Please don’t give space to such dismal work


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

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  • Mark Fanthorpe November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I can agree with the frustration voiced in Mike Dempsey’s email regarding the Hovis and Sun-Pat packaging recently featured. It is truly uninspiring!

    Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world. The perfect world would be occupied by clients who asked for great creativity, designers who produced stunning design and consumers who appreciated good work. Reality is different. In my own industry I am constantly surrounded by competitors who, being so desperate, will stop at nothing to win work. Free pitches seem to be prevalent, undercutting rates is constant and delivering whatever the client seems to want regardless of quality is commonplace. To refuse to work for a client simply on the grounds that they are asking you to produce poor work takes a very brave and financially independent person.

    And as for the role of Design Week – surely its role is to represent and comment on the industry rather than claim to be a beacon of all that’s best – perhaps I’m wrong!

    So – whilst I agree with your sentiments I rather suspect that the idea world that you ask for is not likely to become a reality.

    Besides there is also an old saying – ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’.

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