April 28, 2022

Form Follows Intention: A Designer’s Personal Touch

It is said that a designer has to have an objective output. However, I think, no matter how objective they are, every designer has their own sensibility and style in design language. This style comes naturally, like humans who have different ways and styles of communicating with each other. The style, of course, is also influenced by what they have absorbed during the course of life and what kind of perspective or concept they prefer.

When I was in college, I was taught about the “form follows function” which in the end left the decorative aspect in question. At that time I was also drilled by modernism; that a design must be universal. Well, there is nothing wrong with any of that, but I have a different point of view…

In my opinion, every designer actually gives a personal touch to their own work. Therefore, for me, it’s more than “form follows function” but more about “form follows intention”. 

A designer, after all, has their own intention regarding their work which is greatly influenced by their personal history and background.

We can find an example from one of the most popular cultures nowadays: the Marvel Universe. If we pay attention, the styles of invention Tony Stark (Ironman) and Hank Pym (Antman) are very different, even though they are both inventors and scientists. Tony Stark always designs everything in a sleek, while Hank Pym tends to be low-fi. It turns out that all of this is far from being just visual, but there is a background, namely Tony Stark's flamboyant nature so that many of his works look "shiny" while Hank Pym is more pragmatic so he doesn’t particularly care about visual appearance.

In the end, I realized that every designer represents his character and when he looks at the macro, he also represents his culture.

The book “Beauty” written by  Stefan Sagmeister explains that ultimate functionality (which modernism upholds) often forgets what is in society; in this case personality and culture. So, if we are not careful, a design will be tasteless.

Then, the question arises whether Indonesian culture and society are suitable for the modernism school of design that has the ultimate functionality. Is it going to eliminate elements of our own culture?

However, again, there is no right or wrong when it comes to the school of design. Everything arises because of the thoughts and needs of the moment--based on the situation. Because, in the end, a designer is a human being who has their own unique background. Regardless of the preferences of their design schools, the most important thing is not to forget each other's cultural roots and how our designs can help people without being deprived of the beauty and thoughts that we personally nurture.

April 18, 2022

A Happy Marriage

Nowadays, it is so easy to spot great copywriting with equally captivating graphic design. Those materials are so abundant. Just scroll down your Instagram, and only...only one scroll away you'll meet the first Instagram ad. Scroll down for a minute, you'll find four or five more (depending on how frequently you open this app). 

It is as if we are being indulged by visual beauty combined with eye-catching words. From the words which directly invite us to shop on an e-commerce site to proverbs with beautiful graphics or illustrations as its background… It’s no wonder that our fingertips immediately tap the like button.

All of that makes us think about how powerful visuals can be when combined with writing (both copywriting and descriptive/explanatory writing).

In what we've been through so far, visuals and writing are two things that can never replace each other. They complement each other. The brand guideline will not be understood if it only contains visuals;  it needs an easy-to-understand explanation of the concept or a user manual. Right?

Truly, a combination of visuals and writing is a “perfect marriage”.

The ultimate example of the 'marriage' between visuals and writing, in our opinion, is war propaganda. Indonesia itself has an interesting example of propaganda posters, where at that time Soekarno, the future first president, acted as the initiator (imagine if Soekarno was alive today, he might have become a great art director!). It can be seen from the propaganda poster (created in 1945) how the creators succeeded in capturing the essence of the message they had wanted to convey holistically.

However, from the example above, we also have to ask ourselves again: how do we, the ones behind it all, use our respective skills since what we create can be used for both positive and negative purposes?

But one thing for sure, whatever the purpose is, this marriage will last forever and evolve from time to time. 

A happy marriage.

November 16, 2021

One Step At a Time

At POT Branding House, all team members are expected to be able to do their research regarding what project they are currently working on. However, it turned out that there was a growing need for research in the creative world, and that's why it was finally decided that research was a separate body within our structure.

So here I am; a person who used to have no idea the importance of research in the creative industry and was completely clueless about what to do about it. 

Therefore, during my first year working here, I faced many doubts. I often doubted my capability and capacity. Combined with my zero experience in the creative industry, my confidence was so low.  

But to think about it…. 

Every person has done some kind of research in their life. Simple things like finding out what type of skincare or clothes to buy are examples of smaller-scaled, personal research in our everyday life. Therefore, if we expand it with methods (qualitative or quantitative) and produce valid data, then that is where research becomes very valuable in the industry. 

A researcher provides insights that will form the basis in determining brand concept/direction, as well as a validation of the original hypothesis. I learn that our role might be a supportive one, but without the research itself, all the concepts we offer to clients will feel like a hollow space. We are part of a holistic ecosystem, where everyone has their role and fits each other like pieces of the puzzle.

My job as a researcher teaches me to be more confident and explore self-potential that I never thought I had. The more I practice, the more I realize that research goes beyond theory and methodology. Experience and sense are also needed to guide us in finding more leads. 

Even now, I still have moments when I feel really inferior since my knowledge is not as vast as the rest of my team. Sometimes, I feel down knowing how my other teammates can see things from another whole new perspective while I fail to see one. 

That’s why I need to remind myself that as a researcher, I need to constantly accumulate my experience to build a frame of thought. And it doesn’t come in one night. It doesn’t come as naturally as blinking one’s eyes. 

Hey, at least for now I have experience as a 27-year-old human being. Let’s make my experience so far an investment for what I am currently doing now. The rest...just take things one step at a time and we’ll see what the future will be. 

September 17, 2021

Simplifying Things in A Complicated Way

When we see problems, many of us need to get answers in complex processes. Somehow, unconsciously we prefer that method; to deliver a solution in complicated ways. Some might have excuses such as, "because everything needs to be considered meticulously." Because there are many factors out there. Because there are so many possibilities to be included in the variables.

This situation can drive us to the point where we forget the essential part of solving the problem. The problem itself. We fail to see the urgency; we end up circling our own complex thoughts. We feel responsible to answer every question raised from the problem, but fail to find the most important question.

And if you think I am circling around by repeating similar things over and over again... Well, that's how it feels when we fail to address the essentials.

Is it not okay to have complex thinking?

The answer is yes, it is okay. But it can become a hindrance when we turn the complexity into an unnecessarily complicated process.

Complexity is what our brand strategists face every time we start to define the identity concept of a brand. Creating brand identity, of course, is not the same as solving a problem but quite similar. We have a set of questions to be answered in order to find the right brand voices and senses that will form a solid identity.

"The thing is...the process is not about ignoring your complex thoughts. It's about mapping possibilities that come into your brain, then putting those into the right channels," one of our brand strategists said, "I think complexity and --to some extent-- complicatedness is necessary for the process in finding brand identity concepts. Those two allow us to brainstorm wildly, to analogize, to connect one thing to another.

"Even though it is good to see things from bird-eye-view, we have to remember why we are here. To help our client create a brand that will grow. Therefore, those wild brainstorming and ideas need to be put in a context which relates to the brand."

Let them communicate

A good answer is an answer understood easily by its audience. If we were throwing questions as a scientist in a peer-to-peer review, we expected to hear the answer in some complicated, technical terms. But in daily life, people want simplicity. They want simple answers to their daily problems. They want something that they can relate to.

Simplifying things is a must for our audience. Here comes the hardest point. How do we simplify brand identity into relatable value? It lays on how we see the communication between the brand and its audience. Let's see from their perspective as if they were human beings.

If you were the audience:

Do you want to get through a complicated process to get your problem solved? Do you want to listen to your complete rambling with a frown on your face?

If you were the brand:

Do you want to get stuck with people that don't align with you? Do you want to give something that people do not like having?

By knowing what the brand's aims are in communication with their audience and vice versa, we will have a better comprehensive, holistic understanding of the identity concepts.

We might get overwhelmed a lil' bit (or a lot?) by the fact there are many options to explore for creating brand identity concepts. We might get lost in our own thoughts ("Definitely," said our brand strategist). But the highlight is: try to simplify our thoughts by learning to befriend with its complicatedness.

May 11, 2021

Filling A Perfect Place in Our Memory

Ramadan is one of the most anticipated moments for most of Indonesia's population. Apart from the Eid celebration which is usually accompanied by the habit of mudik (going back to one’s hometown)--unfortunately we also cannot do it right now due to the pandemic, there is an even more interesting addition about this special month.

Every time you watch YouTube or scroll down on Instagram and various other social media platforms, ads always appear related to Ramadan and Eid.

At this moment, we actually remember how Ramadan has become a part of Indonesian culture that is deeply rooted in every aspect of our lifestyle. Let's remember... When we were little and watched television (90s generation here!) as the month of Ramadan approached, advertisements with the fasting month theme began to appear.

One of the most memorable ones is probably the advertisement for a syrup brand, where each scene in the ad depicts a family ready to break their fast. Or a bottled tea commercial that shows people breaking their fast in a restaurant drinking the bottled tea (oh, how we miss going out freely!). Then, without us knowing it, we grew up with these brands and their association to the said commercials during Ramadan.

We observe that there are three types of what brands do during the Ramadan month. First, brands which “only” use Ramadan as their theme for promotion, ads, or any other content. Second, brands that contextually follow the Ramadan theme but do not inject their own brand values. Lastly, the third one: brands that are successfully riding the theme while at the same time bringing an additional value for their audience/customers. 

What's interesting here is that these brands (the third type) have succeeded in bringing their values even further, which is to become part of our memory. The brands have become more than just a function or a status symbol. They have managed to get a position that can be said to be associated with feelings of nostalgia and longing. 

In the end, we also realized that when building a brand, we have to think about how the value offered will be embedded in the minds of its users/customers. After the brand as a product or service has provided its maximum function, what will remain there?

They will be a part of our memory, filling each space with their pieces. They might be scatted or a small ripple. 

But, definitely, they will become a trail that always fills in the memory of us all.

May 7, 2021

Craving for Connection

When it comes to day-to-day business, we mostly value efficiency and effectiveness. We want to jump from one project to another in swift. To finish all deadlines. From creating a brand strategy to starting the first draft of logo design, we have every step planted inside our brain.

But behind those tightly-scheduled creative processes and technical stuff, lie another foundation that is easy to miss:


When we are busy with our work, there are times when we forget how some things need to be communicated. Moreover, as creative workers, we tend to have our own idealism regarding our projects. We are so into 'zone' that we forget how every project we handle is not only our own.

That's why communicating with each other is a way to prevent any misunderstanding among team members as well as with external parties.

Communication has also become a crucial part of every project. It connects us with other parties involved. Clients, vendors, collaborators and business partners. Each has a unique pattern of communication. As a team, they have certain goals that need to be aligned with us. As individuals, they have their own perspective -- in personal and professional ways.

Some of our clients and business partners have become our good friends -- even part of our circle. Within them, we find great companies who often give us more insights. We also noticed how important it is to have mutual ground. A connection that will help us fit every piece of the puzzle together.

Our own experiences so far have taught us how all humans (regardless of their social and economic status) need to have a connection however small it is. Whether in the form of quick greetings or deep conversation, the urge to communicate is always there.

Therefore, even a little connection thread constantly reminds us how far we have been walking this path. To be able to meet various people from different backgrounds. To be able to appreciate every small encounter. To be able to say 'thank you' to whoever gives us another piece of the puzzle that will complete our journey.

April 10, 2021

More Than Words

It was our first meeting ever to decide the editorial for the Journal when one of our designers brought out an interesting subject about the unexpected process behind designing a visual for the client. An ability to decide and choose keywords for the visual guideline itself. Yes, those seemingly harmful words could make our team quite frustrated.

"Always, it always takes time to find the words that will represent the whole concept of the brand visual guideline," said the designer.

The words, he continued, had to be simple. Easy to understand. And of course, had to be relatable for the common human beings (a.k.a did not sound as if it came from the academic textbook only a few people would comprehend).

"During my time in college, I was constantly reminded that to design visual communication we need to get back to 'how to say' and 'what to say'", he said, "Branding is all about keywords, which reflect what the brand will do and how will do it, how it will say and act... They're like humans!"

It occurred to me how our understanding of language as a form of communication is important in whatever field we work. When we want to convey a value or message to others in a written way, there are many words we can use. From verbs, adjectives, nouns to adverbs...such overwhelming possibilities...

And for him, to be a designer whose skill is to interpret his thoughts visually, finding the right words is like digging into an almost-alien world. At least, during his first time delving into this task.

The relationship between written language and visual symbols is really close in human civilization. Long before writing was invented, humans had recorded their daily life through paintings. Those prehistoric images of animals we can still find inside caves all around the world are proof of how we have advanced this far.

In the end, both are supporting each other. They cannot exist without one another. As my friend said before, branding is like humans. It requires integrated parts to be a whole being. Therefore, in this context, our branding keywords are more than a few words.

It represents the whole 'human being'. And if you look beyond its surface, hidden behind the façade is the process of becoming -- the layers of frustrations, learning, re-learning, discovery, and experiences.

April 1, 2021

The Missing Link

Great civilization which comes with the infamous “signature” for their design (in this case, graphic design) has always had a quality where its people (to the government level) realize how design is an important part of daily life. Graphic design is not only intended for mass-production uses. It is an integrated part of the culture. It underscores how society has already reached the point where they understand how important visual representations are to provide convenience in everyday life. Of course, all of that is also supported by an aesthetic that attracts the visual and fits the context.

Therefore, to answer the need of our society, we need to understand our own culture and history. To seek and interpret the roots according to our time. To be aware of how the world is constantly changing. To see problems and be a problem-solver. But, is it enough? 

This writing is not going to explore the history and culture of graphic design in Indonesia, or how graphic design has been shaped in our country. Let’s be honest. As graphic designers, we often feel pressured to meet client’s requirements and the dreary deadline. It’s easy to get drowned in our routine, to create something driven by our primal need (we’re talking about the digits on the bank account). 

By the end of the day, we just want to go to bed...only to wake up again and do the same routine next after. 

So, it’s only natural that we forget the essence of our work.

Is graphic design only part of the industry in our country? A source of financial income for those who are involved around it? 

“Do we have the urgency to see graphic design as part of our society?”

Graphic design functions as a way to convey or deliver a message to society; a triggering visual language to start a conversation about almost anything. From politics to economy; from product marketing to sign systems, graphic design has a deep place in the heart of society. But, does our society see the urgency to use graphic design to its full potential?  

The question above might sound a little bit idealistic, but we need to ask ourselves again what the reason behind our profession is. 

Are we going to be trapped in this loop forever where graphic designers are seen only as commodities? 

Or, are we going to find our root of reason and gradually fill the gap between our profession and our own way to contribute to society? 

Are we…? 




*Think you’re confused because this writing is full of questions, don’t worry! We’re also confused why there are many questions; but if you would love to discuss the answers...give us a call 😉 

December 3, 2020

To Grow with Our Surroundings

Human-beings are intriguing creatures. We have our own nature. We are influenced by our nurture and surroundings. Each of us is unique in some way or another; from body language to the way we think. From physical appearance such as hands to the part which is not visible to the eye like DNA. Even though we can find similarities, there are always things that distinguish us from others. 

When it comes to helping owners to build their brand, we treat the brands as humans. They, like humans, have a life purpose and a story to tell. We would like to call it being ‘soulful’...as cliché as it is, but yes, soulful. During our first years delving into a brand consultancy company, we thought this soul had to be embedded in the brand’s each aspect—some kind of heavenly guidance. But then we were slapped by a reality: some clients did not require those overly philosophical thoughts. Many of them might be philosophical, but did their brand need it? 

Does the brand need to be soulful...like us, human-beings who are walking on Earth carrying our very own soul? 

Before this writing turns into a philosophical crisis, let’s just say...we finally admitted our mistakes. 

Not every brand needs to be that soulful because even humans do not get measured by their soul only. Besides, who are we to judge the quality of one’s soul? We came to the realization how being soulful is not a state. It is a dynamic journey of the brand and everyone involved.

The soul becomes a conceptual foundation that will guide brands and create their authentic characters. 

In methodological order, we help brand owners to find a common ground between themselves and the industry (in general, the world out there). Therefore, our role is also to help brands turn their spirit and enthusiasm into feasible outputs which will be accepted by and grow with the industry. Then, we interpret their spirit into brand values, communication, and design based on facts and our findings. 

Being a brand consultancy company teaches us how to balance our idealism and the market’s reality. At the same time, it strengthens and clarifies our dream. We want to help brands that leave the footprint of the times. The brands which will be remembered for their step in changing the audience's behavior or making new trends.

So far, finding our fundamental thinking in branding has been such a ride. Nothing is perfect. Iteration and relearning are parts of the process. However, there is one thing we can conclude. Every little detail we have been through to become a brand consultancy company teaches us about our own nature.

That we are dynamic creatures who grow with our surroundings. 

Our collective thoughts would not come to this point if we had not let ourselves grow from time to time. But how far will we grow? How far are we going to open our minds? How long until we are stuck and need to see from another perspective? 

The answer, of course, we don’t know. The future is always unpredictable since the world evolves in very unexpected, captivating ways. 

And we enthusiastically welcome brand owners to answer those questions above. Who are willing to shape the possible future together, while growing in and for our surroundings. 




PT POT Dharma Kultiva
Jl Pesantren № 39, Bandung—Indonesia
Get Direction Here
+62 811 224 4191




PT POT Dharma Kultiva
Jl Pesantren № 39, Bandung—Indonesia
Get Direction Here
+62 811 224 4191

© 2020 POT BRANDING HOUSE. All Rights Reserved.

© 2020 POT BRANDING HOUSE. All Rights Reserved.

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