Philippine News

Born Identity: Dan Matutina talks about branding

by Carmela Lapena

MANILA — Illustrator and designer Dan Matutina began the afternoon session at the adobo Design Series with his presentation “Born Identity: Designing for New (& Newish) Brands.”

Matutina started with the basics, differentiating a brand (the perceived corporate image) from brand identity (the visual aspects that form part of the overall brand). From there, he gave practical tips on creating a logo, which is often the first thing companies think of when it comes to branding.


“It’s quite irresponsible to ask a designer to create an ‘iconic’ logo,” Matutina said, noting that a logo becomes iconic over time. On the other hand, he said designers are always up for the challenge to create something memorable.

Showing a variety of logo types, Matutina stressed that designers have a choice when it comes to trends. “It’s important to look at them and decide if you want to follow or create your own,” said Matutina, who co-founded Plus63 Design Co.

He shared a number of case studies, such as Back Alley Barbershop, Your Local, and Japan Foundation’s disaster education program MOVE Philippines. The designs were unique according to the brand identity: customized materials for Back Alley Barbershop, including a business card that had people coming to the store; quirky details for Your Local; and cartoon characters for MOVE.

“It’s important to have fun, but it also has to be effective. As designers, we should always know how to listen,” Matutina advised.

He also shared his experience with a rebranding project for Harrison Communications. “Eventually they didn’t use it. Not every project is successful in the way that you want it to be,” he shared.

Next, he shared a case study on extending a brand, in which their company worked on a redesign of the Google Reseller Program. He also talked about airbnb’s logo redesign, as an example of a company that stood its ground for a logo they believe represents them. “If a lot of people don’t like the logo but your client liked it, they will defend the work,” he said.

Matutina concluded his talk with a quote from Michael Eisner: “A brand is a living entity – and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures.”

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