What is in a Tag: Label Your Brand

I spend a lot of my time thinking about labels.  From a social context Labeling something or someone can often imply a negative.  Oh he was labelled a racist, or she was labelled a ....well...you get the point.   From a Marxist theoretical standpoint applying the label can imply "dissempowerment".  By naming the thing, you take away its power, flux and change.  The thing becomes fixed ideologically both in place and time.  A side effect of this phenomenon is often the renaming and re-contextualizing of words when new power structures form.  After the revolution dictators rename cities, rewrite laws, and new terms emerge to name a societies members  like "comrade" or "citizen"

Revolutions lead to whole new ways of naming, and inventions of new systems of time and space.  The "Julian" calender, or "year zero" in the Pol Pot Regime.   I guess the point I am making is that labelling and branding are pretty powerful moments.  They add a value to something otherwise taken more simply.  They fix a meaning to those boots and that jacket.  They create a meta meaning on top of the thing that both fixes it and either can hinder its existence or add value to it.  I spend this time sweating and hemming and hawing  over my Himel Brothers Leather Jackets labels hoping to get the design just right for this very reason.  I want my brand
to reflect my insane obssession with quality and tradition while at the same time not looking old, repetative, copied, cheap tired or fake.  I collect and analyze thousands of images of great brands, some recognizable and some not, in order to embed in my deep subconcious brain the "language" of good brands and great labels.  I ask myself what their value propositions are, and how they are reflected in the design and naming of the brand because I want to capture the "esscence" of my own brand and never miss the message.  That is the beauty of great designs and gorgeous labels!


  1. We did an excercise at Levis one day in marketing. We took a plain pair of jeans which we had made up devoid of branding, similar to something you might pay $30 for and then added the levis leather patch, the arcurate and the red tab. The message wasn't lost on the team, you can turn nothing into something with the right branding.
    Nice article David, it certainly makes sense, keep up the good work.


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