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Recently launched by BIS Publishers and designed by Hendrik-Jan Grievink, the Brand Memory Game tests our knowledge of visual branding while questioning how we have come to accept commercial branding as part of our daily lives.

By Cassandra Pizzey / 01-12-2011

A Red Star. On a Green Bottle. FAT TYPE SANDWICHED or The Colonel Smiles Back, are just a few examples of Hendrik-Jan Grievink's designs for BIS Publishers latest product: the Brand Memory Game. In it we discover the relationship between words and images, yet also test our knowledge of commercial branding.

"Brand Memory is about consuming images, something only humans are capable of," says Grievink. "It's a visual exercise in recognizing brands and confronts the player with the amount of commercial icons he knows without even noticing."

During his course at the Sandberg Institute, the designer gave his first talk on the subject, reading aloud descriptions of iconic brands as they were projected on a large screen as a kind of neo-dada visual poem. "This one-off performance turned out to be a big hit which I kept as part of my presentations. Each time it evolves and changes a little."

Why did Grievink choose brands in the first place?

"Recognizability is one of the most successful products of our time and marketing strategies determine 99% of all design. I have always been fascinated by the enormous power that lies within commercial images. They haven't only dominated the public spaces, but are also stuck in our head. Whether we like it or not, most children recognize more brands and logos than types of birds or trees."

And what about the design. Why the text instead of the logos?

"The game is in fact about the relationship between words and images. I'm interested in the image of a word and like to 'imitate' ultra-commercial typography through craft. It were the ancient Greeks who first used the concept 'logo' relating to 'word' but also to 'reasoning' and 'oration' in philisophy. The logos which we see on a daily basis are a convergence of word and image yet contain their own entire rhetoric based on seduction."

Is the Brand Memory game really just a game then, or does it serve an educational purpose?

"The game is aimed at marketing gurus, lovers of typography and anti-globalists alike. It's not meant as a statement for or against capitalism, although some might like to see it that way. I would like people to observe in a different way: this is the world we created, this is our Next Nature."

How did the game itself come about?

"After my presentations people often asked me if there was a website about the concept, which there wasn't. So I decided to translate the concept into a memory game.” The format fits the subject perfectly: it's not so much about the cards in the box, but more about the images in your head."

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