The days of the brand seem to be numbered. A new era of utility, function and customization is dawning.

As consumers keep looking for new means of self-expression, the mass appeal of mainstream brands may lose its power. And thanks to the Internet, what was once considered inaccessible is suddenly close at hand.

Check out: The Rise of the Unbrand




  • toil away – to engage in hard and continuous work
  • spring up – appear suddenly
  • voluntary – done, made, brought about, undertaken, etc., of one’s own accord or by free choice
  • counter-intuitive – against one’s intuition
  • cachet – a distinguishing mark or feature
  • humane – characterized by tenderness, compassion, and sympathy for people and animals


Think about it

Based on the text decide whether the sentences below are true or false?

  • Fine artists have been unable to make ends meet for centuries.
  • It is uncommon for  artists to accept commissioned work and cooperate closely with clients.
  • Customization and personalization are central to branding
  • No mainstream brand is willing to make its products hard to recognize.
  • Utility and function are two distinct features of the traditional definition of a brand.


Practice makes perfect

In the sentences below replace the phrases in bold with the expressions from the original text. Leave your answers in the comments below!

  • For centuries,  lots and lots of fine artists have done what thousands of artists have before them: starve.
  • Now these artists no longer have to work their hands to the bone  in their studio hoping to impress an influential gallery owner [. . .]
  • This movement has long history.
  • Today, some major mainstream brands are even removing their logos of their own free will.
  • The maker movement is generating a new industry of individuals who are creating products that are both completely bespoke and brand-less [. . .]


Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. You can put one word in each blank space.

When you walk ______ the home or office of individuals ______ have made purchases from these artists, you’re not immediately pointing ______ them and saying, “Cezanne! Picasso! Warhol! Renoir!” These are — for ______ most part — unbranded works created to be ______ customized and personalized. It’s part of a larger trend — instead ______ taking the time and resources to beat a brand ______ the modern consumer’s mind, many new entrants are producing these customized and personalized — nearly unbranded — products ______ an ever-growing global consumer-base that is interested less ______ the label and brand experience and much more in something that can ______ uniquely “them.”


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