Thank you, Mr. Eastwood, for all that you continue to do.

Don’t worry, this isn’t the typical, mundane comparison between branding cattle and branding your next product. We can all agree; that metaphor has had its time. No, this is about the importance of the number three, the triad. Much of our scientific, mathematical, political and art world draws from the balance of three. There are many ways to apply three, and in this case, we are simply using three examples of brands in our world, one good, one bad, one ugly.

The Good: It’s hard not to mention Apple when talking about a brand. It may seem like Apple and their identity elements are clean and pristine, but Apple has made history by rebellious behavior and spitting in the face of convention. Is it larger than Steve Jobs? It can be challenging to take on an outlaw persona if it doesn’t come naturally. It isn’t something an organization enjoys, it is often something forced upon it. Just the word, “organization,” goes against the typical outlaw behaviors. Has this organization adopted Job’s rebellious attitude? Has Apple identified a person with the natural outlaw persona? In a recent conversation with a recent past employee of Apple, this individual indicated the team inside has taken on Job’s brand and will carry forward the anti-establishment approach that has brought admiration from both Wall Street and Main Street. We, at Capsule, hope so.

The Bad: From one outlaw to another, Harley-Davidson. Another of our world’s most coveted brands. If you don’t know the history (brink of bankruptcy, many bikes in disrepair and a few loyalists revitalizing it) buy the book. The word “bad,” as we know it, can mean something good, in this case something oh so good. This is a great example for Apple to consider when wondering if the legacy will continue. Who can we thank for such great work on this brand? The ad agency? The management team? The media? They all had a role, but the lead goes to the loyal Harley rider. This rider has the role of “Grand Brand Manager,” and they speak up when something is right and scream when wrong. The lesson for Apple—listen to those who covet you—they will make sure you’re staying in line by ignoring the conventional line altogether.

The Ugly: Those of you who abuse intellectual property, either by ignorance or by deliberate thievery. Consequences will be there, in time. We have actually had people come to our office and say, “yeah, I really liked the work you did for that client, so I copied it, or rather it was my inspiration.” Well, your inspiration was our perspiration. We work hard to design unique, memorable and valuable ideas for our clients. For those of you who hook your wagon onto our tractor, just be sure to know what laws you may be breaking, because it may be a bumpy ride behind the Capsule tractor.

This ugly example “watch for” is my inspiration for this post. It came across my e-mail just the other day, infringing on Harley-Davidson and not even doing it in an impressive manner. If you’re going to break the law, at least do it with style. Maybe, then, you can avoid the tattoo “stupid and ugly” and just get “ugly.”

Aaron Keller, Capsule