Advertising and design should play by same rules

Letters to the Editor should be sent to Design Week, 50 Poland Street, London W1V 4AX. Fax: 0171-970 4165. e-mail

I read with interest your articles on the fragile relationships between the advertising and design industries (DW 5 June). Having spent seven years as a “typo” at Saatchis before starting my own design business in 1989, I can confirm with some authority that the two cultures are surprisingly at odds.

Why does the similarity end abruptly at the word “creative”?

Is it the disparity between salaries? Between structures? Creative methods? Or is it the difference between how the two mediums are both approached and received?

Why is it that you can spot a logo that is designed by an ad agency as clearly as an ad created by a design consultancy?

The rules are clearly different – the styling of an ad campaign need not be entirely governed by the corporate style guide nor should an entire brochure be based on a witty double entendre. The only real criteria is that the “spirit” of the brand style along with the core messages must be respected and maintained.

In order to do this both parties must trust, even respect, the other’s specific talents in a creative and strategic collaboration, rather than just a financial one. Then the benefits to both, and more so the client, would surely be considerable and, of course, there will be fewer rattles being hurled out of prams!

As businesses become increasingly more respectful of the value of design as part of their marketing mix and having pinned my colours firmly to the design mast, let us just hope that the client’s budgets, and consequently salary levels, even out, bringing the two creative cultures a little closer.

Roger Felton

Roger Felton Associates

London EC1

Latest articles