Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Ethical Brand Research

thtc.co.uk -

Currently ranked the UK’s most ethical menswear brand, THTC is an ethically-driven clothing label. We produce eco-friendly and politically conscious street wear, made from hemp, carbon-neutral organic cotton, and recycled salvage plastic fibres.

Planted by the Lawson brothers back in 1999, watered with urban music, fed with love of life and street culture, THTC has grown into an influential global street-wear brand, and an online community hub, capitalising on the mood of a disenchanted youth.

THTC has been the vanguard of a crusade to bring hemp into the realm of credible, urban street-wear. We also produce private-label runs for businesses and events, produce and distribute several clothing ranges of t-shirts, hoodies, shopping bags and sweaters, all of which are certified by The Fair Wear Foundation.

We are also proud of an illustrious history of upcycling, turning past ranges into original new styles, and collaborating with companies such as Good One and My Only One.

We’ve won a number of awards, accolades and accreditations over the years. Learn more.

Why Hemp?
Although much of the current range of our clothing is made from organic cotton or salvages recycled fabrics (rPET and other industrial cutoffs), we originally founded THTC to promote and sell industrial hemp products – it’s in our name, ya know! But why go to all the trouble of using a material that the British Government (and others) has marginalised, and sought to keep tightly regulated?

Hemp Facts

  • Hemp is the most diverse and environmentally sound crop that can be grown, with thousands of uses
  • Henry Ford built one of his first cars from hemp plastic, and Rudolph Diesel built an engine to run on hemp fuel
  • Hemp can be grown in practically any climate, and needs no pesticides to be grown
  • Hemp can be grown with 10% the water of conventional cotton
  • All products that are derived from timber or petroleum can be sustainably derived from hemp, including plastic
  • Until its prohibition hemp was the world’s most traded commodity
  • Growing hemp for fuel absorbs Carbon Dioxide and helps combat climate change.
  • Burning hemp for fuel produces very little Carbon Dioxide and practically no Sulphur, unlike petroleum
  • Growing hemp would allow nations worldwide to grow clean fuel, renewable medicines, paper, food and plastics
  • Jesus was said to use cannabis oil to anoint and heal the crippled, and original copies of the Bible were printed on hemp paper
  • Hemp can produce 10 times more methanol than corn.
  • Trees cut down to make paper take 50 to 500 years to grow, while hemp can be cultivated in as little as 100 days and can yield 4 times more paper over a 20 year period.

Over the past 15 years, we have worked with some very talented designs, including Mau Mau, Herse, Fybe One, Devolution Designs, Carrie Reichardt, Gibla74, Seleka, Sam Coxen, Low Class, Oberon, Owen Tozer, Reeps One, Simon J, I Am Fingerfood, and Philip Ryder – to name but a few!

Our designs are influenced by global issues, activism, hemp, music and environmentalism. The only real design brief that we stick to is not to preach from up high – we use humor and satire to start conversations, and inspire debate around the things we feel are very important – climate change, sustainability, fair working wages, social mobility and equity of wealth.

Benji Lowclass describes his art as “…work that represents the underdogs, a different way of thinking, and the mindset that life isn’t about being successful but being happy”. His eclectic style of illustrations and prints draw from his skate and graffiti background, perfect for THTC.


Friday, 14 November 2014

CoP Tutorial No. 2



How is Branding used to Mould Public Opinions of American Hip Hop Artists?

Today, we mostly take a product’s functional characteristics for granted and while brands are mostly about image, it is no longer just their own image – it is also our image. – Wally Olins pg 14

Branding these days is largely about involvement and association. The outward and visible demonstration of private and personal affiliation… Diesel, Adidas and W hotels is one lifestyle, Hermes, Ralph Lauren and the Ritz is another. You can mix ‘n’ match to customise, enhance and underline your own particular self-perception. – Wally Olins pg 14

…It has spread into education, sport, fashion, travel, theatre, art, theatre, literature, the region, the nation and virtually anywhere else you can think of… compete in the emotional territory of people’s hearts and minds with commercial brands for the money in consumers’ pockets. – Wally Olins pg 15

…People all over the world, from virtually every country in every continent, drape themselves from head to foot in clothing bearing the names and symbols of fizzy drinks, running shoes, cell phones, universities, football teams, skis, construction equipment, or anything else with which they feel an affiliation. – Wally Olins pg 15

Many great brands are like amoebae or plasticine. They can be shaped, twisted, and turned in all sorts of ways yet still remain recognizable. That’s why so many brands can be divorced from the product/services with which they were originally associated. – Wally Olins pg 18

They can compress and express simple, complex and subtle emotions. They can make those emotions immediately accessible, in many cases overriding mountainous barriers like ethnicity, religion and language. They have an immense emotional content and inspire loyalty beyond reason. – Wally Olins pg. 19

Why are brands such a clear and unique manifestation of our time?
Simply because in a world that is bewildering in terms of competitive clamour, in which rational choice has become almost impossible, brands represent clarity, reassurance, consistency, status, membership – everything that enables human beings to help define themselves. Brands represent identity.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

CoP3 Research: Eminem

www.clashmusic.com - "Twelve things you never knew about Eminem"

www.biggirlbranding.com - By: Cori Padgett-Bukowski:
Eminem- I’m Not Afraid to Take a Stand and Why You Shouldn’t Be Either

www.sentientdecisionscience.com - By: Aaron Reid - Ph.D. Chief Behavioral Scientist, Sentient Decision Science
Vader vs. Eminem: Using the force of subconscious self-identification to boost your brand

Forbes' biggest names in hip hop
1. Dr. Dre – $620 million
2. Jay Z – $60 million
2/3. Diddy – $60 million
4. Drake – $33 million
5. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – $32 million
6. Kanye West – $30 million
7. Birdman – $24 million
8. Lil Wayne – $23 million
9. Pharrell Williams – $22 million
10. Eminem – $18 million

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Hip Hop Image Research


The hip hop playing cards (shown above) are a fun and interesting approach to applying hip hop artists to a format and context which is easily recognised. Although this does not necessarily represent a highly contextual concept, it is an interesting way of thinking. Working with a limit of 52 cards would also be an effective way to limit the content and ensure the chosen artists are relevant to one another. 

The use of playing cards is also interesting as it could be ordered so the more highly-ranked hip hop artists appear on the higher numbered card and vice versa. 

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Hip Hop Logo Research

An obvious riff on the Ramones logo, Dipset’s seal is more menacing, sleek, and street. As “Dipset Anthem” became NYC’s soundtrack in the early 2000s and Harlem spread downtown, the logo popped up everywhere, coming full circle when Reason Clothing reworked it using the Ramones’ typeface and eagle...without Dipset’s permission, of course.

Eric Haze’s world-class hand is one of the most recognizable in graffiti. His lettering graced the cover of “Check Your Head,” a perfect compliment to Glen E. Friedman’s photography, but the “diamond” Beasties logo Haze created for “Licensed to Ill” had the loud and confrontational punch of the band’s early rhymes and stands as a part of their identity.

Jazz—specifically Blue Note related—was an integral influence in hip-hop in the early ‘90s. The impact wasn’t just in sampling or production, but graphically as well and there’s no better example than The Beatnuts’ logo. The logo’s devilish appearance was adapted from the Reid Miles-designed album sleeve for Hank Mobley’s The Turnaround.

Though Run DMC used a few different variations and typefaces on their releases, their stacked logo created by an in-house designer at Island named Stephanie Nash remains their visual identity. From the classic red, white, and black colorway to the simple choice of the font Franklin Gothic accented by the bars, the logo is not only one of hip-hop’s most recognizable, but it also influenced several hardcore bands, including Bold and Chain of Strength. Run DMC’s logo has been knocked off a myriad of times, appearing on bootleg Obama T-shirts and even Mos Def had a rip-off of it, before he adopted the name Yasiin Bey.

Another hand drawn Haze design created with nothing more than a T-square and pencils, the “up-and-down” design aesthetic of EPMD’s logo is also reminiscent of one of punk’s best logos: the Black Flag bars. The bold typography is as direct and noticeable as Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith’s unique vocal deliveries and signature production.

Inspired by iconography from the Five-Percent Nation, Gang Starr’s simple star and chain logo became synonymous with the group after appearing on their 1990 album Step In the Arena. Originally designed by Rick Patrick, the logo went through several variations over the years, but always remained rooted in its bold and literal imagery.

The longstanding symbol of Bay Area crew Hieroglyphics, the three-eyed icon, was created by Ice Cube’s cousin Del tha Funkee Homosapien. Throughout the ‘90s, Hiero grew in popularity with the skate community through their appearances in several Plan B videos, and hundreds of boards and signposts were plastered with stickers of Del’s design.

A visual coup created by House of Pain member Danny Boy O’Connor, the group’s logo isn’t only an example of strong design, but also the power of branding. As the opening bagpipes of their debut single “Jump Around” sounded, a flurry of stickers of the band’s logo followed, causing everyone to take notice.

Normally snowmen are anything but tough or intimidating, but when promo posters appeared around NYC, seemingly out of nowhere, Young Jeezy’s street team had everyone thinking Frosty was actually kind of dope. Though Jeezy hasn’t used the Snowman in a minute, no one will forget wondering just what was going on when it first came out.

Yet another Eric Haze contribution to the list, and one of the first rap logos he designed, LL’s logo features a classic design trick by incorporating interlocking Os. Though the clean logo featured on Cool J’s successful album, Bigger and Deffer, was the perfect compliment, it only appeared on the one LP despite being so well done.

One of the few solo artists with a strong logo, Nas’s signature typography first appeared onIt Was Written and since has appeared on all his subsequent albums. The simple lettering is clear but clever, just like God’s Son himself—the perfect logo for one of hip-hop’s greatest wordsmiths.

Graphic artist Mark Weinberg designed several album covers for Naughty by Nature, but his biggest contribution was creating the group’s logo. Completely drawn by hand, Weinberg has stated that he initially thought the name was stupid, but sketched out the logo on a cocktail napkin, trying to replicate a child’s scrawl, and created a classic. He’s later admitted that the name is great, but perhaps it just needed the right visual companion.

A quick sketch by Onyx’s Fredro Starr, which was intended to be a caricature of Sticky Fingaz’s baldhead, the “madface” was streamlined and became the band’s symbol. Working with NYHC veteran Drew Stone on their breakthrough video “Slam,” the “Attack of the Bald Heads” was lead by the madface.

First conceptualized by Chuck D for another project, Eric Haze tweaked it once Public Enemy formed in 1986, and the targeted b-boy was born. People looking for controversy tried to say that it was more that what it appeared to be, but Chuck D revealed that the silhouette was actually traced from a picture of LL Cool J’s old hype man E-Love.

The Wu-Tang “W” is the hip-hop equivalent of the Batman signal. A simple classic, the logo has come to stand for the entire Clan and their brand of Kung Fu-influenced Staten Island rawness. The “W” has been appropriated by several streetwear and skate brands, but it was New York native Gino Iannucci’s 101 graphic from 1994 that used the GZA’s “G” variation that stands as the perfect homage to the Wu.