Loewy Group is shifting its focus from practical design work to strategic ‘thinking’, which has resulted in nine redundancies, it has emerged.
Three senior designers, a junior designer, an account manager, a member of accounts, two receptionists and a marketing and PR manager were made redundant two weeks ago. No further job losses are planned, says managing director Matthew Bright.
Sources describe the shift in emphasis as sacrificing creativity to strategy, an accusation Bright denies.
Bright also denies that creative director Chris Vane is considering his position. Vane declines to comment about either his position or Loewy’s change in strategy.
‘We are looking to enhance our creative solutions for clients rather than give them formulaic work,’ Bright says. However, he also says, ‘We are focusing on the thinking rather than the doing.’
Loewy Group is launching an industrial product design division, called Studio Loewy, to create Loewy-branded consumer products for manufacture. It is scheduled to launch in October.
Studio Loewy will be headed by creative director John Scott-Whittle, who joined the consultancy in November 2001 from Debenhams, where he was head of concept and brand development.
Whittle is looking to recruit product designers for the studio and work closely with established designers as well as colleges, Bright says.
The division will be working with manufacturers on resurrecting past designs and new products in furniture, household and consumer items. Deals with manufacturers are ‘under negotiation’, Bright claims. He refuses to reveal any further details.
The consultancy has shelved last year’s expansion plans, Bright says. Following Loewy’s acquisition of Journey Branding Experience in May 2001, it had hoped to grow from 40 to ’60 or 70′ staff within a year (DW 24 May 2001).
The group now employs 35 staff, according to Bright.