Are you the kind of guitarist who wants to know everything they can about a brand they like or even about any brand out there ? I certainly am a little bit of that guy too. That’s why I was keen to get my hand on a copy of The Book of Orange which is a flipbook i.e. two books in one : The Book of Orange & Building the Brand Orange. It is a great read well illustrated that I can only recommend but you will have to be interested in every side of the Orange brand history…
In this day, and age made of ebooks, and cheaply printed books it was a real surprise to hold such a beautiful book. The Book of Orange will get you into the topic as soon as you will see, and touch its velvet cover. The book aims to give you an insider look on the history of Orange amps by Orange founder, and CEO Cliff Cooper, and some Orange team members. So why two books to look at one story?
The Book of Orange
Well, basically the first book i.e. The Book of Orange is about the development of Orange Amplifiers over the last 40 years or so. It features a lot of technical details about Orange products as well as stories about how the famous Orange sound has been shaped. You will find there many stories behind the products (how Noel Gallagher from Oasis was involved in the Orange OTR amps for instance), and a detailed list/description/chronology of every amplifier ever made by Orange.
The Book of Orange starts with the first amp ever made, and sold by Cliff Cooper : The CTI Pixy Mk V (transistor miniature amp). Then it moves on the early age of Orange amplifiers from shaping the Orange sound with the help of ear specialists, and musicians to the real relationship between Orange, and Mat Mathias company Matamp. Then you will read the book as you were travelling through time. Each section represents a year, and the products made that year. The Book of Orange ends on a section that features a selection of artists who were important to Orange amplifiers development.
The book shows how Orange always looked to innovate though they’ve sometimes failed to do it as shown by the OMEC Digital story. I didn’t even know that Orange was behind the very first digitally programmable amplifier that was developped during the wrong decade I guess i.e. the ’70s.
Building the Brand Orange
So what about the second book then i.e. Building the Brand Orange ? I have to admit that this second book got me hooked even more than the first one. Reason is, I am not that much of a tech guy (though I like to read about the tech side). As you will guess it is all about the business side of the brand Orange! If you are trying to build a brand or something of a brand as I am trying to do it myself, then you will be interested in the Building the Brand Orange book.
Basically, it tells the story of once recording artist with The Millionaires then young entrepreneur Cliff Cooper who founded Orange Music. It all started as a second-hand guitar shop: the Orange Shop. And the stories behind the first steps of Orange in the retailing business, and then in the amps manufacturing business is quite unbelievable sometimes. Mind you that Cliff Cooper is probably telling almost everything about this period, and how tricky it was to start such a business. Tricks, and traps from rivals were a very common thing back then!
An interesting aspect of the Brand Orange is that it looks like Cliff Cooper always aimed to be the owner of a big business. Hence the very British, and aristocratic Orange crest. Yet, as every big project should, the Orange marketing didn’t stop there. To look different from their rivals, they’ve used a lot of things such as: the Orange graphics on the amps panels, comic strips advertising, street marketing with the Orange beach buggy, products placement with the BBC, Bic, music festivals, MIDEM, and so on…
The book shows that every small guitar business could have its chance to make it big as long as they make good products, they care about their customers, and they put a lot of efforts into their business.
I know that sounds a bit cheesy but to be honest, when I look at the guitar business, I’m not so sure that everyone knows that… And if they do, why the hell are they hiding it that way?
The book is currently shipping to the UK, and USA but international shipping should just be a matter of time via the Orange Amps web shop.