Following last week’s news that Brian Smith was leaving the consultancy he had worked for over 20 years to go clientside, what would it take to convince you to take an in-house role?

‘First of all, the lucky client would have to recognise that I am there so they do not need a roster, rather than expect me to formulate one. Second, would I be allowed to put design with a capital “D” back on the agenda? Would I be allowed to inject enthusiasm and life back into a profession that is being suffocated by endless quantifying? And could design solutions be allowed to speak for themselves, rather than be explained to their audience? Sadly, the answer must be not today, I would become too frustrated. But watch out, the tide could turn.’

Alex Maranzano, managing director, Minale Tattersfield &Partners

Putting aside the question of whether any client company would offer me a job, I’m reminded of that old quote that goes: “I’ve been rich, I’ve been poor, and gee, I know which is better”. I have worked in design consultancies [and] I have, indeed, worked on the client side. And with due respect to Brian Smith, and all the warm, generous, empathetic clients that I have worked with over the years, as well as all the potential clients who may be reading this well, I think you may be getting the picture.’

David Stuart, creative director, the Partners

‘I would not give up all my clients just for one, nor would I give up my team. Non-executive consultancy at board level, on the other hand, makes a lot of sense.’

Mary Lewis, creative director, Lewis Moberly

‘Having been on both sides of the fence, I can quite honestly say there is not that much between them. Working long hours, people who don’t really understand design, creative targets, wasted opportunities, forecasts, budgets, trying to justify your existence these things happen on both sides of the divide. The only difference is you are an internal or external resource. But from the design industry’s point-of-view, as a client you are important, even if you are a crap design manager with as much vision as an ashtray.’

Paul King, chairman, M&K Design

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