A fear of words, but you’re already getting the picture

Why does the design industry find words, and marketing words in particular, so frightening? Colum Lowe in his Private View (DW 6 February) found it necessary to argue for the adoption of the word ‘brand’.

Why does the design industry find words, and marketing words in particular, so frightening?

Colum Lowe in his Private View (DW 6 February) found it necessary to argue for the adoption of the word ‘brand’.

Now we have a debate around the word ‘strategy’, a word that we have pumped so full of hot air that it has become forced out of shape, a chimera for some, a burden for many (DW 13 February).

No other part of marketing communications forces itself through such hoops for such little gain. And design has only itself to blame. When the need to be seen as ‘strategic’ first surfaced some years ago, designers, frightened of its grown-up implications, stood back and put in foreigners, a front line of ‘suits’ to deal with this alien concept. I know, I am one.

Since that time, strategy has continued to be seen by many as a bolt-on rather than an integrated and essential part of design thinking. Even in the best of consultancies the link between analysis and execution still involves some major grinding of the gears.

Strategic thinking, whether we are creators or interpreters, is a creative undertaking that simply involves understanding the context in which we are working. And isn’t that what separates design from fine art in the first place?

Philip Lawder

Principal

Strategy for Innovation and Design

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