Brand as Context in Interaction Design

I’m sure I was swearing allegiance to one brand over another as soon as I began to develop the capacity for critical thought. Reebok vs. Nike, Coke vs. Pepsi, SEGA vs. Nintendo, Apple vs. Microsoft—these warring companies were more than just brands to me, they were almost systems of belief. As such, they forced a decision about whether or not I identified with them. Now, as an interaction designer, I have come to view the sentiments built up around brands as a necessary context for the design of meaningful products and services.

Because people assign meaning to brands, brands stand for something; they have both value and a set of values. This meaning we endow brands with makes reactions to their behavior something of a personal matter. Consider how you feel as you read these words: Fox News, Oxfam, Facebook, Halliburton, BP, Goldman Sachs, Nike.

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