A designer is different to being a brand consultant

For a publication whose principle focus is design, it seems strange that so many pages of Design Week have recently been devoted to the subject of branding.

If all these articles and letters had made the subject a little clearer to the average designer, then great, but I rather doubt they have.

But thankfully there has been an exception and a specific sentence in Martin Lambie-Nairn’s quote in your piece Switching on to Branding that’s well worth taking on board: branding is not about design, it’s about strategy (News Analysis, DW 27 June).

Of course, design has a very important place in branding, but surely this is principally about creating a graphic identity.

The suggestion that a graphic designer might refer to themselves as a brand consultant, is, typically, absurd: I’ve met very few designers who were also good strategists, but, equally, I’ve met very few strategists who were also good designers.

But then they could always get together – the strategist and the designer) – and meet up with their client. They could agree a brand proposition (basically their offer and what makes them different to everyone else), agree a brand platform vision (what they want to be), mission (how they’re going to do it) and values (how they’re going to behave).

Then they could talk about their brand tone of voice (the language they’re going to use to speak to the world with) and their brand personality (often no more than a very useful analogy to help explain to the 10 000 employees what the hell their brand is all about).

They might also talk about whether or not to reposition the brand (handy to do so if the business was fast going down the pan).

Having got that all straight, the designer now has a clear and objective basis on which to create a fantastic graphic identity.

And the designer now has the terminology above that helped us get to the point of clarity. Was it really so difficult to understand or just full of flannel? I don’t think so, and doubt that the average client would either (providing you explain it to them in plain English, of course).

Speaking of confusing buzzwords, jargon and terminology, could someone please tell me what ‘I can only do it if I carry out a conditional mode change in Photoshop’ means (rhetorical)?

Roger Hughes

Hughes Consultancy


Newport Pagnell

Buckinghamshire MK16 8AD

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