Contribute an Essay for Our Discipline Now 2022, UDA Annual 2021

Choi, A. Y. (2022). “Our Path Together as Designers for the Next Generations.” 2021 UDA Annual, Dec 2021, 44-47.

2020 UDA Annual

This essay takes a chapter from my recent book about Brand Design, Culture Code Brand Design Methodology, the third chapter, The Role of Culture Codes in the Principle and Derivative Functions of Brand Design. Brand Design has been defined in the twenty-first century as a method of branding that aims at developing and maintaining the recognition and image of the brand. When there wasn’t any methodology or studies about brand design, I introduced the brand design curriculum at Hanyang University in 2003. Brand Design is a common discipline worldwide, but it has been commonly understood as logo and application design, which is insanely wrong. With my 30 years of experience practicing and teaching Brand Design, I want to share a part of my methodology. If you want to know more, please contact me freely. We can have a chat over a cup of coffee. 


Translation of Chapter 3, Culture Code Brand Design Methodology by Albert Young Choi published by Book Lab, Seoul, Korea, 2018

Most consumers buy the brand’s symbolism rather than its usefulness. Brands familiar to consumers communicate the brand’s culture code in a symbolic form as a cultural meaning. However, the brand design of a brand familiar to consumers conveys usefulness and symbolism as a communication tool that delivers the brand’s culture code. Therefore, a brand should develop the brand design of a familiar brand so that designs can store the brand in memory in the minds of consumers, and continuous management is required. The brand design of a brand that has been continuously managed allows consumers to automatically remember and feel the brand’s culture code by looking at the brand’s visual culture code. On the other hand, the brand design of a brand that has been temporarily managed is challenging in building the culture and visual culture codes of that brand that consumers perceive. To develop and make such a memorable and moving brand, brand experts constantly create a Culture Code and Visual Culture Code system that symbolizes the brand based on consumers’ cultural values.

Nike, a global brand of sports sneakers, was founded in Oregon, the USA, on January 25, 1967, and has successfully developed numerous sub-brands under the Nike brand name. Consumers are reminiscent of Nike’s tagline “Just Do It” and the logo of the Swoosh movement. Nike, the goddess of victory in Greek mythology, is the sneakers of success. Nike’s store name is Nike Town. Nike sponsors numerous highly recognized athletes and teams. Nike created Nike’s General Culture Code and General Visual Culture Code through continuous management, product, and marketing innovation, establishing an Active Culture Code. Nike brand associations include logos, Just Do It, sneakers, sports, Michael Jordan, air, basketball, running, speed, fast, golf, cool, youthful, innovative, excellent athlete, American, championship, tennis, child labor, etc. The brand association elements that function as an identity in the Nike brand’s culture code as an Active Culture Code are the logo, Just Do It, championship, America, excellent athletes, innovation, youth, and sneakers. Of course, Nike’s most crucial culture code is the logo and brand tagline, Just Do It. The other brand association element is the General Culture Code. Nike’s General Culture Code is a culture code that can change at any time. Therefore, Nike should continuously manage General Culture Codes based on the Active Culture Codes, research social trends, construct Suggested Culture Codes, and build a new General Culture Code by fusion with two or more General Culture Codes. Through this continuous and demanding process, brands can live long. 

Culture codes can be analyzed by dividing them into ‘Principal Functions of Brand Design’ (PF) and ‘Derivative Functions of Brand Design’ (DF), which are the essential functions of brand design. The ‘Principal Function’ of the brand design communicate the general perception of consumers, such as the source, type, quality, price, usefulness, brand association, demographic information, trend, lifestyle, and personality of the brand. The ‘Derivative Function’ is a function that strengthens brand differentiation, symbolism, loyalty, awareness, and image. In addition, in the three-stage cultural strategy of the Culture Code Brand Design methodology, the Principal and Derivative functions of the brand design must be distinguished by connecting them with the culture code.

The fundamental relationship between brand design’s Principal Function (PF) and Derivative Function (DF) is as follows.

■ PF> DF, the Principal Function-centered brand design conveys the characteristics of brand classification and brand association elements commonly recognized by consumers so that brand information can be easily identified and trusted. However, developing a differentiated and unique brand touchpoint design is challenging because it conveys the General Visual Culture Code. Therefore, a designer can study a unique and differentiated Principal Function-oriented brand design through the consumer’s brand association factor and the cognitive scale of the brand classification characteristics.

■ PF <DF, brand design centered on Derivative Functions enables differentiated and unique brand touchpoints that enhance brand differentiation, symbolism, loyalty, awareness, and image. Studying brand design centered on derivative functions that can communicate through consumers’ brand association factors and the perception scale of brand classification characteristics is possible.  

■ PF ≠ DF, there cannot be a brand design centering on the fundamental and derivative functions at the same level. If such a brand design exists, it is a brand design that cannot persuade consumers.

Together in Sport

The world attempts to reunite and celebrate.

Reflecting upon Design Manifestos
Three individual’s thoughts on the impact of design manifestos within education and our profession

Our Path Together as The Role of Culture Codes in the Principal and Derivative Functions of Brand Design for the Next Generations
Design can store a brand in the minds and memories of consumers.

Design is not just how we create visuals, objects, or concepts; it is also closely related to society, culture, and people. We experience the power of design every day: design influences us by sending appropriate messages. Thus, design must incorporate marketing, psychology, anthropology, sociology, semiotics, and other disciplines in developing compelling messages.

A new generation of design educators and practitioners investigate a new design position in a new direction. Hence, UDA’s activities, such as ‘about our discipline now,’ share valuable thoughts with colleagues worldwide.

Visit the website: About Our Discipline Now 2021