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December 2017

Designing with provenance

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Think of a car brand - Ferrari, Mini, BMW, Cadillac, Volvo.  Our first association with these brands is cars (obviously!).  Then we think of the types of cars these brands make and we also think of their nationality: Italian, British, German, American, Swedish respectively.  The provenance of car brands is, with some exceptions, one of the first associations people make — even those who know little about cars (actually, disproportionately so for people who know little about cars, but that’s another story…).  And the primary association of national identity then brings with it a whole realm of secondary associations to the car brand which mostly add significant value to the brand, particularly for customers in export markets. So for Ferrari we think of Italy and then we think of various Italian associations such as being emotional and expressive, and being focused on the artisan side of design — and these secondary associations then connect back to Ferrari, further enriching the brand.  With Bentley people think of various British associations such as the heritage that sits within ‘Rule, Britannia’ and monarchy, or being hand-made with fine natural materials — and these secondary associations then connect back to Bentley, further enriching the brand. 


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