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The practice of design has changed radically over recent years. How would you define what it is that you do now?

It has to start with the question, ’What is design’ now? Once, it used to be about choosing typefaces, colours and images. It was mostly about art direction.That’s so exciting is our clients don’t come to us for a logo, brochure or website any more. They come to us because they recognise that creativity can help them attract potential talent or enhance their corporate reputation. What do we do now? We use design to solve business issues and we are taken seriously.
David Stocks, Client partner and executive creative director, SAS

The common notion of design is counter-productive for us because it always seems to draw attention to the surface. Good design in technology is as much about what you see as what you don’t and, as we all know, invisible stuff is harder to form, quantify and sell than the manifest (the pretty pictures). When it’s working at its optimal our approach isn’t prejudiced, but holistic and inclusive and often dips far out of anything we’d traditionally associate with ’design’.
Nicolas Roope, Creative director, Poke London

You can chart the evolution of the corporate design business from print-based graphic design through to corporate identity and then branding. We are now entering a new era: transformation. Today, we are advising companies not just on how to reposition their business and simplify their brand architecture, we are also advising on their actual organisational design. The rise of disciplines such as service design, which use design thinking principles to help organisations re-engineer their business, are evidence of this positive development.
Sholto Lindsay-Smith, Managing director, Uffindell

Design shouldn’t be a dirty word. And it shouldn’t be butchered into silos either – graphics, branding, digital, product, packaging – it’s boring and wrong to interpret so narrowly. We’re very proud of the breadth of skills and depth of creative talent in our business. But we’ve never been ’just’ a design consultancy. We didn’t describe ourselves like that 35 years ago, and we certainly don’t now. We help our clients grow, direct and protect their brands. The practice of design – married with insight, strategic thinking and measurement – is the glue that binds that work together.
Toby Southgate, Managing director, The Brand Union

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