A mag in five pix: BranD #44

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This bi-monthly magazine from Hong Kong takes a creative look at branding design – and gets inventive with the themes it looks at. This time round it’s making a splash by theming itself ‘Lost Cat & Dog’. The ‘Lost’ part of the title calls back to lost pet posters, and though most of the magazine is upbeat, it does a good job of immediately relating to our close connection to humankind’s most common four-legged companions.

We take a look at five ways the magazine is celebrating creative branding with this playful theme.

1 PACKAGING   BranD often comes in a plastic wrapping (the specific formats vary), to contain additional elements such as stickers. The theme of this issue is printed on the bag, rather than the cover, and it holds three cardboard cut-out images of of cats (and a lemon!) by Kei Mogari that are a balancing act to the very prominent dog paintings on the two cover options. Once you’ve removed the magazine to read it, the drawings and bag are an excellent image in themselves.

2 INTERNATIONAL   The editorial focuses on the different ways that dogs and cats are treated in different countries and makes a point of the ones where they are celebrated and loved, especially the UK, Japan, and France. Heart-warming design and illustration stories abound – from Japanese picture book ‘The Lonesome Puppy’ by Yoshitomo Nara (above) to an exhibition based around what to do with pets during a natural disaster, in Tokyo, to a cat-based card game from Switzerland.

3 BRANDING   The magazine wouldn’t be called ‘BranD’ without a strong focus on branding. This issue hosts an overwhelming range of ways that people have taken inspiration from cats and dogs in their branding – from the obvious choice of Battersea Dog & Cat home’s recent rebranding by Pentagram (above), or a coffee shop in downtown Houston that rebranded itself around the owner’s dog to set themselves apart from coffee rivals.

4 ILLUSTRATION   The third section in the magazine (after one based on dogs, and one based on cats), is ‘Shall we talk?’, which focuses on creative illustration that might not be related to ‘branding’ at all. These illustrations featuring both species may have been featured in books, magazines or exhibitions – I particularly liked the tattooing cats in Kazuaki Horitomo Kitamura’s ‘Monmon Cats’ (above), and ‘Cat Lemon’ in which the illustrator Kei Mogari imagined cats seeing lemons for the first time. It’s delightfully naïve and a perfect concept to make a picture book with, and works really well as cut-outs.

5 INSERT   Nestled in the illustration section is a smaller booklet featuring images from the solo exhibition ‘Dog dog dog dog’ by Ando Tomo. His characterful paintings of dogs are featured on both front cover variations, but the use of a booklet insert affords more chances to enjoy the paintings as a mini-exhibition (above). You can really get into the paint texture and expressions, but the character of the long pink tongues unifying all the paintings is bound to melt even the hardest heart.

It’s great to see a magazine that could very easily be very industry-focused play around with ideas and embrace a more abstract concept that’s relatable even to those readers who might not otherwise follow branding design news.

brandmagazine.com.hk

Editor-in-chief & design director: Nicole Lo
Designers: Ruosong Liao, Amy Lee


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