Thursday, 8 October 2015

A Brand So Successful That Basically No One Knows About It

(I swear, that title will make sense in a moment.)

There are rare people who can claim to be globally, universally famous. Andrea Palladio isn’t really one of those people. 

(Though he does have a Wikipedia page. Which isn't bad.)

But he has had a singular impact on the world, by reintroducing Roman architecture to his building designs across Italy during the Renaissance – and soon spawning imitations all around him.

If you see a portico on a house – a porch roof with pillars – that’s him. Like this.

Even the reintroduction of intentional symmetry in architecture takes its cue from his ideas.

Outside of the world of architecture, he really isn't a household name.

(I mean I’m writing an article about him and I have to keep re-checking it. I keep thinking his first name is Pablo. Pablo Palladio.)

But his is a style of architecture that you can see traces of across the world, in city after city, in town after town.

In a very real way he spread his brand, his logo, his Palladian style, to every part of the world – without anyone even knowing it. It’s an anonymous brand in a way. But it’s ubiquitous. It’s universal.

Above all, it’s so infused into world architecture, so natural, so “right”, that it’s hard to imagine a world without Palladio’s influence. He created something that seems too obvious to be artificial. How can you imagine that “some guy” was the creator of so much of what we see around us?

To be sure, there’s more to the story than just Palladio. To call him the single root of modern design is to overreach. But it’s an amazing thought regardless. Everywhere. Easily identifiable. But almost unknown.

Perhaps that’s the best sell of all. Millions of people, around the world, buying into your brand, and your ideas, without even knowing that they’re doing it.

And perhaps the Palladio “brand” is the fulfilment of a thoughtful line from the TV series Futurama.

When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.

(Told you it would make sense.)

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