Vox Pop

Last week (DW 2 February) design commentators said that, unlike the last recession, the design industry was unlikely to benefit from the downturn in advertising spend this time round. What is your view, based on current experience?

‘We have all reaped the benefit of an increasingly design-aware client base. Better briefs, better work, better fees. But these fees are now almost as attractive a target as an advertising budget when an organisation is looking to cut back. Nevertheless, client relationships that are built on mutual respect for design input as a long-term asset should ensure that the design company involved is unaffected by trend, either fashion or financial.’

David Hillman, partner, Pentagram

‘Companies that believe in brand guardianship regard it as a business imperative. In that light it is unlikely these services will be subject to economic vagaries. A consultancy that can advise on brand guardianship matters will become more and more relevant. The business of tomorrow will need to concern itself as much with the total brand experience as they currently do with the component parts.’

Robert Bean, chairman, Banc

‘It seems unlikely that there is a law of inverse proportion where as advertising spend goes down, design spend goes up. They are both essential ways of boiling a brand down to its essence and making it compelling. A recession, if it comes, will affect different parts of the design industry in wholly different ways. Packaging that can demonstrate value for money or better navigational design on a transactional website are examples of how design can be good for commerce. Equally, imaginative design of annual reports and corporate literature will be needed to maintain shareholder confidence. On the other hand, identity design, particularly of the “refresh not re-invent” kind, may appear indulgent versus maintaining the familiarity of a trusted marque.’

Paul Twivy, partner, Circus

‘The last recession was 1991… Ten years is a long time in our business, no one over the age of 30 knew the word “logo”, the Internet didn’t exist, direct marketing was in its infancy. I think, with these new options, the cautious British client will spread their investment this time. Incidentally, why hasn’t the design industry got its own Bellwether data to forewarn us – like the advertising industry?’

David Stuart, creative director, The Partners

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