The Bull & the Brand

To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.

– Lao Tzu

Let’s dig into this powerful idea, and its connection to branding by examining Pablo Picasso’s painting of “The Bull.”

In 1946, Pablo Picasso began a series of eleven lithographs.

Picasso starts with a realistic sketch of a bull, understanding and evolving the painting into more muscular and lifelike forms.

But then Picasso does something remarkable.

He begins to remove everything that doesn’t represent the bull’s essence.

By the eleventh lithograph, a mere line drawing of the bull remains, capturing its spirit just as well as the original design.


Like Picasso’s creative process with “The Bull,” branding involves understanding the whole and then simplifying to the core.

Picasso’s visual evolution toward simplicity is a striking analogy for designing business organizations, processes, and yes, even brands.

The path towards your brand’s true essence and simplicity begins first with an intricate understanding of your brand.

Just like Picasso’s initial sketches, you might be exploring all the detailed elements that make up your brand. It’s about adding knowledge.

Less is more, but only after you really take the time to understand every aspect of your brand.

The real magic happens when you start to subtract.

Step by step, you peel away the unnecessary layers to reveal the core of your brand. Just as Picasso distilled the bull’s essence, you too can find the essential elements that make your brand unique.

Your brand may have its complexities, but through continuous redesign and careful examination, you have the potential to progress into a simpler, more streamlined configuration. It’s about understanding what to keep and what to let go.

Just as “The Bull” teaches us, the essence of something doesn’t necessarily lie in its complexity.

Simple is powerful, and that’s a lesson that we should all as entrepreneurs should take to heart.

Simplifying your brand isn’t just about removing elements; it’s about revealing its true soul.

The wisdom in branding comes from knowing what to remove, not just what to include. 

Lao Tzu and Picasso had it right all along.

Keep on going! You’re on the right path!

Kalika Yap
Founder, Citrus Studios