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With Richard Seymour becoming external design director at Elida Fabergé, and Hutchison Whampoa taking on Doug Hamilton as a consultant, we might expect more clients to take this sophisticated approach to design management.

With Richard Seymour becoming external design director at Elida Fabergé, and Hutchison Whampoa taking on Doug Hamilton as a consultant, we might expect more clients to take this sophisticated approach to design management. What are the pros and cons of this type of arrangement?

‘There aren’t any cons. It’s a great idea. It’s been happening to us for a while. We’re brought in – or I am – to start things off and then the project is handed over to other people. Smart clients are creating virtual teams [bringing in individuals for specific roles rather than hiring a consultancy], but it is hard for a designer to cost.’

Michael Johnson, Creative Director, Johnson Banks

‘Anything that improves the quality of design management in Britain has to be a positive step. The people who perform these roles, though, need to have considerable experience in both design and management if they are to be effective. The best designers don’t necessarily make the best managers, and vice versa.’

Chris Holt, creative consultant, Springpoint

‘The best of good fortune to Richard Seymour and Doug Hamilton. Their new roles as leaders of design management on the client side brings them new challenges – strict budget control, inflexible time scales and ingrained corporate cultures. It will be fun, but also potentially frustrating unless they really lead their corporate peers from the front.’

Brian Phipps, independent project manager

‘The pros are when it works really well as, historically, with John McConnell at Boots the Chemists, who has the ear of the board and influence. The flipside the others might find is they could become frustrated by a client organisation that is big, complex and slow to change. The day-to-day involvement might become drudgery.’

Patrick Smith, managing director, Enterprise IG

‘Many clients have for years now, successfully moved over to “agency side”, adding complementary and essential skills to an agencies offer. A creative going “client side” is a natural step, with the same principle of adding crucial skills to their new environment. As a creative, I feel the “cons” are down to individuals, not the concepts. Knowing when to direct and not design is the key to the success of this unique relationship.’

Alex Shoolheifer, Creative Director, Shoolheifer Seal Design Consultants

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