In conjunction with the impressive Tokyo Type Directors exhibition opening last night at UTS gallery, John Warwicker who had curated the selection, shared some of his/Tomato’s work. It as intriguing to learn that some of their trademark light-reflection designs are made 100% in camera with the simplest devices (“Look Ma, no Flame or Maya anywhere!”).
During John’s show and tell, it also became apparent that hiring Tomato for a branding exercise is equal to branding your own company’s with their (Tomato’s) brand. Their cult status allows them to not compromise on approach or output. I imagine a marketing/brand person is either so independent in their choice of “agency” (I know they are not an agency in the conventional sense) or he/she justifies the end result by saying “I don’t know what your problem is, it’s a Tomato!”.
I love that picture they have of John. He looks suitably gnarly and Australian even though he’s English.
Tomato have always been about process and conversation. All those things which are now so trendy in the Web 2.0 world of course. There had always been a playfulness to their creation of work too – experimenting with whatever is to hand be it a Flame suite or a laser pen and a mirror. It goes to show the power of an idea and simplicity too and how irrelevant technology in many ways.
But it also shows what can be achieved if marketing/brand managers let good designers and creatives do their job and stay out of the way. There’s not many that are courageous enough to do that. Yet you don’t tell your dentist how to pull your tooth, you just say where it hurts.
I like that dentist analogy. Well, who wouldn’t like to be in their place, having the respect and trust of so many people to let them find their solutions. It might take knocking back a few of the wrong jobs for all the right reasons to achieve that position.
On the topic of branding and market placement for companies, I guess it is obvious that Tomato’s work is distinguishing itself from the masses out there (whether this is because of their cult status as an agency or not). -This must be one of the major priorities in a brief form any marketing/brand person; but whether art or design is really ‘successful’ or not is usually decided by the pages of history and not necessarily by the contemporary expert popular opinion.
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