Franchising Totalitarianism: Design, Branding and Propaganda

By Gjoko Muratovski.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

If we observe the process of commercial, corporate franchising, we can easily identify the basic idea behind it—that one can design, produce, brand, and replicate space, time, behaviour, and ambience, in the same way as this can be done for products or services. Bruce Mau describes this process as “the packaging of sensibility”—where smiles, greetings, prompts, and employee attitudes are predetermined and standardised. According to him, while franchises can be identified by their country-of-origin, they tend to easily supersede national boundaries and can appear without context in any environment. They are “ruthlessly efficient” and they form a “centralised economy” where the worldwide profits go on to support the next phase of planned innovation, back at headquarters. You will not be mistaken if you have associated this unusual selection of words with totalitarian regimes. In fact, it can be argued that such association is not far from the truth. The autocratic ambitions of some of the most assertive franchises in the world (coincidentally American by origin) can be seen through their relentless pursuit of efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control—which are ultimately driven by profit and market domination. In return, it can be argued that both corporate franchises and totalitarian states have used matching design methods in line with similarly conceived branding and propaganda techniques in order to achieve their goals.

Keywords: Franchises, Totalitarian Regimes, Design, Branding, Propaganda

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.253-266. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 793.143KB).

Dr. Gjoko Muratovski

Lecturer, School of Art, Architecture and Design, Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences, Universty of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Dr. Gjoko Muratovski PhD, MDes, BA(Hons), GradDip has extensive multidisciplinary design experience and expert knowledge in the field of branding. His educational and professional experience spans from Europe and Asia, to Australia. Throughout the years, he has been working on a multitude of diverse and international projects: from being a Director and Co-Founder of the “Greenpeace Design Awards”—a global design competition that attracted the participation of over 1500 creatives from 77 countries; to developing an international Corporate Social Responsibility campaign for Toyota; being a Creative Director for Global Promotion of a UNESCO World Heritage site; and branding a new European political party. Currently, Dr. Muratovski is a Course Coordinator and Lecturer at the School of Art, Architecture and Design—University of South Australia, where he teaches the following courses: ‘Design, Culture and Society’, ‘Contemporary Design Issues’, ‘Design Language in the 20th Century’, ‘Representing Visual Culture’, ‘Contemporary Graphics and Illustration’, ‘Branding’, as well as ‘Design Studio’ which are practice-based classes for Masters of Visual Communications Design. Prior this, Dr. Muratovski has taught courses on Design and Style at the International Institute of Art, Fashion and Design—Accademia Italiana. He is also a recipient of numerous scholarship awards and merit based prizes—including the current nomination for the most outstanding doctorate of the year. Dr. Muratovski has been published by Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Communication Director, and the Australian Council of Universities of Art and Design. He is the author of Beyond Design (2006)—a peer-reviewed book based on his Master’s thesis at the Bergen National Academy of the Arts, Kingdom of Norway and the Camberwell College of Arts, United Kingdom.

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