Vox Pop

This week’s Packaging Solutions Advice Group debate will focus on whether or not design consultancies should offer strategic advice to their clients. What do you think, and why?

‘Strategic – God, how I hate the word. But it’s a complete nonsense to suggest that the solution can in some way be divorced from, and dealt with separately to, its supporting strategy. Any more than the strategy can be conceived and gelled without some vision or reference to its tactical solutions.’

Dick Powell, Director, Seymour Powell

‘The question supposes that all design applications are strategic – clearly this is not the case. Some are, some are not. The art of a great designer, or design consultancy, relies on them knowing when a strategic approach is needed or when a purely tactical solution is more appropriate. There is nothing worse than design consultancies always playing at being management consultants.’

Giles Marking, Managing director, Marking Design

‘Here’s one reason why clients need strategic design advice. There is an irrefutable link between company reputation and the experience customers have of that company. Design is a resource that shapes customer experience and so directly impacts on company reputation and therefore its profitability. Design strategy helps ensure you don’t blow this potential benefit.’

Raymond Turner, Director, Raymond Turner Associates

‘The very fact the question exists is a worry. Design must embrace the idea that strategy is “the creative work before the creative work”. It’s time design and designers (even packaging designers) realised that strategy is not an optional element of any design business. A great example of strategic “visual thinking” in packaging is Hovis. As its creator Williams Murray Hamm says, now it’s all about “creating difference” and a great idea/strategy/insight slingshots you past the crowd faster than a greased ferret.’

Simon Manchipp, Design director, No One

‘Surely design is inherently strategic – it’s about problem-solving. Yes, we should continue to help our clients find creative ways of gaining competitive advantage. No, this should not be via highly priced, detached “strategic” offers (that typically make little impact on the end product). It just gives design a bad name.’

Richard Murray, Partner, Williams Murray Hamm

Surely design is inherently strategic – it’s about problem-solving. Yes we should continue to help our clients find creative ways of gaining competitive advantage. No this should not be via highly-priced, detached ‘strategic’ offers (that typically make little impact on the end product) it gives design a bad name. I certainly wouldn’t pay £ 20K for a tome of woolly words and a mood board!

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