Poor status of pack design is down to consultancies

Richard Murray’s article on the status of packaging design astonished me (Private View, DW 18 June). Where did he get the notion that packaging design is the poor cousin of branding? I’ll admit that packaging design if poorly managed, can be a “bit of an animal” – but certainly no “hot dog”.

Low self-esteem in a service-oriented, people-centred business like a design consultancy can lead to a self-prophecy – we make our own beds, I completely agree.

Yet others can make our beds for us. Let’s face it – full service and integrated consultancies, like those featured in the Big Picture – Retail (DW 18 June) have to sell branding out of necessity – it’s the key to their selling methodology.

Wittingly or otherwise, they are changing the scope of the term “branding” to encompass a larger variety of services – my view is that any size of consultancy can offer branding, but it’s what our clients think that is most important.

In the end, it comes down to how a consultancy positions itself – how it packages itself even. Does a consultancy want to be perceived to be a generalist or a specialist or tread the precarious path of doing both?

So I think what we are really seeing here is an age-old tussle between niche players and larger groups where the larger groups attempt to create a two-tier structure within the market using the one-stop-shop ticket of branding.

As for service development within packaging design, Murray is right – there are many ways to innovate, but only if there is the confidence and enthusiasm internally to move the business forward.

To take one example. Coleman Design is exploring with a technology partner the “oodles” of opportunities for integrating multimedia technologies with our packaging design know-how. This is not diversification rather a strengthening and concentration of what we are best at, packaging design.

Service innovation is key and if we aren’t adapting and evolving, and at the same time educating our clients to the opportunities that are there, how can we expect our clients to rate our services?

Barny Morris

Business development manager

Coleman Design Consultants

Manchester M3 7WQ

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