The role of designers is strategic and valued

I despair when I read facile comments such as those made by Mark Fanthorpe (DW 4 October) when referring to where the remit of designers should end. Fanthorpe claims “clients feel designers should only be appointed to create concepts”. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The reality is that innovative creativity is central to design being valued by clients. However, if the resultant concepts are not crafted and fully developed by designers throughout the subsequent application and production phases, then their capacity to create a real competitive edge will not be fully optimised.

Why? Because creativity does not stop with the creation of the initial concept. It is, and should be, an ongoing process which protects the integrity of designs right through to packs hitting the shelves.

When Pepsi recently decided it must go blue and Landor subsequently created the new design, did Pepsi say “thanks guys, we’ll take over now”? Of course it didn’t; to have done so would have been laughable and to think otherwise shows a lack of understanding as to what clients expect from designers.

In short, they require us to be partners in the strategic development of their brands as they view design as a primary communication medium which is fundamental to all their marketing activity.

As a result, consultancies such as Landor, Design Bridge, Jones Knowles Ritchie and ourselves, whose remit extends to working on both leading domestic and international brands, are expected to provide all the resources (equity research, planning, creativity, production, post-design brand management systems) necessary to maintain their competitiveness in the market place. Far from clients reducing our contribution, the complete opposite is true.

So Mr Fanthorpe, don’t talk down or limit the contribution of design. Instead take some time to understand its important role within the marketing process and then work with the rest of us in the design community to build its profile in a positive way.

Peter Morrow

Holmes & Marchant

International

Marlow

Bucks SL7 1BN

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