Seems like I’m always writing about branding. Good branding. Bad branding. Deceptive branding. The demographics of branding. The branding of branding.

Let’s face it. There is absolutely NOTHING “brand new” to say about... branding. And yet, the power of a name as it relates to a product or service or institution or personality or (yipes!) religion is paramount to the way our world revolves. Branding transcends business. I’m not qualifying that. It just is what it is.

I’m not even sure about my own feelings concerning this “branding” scenario anymore but... you know what? IT IS WHAT IT IS.

So, what gets me charged up for this “branding” issue every year? Easy. I LOVE stuff. I’m maddeningly materialistic and proud of it. Well-made shoes. Beautifully textured scarves. Leather goods with well-crafted hardware. All of it consumes my attention and the only real salvation for me is I can truly appreciate these “things” without having to possess them. I feel the same way about great eyewear. I stand in awe of eyewear amazingly designed and developed with great care and attention to detail and quality.

And I love when we have the opportunity to photograph that eyewear with products equally interesting. And I’m even more pleased that in most cases the eyewear is an equal and usually superior partner.

And we added a slightly new layer this time round with a team-up of self-branded eyewear and perfect-partner cases. Eyeglass cases have evolved, complementing and soaring as brand clarions.

It’s also a nice instance here being able to reinforce the TOTAL eyewear package (from vision care to lenses to frames to cases) as the plateau you need to attain in order to see your brightest future in the optical arena.

A friend once dubbed me a brand warrior for this magazine. I was honored. When he said it I also realized I was privileged to be working on “stuff” (this printed/papered magazine) that is one of the few objects still actually being made in America. And THAT’s what a brand warrior does: Looks inward and finds the essence and aura of a chosen brand... and fights for it.     

James J. Spina