Nice and Easy




A line. A dot. An edge. Conscience. Marriage. Laws. There are many things that create boundaries and mark them at the same time. Whether these are of a political, cultural, social or geometric nature. Probably as many reasons exist to step over these borders, or at least test them, as there are limits themselves.

Though I'm certainly not advocating more thoughtlessness than already prevails in society today. Everyone has a right to their own personal boundaries and these must be respected. Yet to approach these boundaries as close as possible, especially your own, and at least cast a glimpse on the other side, has probably never harmed anyone unless those boundaries are delineated by an electric fence. Or the wife of your best friend. But, joking aside: stories in the media always concern people overstepping boundaries, breaking records and doing the unexpected. In fact, almost all good stories involve overstepping the limits at some level. Because that's when things start to move, the story begins to unfold, a plot evolves, tension sets in, something is going on and we want to know more about it. The interesting part in a fairytale begins when Little Red Riding Hood drifts off the safe path and Cinderella goes to the ball after all, although both know they really shouldn't. Those are the moments when the story becomes gripping. And, it ends at the point beyond which nobody wants to hear any more details, "… they lived happily ever after." Where nothing happens, there's nothing to be told.

Maybe you've just made yourself very comfortable. Living within your boundaries and with no need to expose yourself to any sort of risk. Life inside these boundaries is extremely pleasant isn't it? Yet crossing boundaries creates new constellations. Indeed, the expression "to surpass oneself" implies that by overstepping limits something even more positive can be achieved. By tearing down our psychological or physical boundaries and leaving them behind, we surpass ourselves and achieve new levels of excellence. An intentional overstepping of a boundary that you might actually have set up yourself in the first place. The process of setting oneself boundaries and then tearing them down involves a duality that never ceases to fascinate me. The deliberateness: knowing your own limits, calculating the risk – and then going ahead and crossing them. Intentionally, but not thoughtlessly. The concept of a controlled process of development and growth appeals to me.

In branding, boundaries and borders are a frequent topic. A brand functions by distinguishing itself from the competition. Therefore it must clearly define what it stands for. And what it doesn't. Its deliberate positioning creates the space required to establish an identity. In the past, when "Corporate Identity" (CI) still dominated brand theory, boundaries were observed almost religiously: use only this color in that space! CI was mainly concerned with creating a system of unity. Matrixes. And guidelines. And regulations. The theory still holds value, for without unity and clear boundaries you cannot create identity. Yet in branding, the same applies as in real life. While it is crucial to create boundaries, only the courage to deliberately cross them, time and time again, generates true potential for development. Both for people and brands alike.


This article appeared in PUNKTMagazin. The Swiss magazine combines economics, investment and lifestyle and is published every two months. Branders CEO René Allemann writes a column for the publication. You'll find more information on PUNKTMagazin here:

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René Allemann

René Allemann

Born in Zurich, René Allemann founded the consulting firm Branders in 2005. With 20 employees, the branding agency creates, maintains and manages brands. The Brander journal is published by the Branders Group.

The Brander is a publication of the Branders Group