Analysis of xkcd: Brand Identity

Legally-mandated information would be printed on the back or discreetly along the bottom. In small letter under the nutrition information it would say, 'Like our products? Visit our website!' There would be no URL.

XKCD, the semi-famous web comic creator, uploaded a digital media relevant comic a week or two ago. He sells his comic as “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.” If you like any of those things you should go check him out.

He has a very clear message here. We have become so desensitized to the marketing and flashy colors of products that something plain and “unoriginal” will draw our eyes first. When looking at the comic, you notice the black text on white package first, right? That’s because it’s out of place. XKCD is drawing attention to the fact that boring things can be more interesting than flashy things.

He also mentions building his brand identity in the caption. I don’t think that anyone could honestly say that they would confuse the white packages with any of the others. His boring is unique.

This can be applied to any number of digital media projects: websites, photos, videos, audio, etc. Sometimes we have to limit ourselves and take away from what we’re doing to make an effect. Because sometimes, as his image title (the words that pop up when you hover over an image if you use Firefox or Opera) suggests some aspects of digital media aren’t needed. A product does not need a website. If you like barbecue sauce, do you ever find yourself wanting to check it out online? Of course not. You might like it on Facebook once, but you’ll forget all about it. It’s not that the websites and Facebook pages are bad, but they aren’t really needed – just like flashy colors aren’t always needed.


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