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Peter Saville has insisted Adidas drops its branding for a quirky range of sports clothing he is designing. As more and more mainstream brands, in search of kudos, strive to align themselves with designers, how should design professionals approach the situation?

How many designers have enough brand capital or are visible enough to be approached? Not many. What is it about their name that a brand might want? Jonathan Ive would be the biggest thing in endorsements since David Beckham. But after that? Eva Jiricna and Pilkington Glass? Alan Fletcher and Quink Ink?

Quentin Newark, Creative director, Atelier Works (pictured)

Frankly, whether the brand is dropped or included doesn’t matter to me. It is whether designers are professional enough to work with companies. When designers take control of the development and distribution issues themselves, then they can demand the terms.

Piers Roberts, Founder, Designersblock

Let’s embrace it – make it work for us. Known designers should be paid well to work for big brands. It promotes the importance of design. Celebrity sells, and if talented designers can be part of that, all the better. The designer as pop star – just how we want it.

Nikki Barton, Creative director, Cimex

Good on Peter Saville! There are two insights to be gained from this tale. First, a design team’s (and I include the client’s) ability to move beyond the brief, and not be limited by orthodoxy and constraint. Second, an insight from the edge of branding – what can you do to access new markets when your brand is actually in the way? Of course – drop it with style!

Sean Blair, Director, SBL

Collaborating with large brands can be a great opportunity to push through interesting ideas to a massive audience. For instance, I’m currently working on an experimental range of garments for Reebok and the company has been really open-minded, looking for me to bring in innovative ideas from the outside. The issues of intellectual property need to be discussed, but as long as there is a continual dialogue, I don’t see that as a problem. If I can bring fresh ideas to a company that, at a later date, without my input, filters my work down to the brand’s cheaper lines, then I feel that’s a great result.

Sam Buxton, 3D designer (pictured)

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