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Market research consultancy Link Consumer Strategies says design groups often claim research ‘damages their creative processes and leads to over-cautious, sterile “me-too” work, when in fact it can produce clear, definitive briefs’. What is your view on t

‘My opinion is simply this: nothing beats great gut instinct. What’s that saying? Too many cooks …’

Ryan Wills, Creative director, Taxi Studio

‘Listening to and understanding the people who are going to buy the products we design is one of the most important things we do. Doing this before we design something, rather than after, is the secret. Research is best used to focus the brief – not to assess the work. But we can all understand our clients’ concerns – much is at stake. In our experience work that falls outside consumers’ pre-determined norms (ie, breakthrough) is invariably rejected, thereby denying clients what they really deserve.’

Shaun Dew, Joint managing and creative director, Dew Gibbons

‘Design and research can be an awkward mix – sometimes percentages matter more than the creative process. Most designers would say that while figures aren’t rules, they contribute to understanding markets. Clients need to understand designers are adept at balancing many different methods and sources of insight, and if they want market research, they’ll ask for it.’

Jeremy Walker, Research manager, Design Council

‘Research helps provide feedback on design direction at a middle or late design stage. Sharing design too early, and sometimes with a lack of background details can lead to negative/safe comments based on misunderstanding what is being viewed, and it is crucial the designers are allowed the space within their creative environment to explore all possible avenues.’

Ben Rathbone, Design director games, puzzles and creative play, Hasbro

‘Once in a blue moon there is great design research, however, there are very few people who actually know how to research design. Unfortunately, most design research is next to useless, as the majority of researchers understand little of how design becomes reality. I think I have found two to three insight specialists who actually bring something to the party – I tend not to share their details.’

Paul Foulkes-Arellano, Managing director, Wren & Rowe

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