The recession could make design broaden its range

If we need proof that things are changing in branding design, there is strong evidence in the Benchmarks award-winners. Where the focus might once have been on wholesale branding overhauls, some of the best creative work now emanates from campaigns within brands.

Lynda Relph-Knight

Hat-Trick Design’s The Little Creature campaign for British Heart Foundation, for example, shared Best of Show honours with Turner Duckworth’s Coca-Cola rebranding in the Benchmarks. Its aim – to help children deal with the loss of a loved one – is a small, but important part of the charity’s work and the campaign shows great sensitivity.

But it isn’t just the not-for-profit sector that is looking to campaigns to enhance brand reputation. Commercial concerns as diverse as accountancy firm Deloitte, Adidas and paper manufacturer Arjowiggins also won Benchmarks awards through campaigns this year.

This shift in emphasis, prompted by economic constraints, demands a broader range of skills than many branding consultancies have offered traditionally, maybe taking in advertising, writing and other areas of expertise. While branding groups based outside London already boast this spread, straying across media as the project demands, those in the capital have tended to specialise in strategy and design, collaborating with other specialists as and when required.

We can expect more diversification as a positive outcome of recession – and for design to broaden its range as advertising and other disciplines fall back. And the opportunities will be there, not least through world events such as football’s 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the 2012 London Olympics as brand-owners compete for prominence.

We might also expect more unconventional moves, such as that by broadcast specialist Martin Lambie-Nairn to branding group Heavenly (www.designweek.co.uk, 26 November), as consultancies seek to enrich their teams.

Changes such as these are for the good. All credit to those who are already embracing them.

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