Ego-massaging design as bad as marketing clichés

I may be getting the wrong end of the stick, but surely design led by marketing is vital to communicate your message? I know Bill Wallsgrove was referring to language, but his comments that ‘marketing-led design is like letting vegetarians run Smithfield market’ is wrong (Letters, DW 9 September).

Without marketing, design becomes indulgence. Only the other day I saw a roadside advertisement for what I think was a restaurant at Addenbrooke’s hospital. Lovely script and design, but I couldn’t read a word from my vehicle.

Surely it’s simple. Here’s my marketplace. I’m selling product X, and you, my designer friend, communicate these points to my potential customers. I’m fed up of seeing brilliantly ‘designed’ work that says nothing to me because the main messages are hidden in excess.

Over-blown pieces and ego-massaging design are just as bad as marketing language clichés. As David Carson said, don’t confuse legibility with communication. But his brilliant work communicates exactly to the market it was designed for. The companies that use him know his style will communicate to their market.

If another design group sends me their crap that tells me nothing through the post I’ll scream. Yes, your brochure is pretty, but you’re not selling to me. Save the design for design’s sake for the pages of the relevant media. You’re trying to convince me that your design will help sell my product? Get some advice from a marketing person, overblown jingo or not.

I started life as a designer and I have found the perfect design company – it was started by marketing people.

Jonathan McGee

Marketing communications manager

Consultancy name and address supplied

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