the understanding that identity is now primarily about what you stand for.

"It’s a mindset that reminds us that Andpeople is not about us."

6 years ago, Andpeople was created to build brands by celebrating the space we all believed in.

Youth Culture.

It’s the same reason we’re still in business today. It’s what makes Andpeople, Andpeople.

This truth has inspired our new identity.

And if you look closely, you’ll see that this is more than a superficial update in how we brand ourselves.

It’s a mindset that reminds us that Andpeople is not about us. A reminder of why we do what we do. A mindset that we are best represented by the Youth - the people and culture we help brands connect with. A mindset that we will demonstrate in everything we do, from how we use our social channels, to the culture that is unique to our business.

It’s also a media space to celebrate the world around us. To promote the creators and cultures we collaborate with, feature the work we do, tell stories about the brands and people we are excited about, support the causes we believe in.

A media space that will update and change, just like youth culture, everyday. A media space that will ultimately show exactly what we stand for.

Because without that, we’re just a well-set typeface. And today, the world expects more than that.

Written by
Michael Leslie