There are times when the pages of Design Week can really infuriate me. Recently, DW ran the feature ’Brands new’ as a centre-spread (DW 3 March). It praised the repackaging of famous brands Hovis (packaging by Jones Knowles Ritchie pictured above), Campbell’s, Heinz, Sun-Pat (design by Tynan D’Arcy, pictured top right), Batchelors and the like. It was without doubt the most depressing array of work that I have ever seen assembled on the pages of DW. Mind-numbingly dismal and clichéd drivel.
If I were a design student looking at this stuffI would really have to think twice about joining an industry that appears to endorse such graphic mediocrity. And the hype spouted by the, I assume, ’brand managers’, ’global brand managers’ or whatever pumped-up title they go by these days, that peppered the piece: ’better brands are future-facing’, ’ big grocery brands have to be remarkable’, ’restating their core values’, ’they have to be relevant and unique’, ’communicating premium food values’ – laughable tripe. Who are these people kidding? They just believe their own corporate gobbledygook and couldn’t design themselves out of a paper bag.
While I realise that DW’s remit is to reflect the design industry warts and all, to give such prominence to this kind of depressing work sends out the wrong signals. We, and more importantly, future designers deserve to see work that inspires and raises the bar.
Come on DW, be more selective. We will respect you far more for it.
Mike Dempsey, Founder, Studio Dempsey, by e-mail