Design and advertising face similar challenges

Having chosen design as a career, I would enjoy the opportunity to supply an alternative and naturally prejudiced viewpoint to Jeremy Myerson’s article, Commercial Union (DW 21 March), covering the old chestnut of design versus advertising. This has been a long debate, starting as early as Ken Garland’s 1964 Manifesto, First Things First; since then the discussion has moved on.

Design and advertising will experience great change in the next few years. With the advent of new technology and new media, these once well-defined professions are becoming blurred.

In a design process as well as in an advertising campaign, “look and feel” constitute about 10 per cent of a job. While I care greatly about both, it is worth remembering that clients are now not concerned with just looking good, but being good and communicating efficiently.

Businesses have long accepted a requirement for advertising, but they are also increasingly aware of the need for design to develop their personality. In the age of communication, design is more relevant and valuable to clients than ever. The sheer magnitude of information accessible to the world market makes it essential that a client’s offer has vision and is communicated clearly, thereby providing a strategic advantage. Good design is about the clarification of such a long-term vision.

It’s no wonder that agencies are looking to designers, but investment in “look and feel” is just one part of the personality of a brand. Understanding how to communicate a clear vision is the greater challenge to both design and advertising.

Robin Richmond



London EC1

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