Wal-Mart takeover signals challenge for design industry

Your headline last week should really have read: Asda takeover will hit design (News, DW 18 June). The big question for the design industry is going to be how convincing it can be when confronted with the “pile it high and sell it cheap” modus operanda of the likes of Wal-Mart.

After the euphoria of the recent announcements of Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s that design is going to be used as a major part of their new business strategy, it is ironic that within a week the world’s largest retailer is moving in on the UK retail scene with little evidence of having any design strategy. Wal-Mart will be a major challenge to both of those players, as well as the likes of Boots, Woolworths and Tescos (all major design buyers).

With a price-led proposition that will be impossible for British shoppers to ignore, the challenge to everyone in the design industry, from packaging through brand identity and retail design, is how do you convince retailers that creative, rather than predictable, design can influence profitability in a positive way?

If we do not rise to this challenge a substantial part of the design industry is in danger of disappearing up its own back passage.

Callum Lumsden

Lumsden Design Partnership

London EC1V

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