Vox pop

The Navy and the Army are using creative groups to improve the ‘commonality’ of their brand imagery and ensure they are ‘better understood’ by their own personnel and the general public. Given the political sensitivities, what role can, or should, design

‘Should the Army and Navy be engaged in devious attempts to “spin” messages, delude recruits and influence perception without improving reality? No. Should the Army and Navy speak the language of their personnel, be more transparent, inclusive, inspiring and approachable? Of course. Define the role of design and branding as it should be defined and the answer is obvious.’

Jasmine Montgomery, Strategy and account director, FutureBrand

‘Design and branding can have a huge impact on public perception, even for institutions not traditionally associated with “image” in the conventional branding sense. But there is a catch – branding campaigns can easily backfire in the longer run if the message they are projecting does not align fully with the underlying reality. The identity, ethos and values of an institution like the Armed Forces are deeply rooted and unlikely to be influenced much by the latest recruitment or public image priorities. Only if a new campaign was part of a deeper, ongoing process of cultural change would it be likely to have a lasting effect on perceptions and recruitment.

Tom Bentley, Director, Demos

‘The military occupy a world where good design, strong communication and clear visual signals can mean the difference between life and death. They are clients that should have a proper respect for the effectiveness of design. Corporate identity is capable of engendering a clear sense of purpose and belonging – something I imagine the Armed Forces could do with right now.’

Ian Thompson, Managing director, Thompson Design

‘There is a natural antipathy between the would-be designer and the would-be squaddie. One creates. The other – however morally justified – destroys. The issue is how anyone can get a genuine faith, felt by all of us, in the values of the Armed Forces, when they are frequently undermined by the experience of sharing public transport with them. Not a commission to be taken lightly, I fear.’

Martin Carr, Director, True North

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