Mordaunt Short

Although I can’t paint at the moment as I’m getting ready to move house I’ve been thinking about the way images can affect us when we look at them.  Even simple things like fonts and trademarks have an effect.  I’m someone who is not affected by a lot of advertising.  Most of it just passes me by and some of it actively puts me off buying from certain companies.  However, occasionally I get really caught by something.  A few years ago I was mildly unwell – running a moderately high temperature and feeling a bit sorry for myself.  I got really captured by the trademark of the surround sound speaker system we had at the time.  The trademark is so simple – just the name in white capital letters across the bottom of the speaker but it was really effective.

The speaker looked a bit like this on the outside:

ms6 - Copy

But when watching a big movie or listening to a  video of a music concert we would remove the black grills and then the speakers looked more like this (except that the wood was a cherry colour.)

410mordant.2 - Copy

Anyway, I ended up writing about the experience of being kind of captured by this piece of advertising.  Here’s what I wrote:


Mordaunt – Short

I am sitting staring at the blackness of the TV screen when my eye is caught by a small, precise label near the bottom of the centre speaker, sitting on top of the set.

Mordaunt - Short

I look at the speaker. The front panel is black protecting three dark orifices of sound and language. The case is wooden, chosen to match the colour of the furniture in the room, although it doesn’t, quite. The name fills my mind and body, it echos inside me, resonating, touching me right down to my toes. I am captured, transported for a moment into the ecstasy of quality. My heart is filled with that bedrock-deep love of machines, perfectly and exactly made, and I feel connected to another life, a life of order, of peace, of place and stillness.

I am stunned at how this small piece of advertising can suddenly reach me. Perhaps it’s simply because I’m unwell and febrile. Perhaps it’s because I’ve just been watching the History Channel which would have been great except that there were more adverts than program – ten thousand little bits of trash that some smiling actor is pretending to encourage me to buy. So maybe seeing all that had put me into a cynical, unreachable place where Generation X is born and so made the shock of being touched by a trade mark so much stronger . Or perhaps there is power in the shape and form of words, “Mordaunt Short”, an echo of the Logos itself. Like a prayer, like an incantation it reaches inside me and plays the music of my heart.




4 thoughts on “Mordaunt Short

  1. Your post reminds me of the brand name SONY and how the name came to be. The man who invented the transistor radio was the man who named the company Sony. He wanted the product to take off. Before this, listening to the radio was something one only did at home (or in the pub). The radio was a piece of furniture, standing proudly in the corner of the room. You would turn it on, then have to wait till the vacuum tubes warmed up, then turn a large round dial to tune it in. With the invention of the transistor in 1947 a new era was born. transportable music. you could take the radio to the beach, to work, even have a radio installed in your car. The company name came into being because they wanted a name that would become as well known as Ford was in the motor car business. It had to be short, sharp and punchy. The owner of the company had a son, whom he called Sonny. They took one N out and the SONY company was born,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A very interesting post. When I’m febrile, wallpaper and wall surfaces come alive and move, have done since I have glandular fever at the age of 11. Hope the move goes according to plan.

    Liked by 1 person

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