I took a course my senior year in college titled ‘Making Meaning and The Design of Everyday Objects’. A typical session consisted of about 20 students of various majors working through the form and functionality of objects.
The first thing we would do is arrange our desks in a circle and place an object in the center. For 90 minutes we would work through a process that required us to remove all previous perception in order to observe it from an objective point of view — relying on form to explain function. By recognizing the affordances as a whole and as individual parts, the object began communicating — and quite often the intended function wasn’t the only message it was communicating.
What would happen If we placed your brand in the center of the circle?
What are your affordances? You, your co-workers, the product, the service, mission-vision-values, visual identity, etc. (No, your brand is not just your logo)
What do these affordances communicate effectively?
What do they communicate intentionally? Unintentionally?
Do certain affordances distract rather than support the function?
By the time our 90 minutes were up, we had suggested a dozen possible uses for the object other than its intended function. Sure, spending ninety minutes with a neti pot can be tedious – but I’ll never look at one without seeing its potential. Your brand may not be as limited as you think. It might take some additional time recognizing your brand’s affordances to discover its full potential.