The Entire Package
In “How To Think Like a Great Graphic Designer”, Peter Saville speaks about his early career designing album covers for Factory Records artists such as New Order and Joy Division and the impact that bands and artists have on us in our formative years.
“Certain persuasive mediums arrive at a very formative time in your life and in the context of a kind of obsessive association. In particular young men are obsessive about certain aspects of music, especially of the cult aspects of music and they tend to embrace everything that comes with it. So, if you’re a Marilyn Manson fan you take on the entire package. If you’re into rap, you take on the entire package. This is what adolescents do.”
Adolescence is the first time we really start to think about who we are and how we fit into society. Finding an artist who gives voice to our thoughts and beliefs about the world is comforting and liberating. It validates that there are other people like us out there. Who wonder about the same things, are awkward in similar ways…but who are surviving in the world nevertheless. Associating with the artist and their tribe helps us define and understand who we are, so of course we buy into the entire package.
Of course adolescence is not the last time we ask the questions “Who am I?” and “Where do I fit in?” We dress our lives in the same way we dress ourselves.
We choose our outfits to shape how the world sees us – be it an athletic, business-like, stylish, provocative, casual or IDGAF look.
The products, brands and tribes we are associated with are also cultivated to some degree to show the world who we are. Our cars, computers, phones, interests, political leanings, sporting or business affiliations help tell the world who we are.
Using myself as an example, there are definitely brands and tribes where I’ve bought into the entire package. My macbook and iPhone, moleskine notebook and blackwing pencils, the collection of Seth Godin books on my bookshelf and on my kindle app (which is of course on my iPad). They’re the equivalent of that Prince Graffiti Bridge tshirt I wore as a teenager and the collages of bands and musicians that decorated my high school diaries. They say “I accept that I’m a bit nerdy and awkward. But check out my stuff! There are plenty of other people who like this stuff too. They’ve got to be nerdy and awkward just like me. I’m not alone.”
Because ultimately, none of us wants to be alone.