Agora of Brand
The development of the botnet brand has been a process of editing and elimination. This has meant discarding filigree, decoration, certain strategies, and ultimately, many traditional facets of branding. Gone is most collateral and a definite logo. In the resulting liminal space, is the brand agora. It is characterized by three brand pillars:
- Use of default typeface
- Dimensional Grid
- Attention to underlying data structures
Though it is easy to state these pillars, the application is more challenging. I have made numerous attempts to put these principles into practice. Only in my final iteration have I managed to successfully use the botnet brand.
The first brand principal is easily put into practice. All that’s needed is to type the word botnet ina default monospace. One can open a text editor and write the word, one can simply eliminate formatting from plain text, or one can use css to declare the font family monospace. Using this strategy, the logo is realized both by the designer and by the computer: a collaboration between network and user. For some botnet will appear in Menlo. For others it will be Letter Gothic. Still for other it may be Open Mono. It depends on the application and the computer.
The purpose of this strategy is develop an ambient logo. Timothy Morton describe the ambient object as “without center or edge.” It is refractive and reflective, breaking down the distinction between subject and object 2
. This is critical to the brand strategy as the default typefaces eliminates design sovereignty, aquessing authority to the app in use. It is an homage to the network as well as an invitation into the botnet, allowing the user to enter the visual vernacular of the network.
Next is the grid. The grid is applied dimensionally, determined by the window width, or size of printed collateral. The grid is a reference ot pixels, the building blocks of the digital. In this way the grid establishes material, reinforcing the notion that user has entered into the network space. More importantly the grid is a tool of control. It is a method for developing structures that sort and organize elements. The grid serves as the basic interfaces of the identity, itemizing the user’s attention, and depending upon the application, potentially sorting the user. According to Benjamin Bratton, the grid is instrumental in developing fields of control 3
. Particularly within the network, the botnet takes advantage of the grid, using it obscure its identity. In this way the grid is a tool that politicizes the brand agora. This striating is necessary in order to realizes the transgressional aspect of the botnet.
Naturally the grid leads into the data structure. The third and most obscure brand pillar. Like the botnet itself, this brand pillar cannot be seen directly, but it is felt within the brand. The data structure is a governing body that is manifest by the presence of the brand. It recalls the organization behind the botnet becoming the implied fingerprint: the functional core element of the identity. The data structure is manifest at every level of the identity, from the information pulled from the cloud that makes up the tweets in the final sculpture, to the way in which the text is laid out. In this way, the data structures articulate the recursive nature of the botnet. “Viable systems contain viable systems,” writes Stafford Beer 4
. Indeed the structure is recursive. In order to achieve text within a grid, pulled from tweets, it was necessary to write the tweets into a JSON file with a series of arrays nested within objects nested within arrays. Understanding the data structure as a pillar of the identity was crucial step in understanding this identity. It was one of the way in which to bridge the semiotic gap. Stafford Beer writes, numerical data “is a product of gestalt psychology, in which pattern is relied upon to convey information.” The data structure is the identity.