Dyson clears the way for a roster of specialist groups

Chips giant McCain found much support in design for its decision to scrap its roster and opt for just one consultancy, Elmwood (Vox Pop, DW 2 September). But now rosters are on the agenda again, with design stalwart Dyson Appliances taking this route.

While Dyson has prided itself on in-house design for most of its communications, it is now looking externally as it reviews its brand strategy. The actual products remain sacrosanct, however, with vacuum cleaner supremo James Dyson keep a firm hand on their creation.

So what’s new then? It looks like another case of a UK manufacturer seeing the light and selecting approved consultancies to help it communicate more effectively, you might say.

But Dyson Appliances is different. A trailblazer in product innovation, its entrepreneurial founder has done much to protect his intellectual property rights, setting precedents from which other designers can benefit. He has also backed breast cancer charities, rather than spend money on overt marketing, as an act of empathy with women, who constitute his main market.

Of course, the decision now to institute a four-strong roster will have sound business foundations, as have all of Dyson Appliances’s activities to date. Altruism can play only a part in any successful company.

But given its creative track record, Dyson is likely to set new standards through its roster. Each of the rostered groups has a ‘name’ for great work, for example.

But it seems a level of creative excellence is taken as read by the company and that the selection process has been particularly finely tuned. Sea Design has, for example, been picked for its strength in using photography, and Hat Trick Design for the intelligence of its work.

This degree of caring is admirable and we wish Dyson Appliances every success. Would that there were more design champions whose pickiness is likely to mean that all its rostered groups get regular work.

Lynda Relph-Knight, Editor

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