Concepts To Show Design’s Worth A Buck Or Two

When I first thought about how to tackle Elastic Creative’s brief, to demonstrate design’s purpose to a client in a tangible, measurable way, I had no idea how to tackle it. Which isn’t fantastic if I’m looking into an idea-based career. Oh well. Imagination. Who needs it.

But brainstorming since the presentation has, luckily, reeped a fair few ideas, ranging for the logical, clinical and sensible to the quite frankly wacky and odd. The current occupiers of the reject bin include building an info-graphic into a swiss-army knife (to represent design’s versatility and status as a survival tool) all the way to designing a poster and shielding it with glass I’d project onto. I even considered branding the vikings to prove that anything can be branded, in some way. That would have been fun.

Courtesy of Gretchen Haas

Courtesy of Gretchen Haas

Here’s a run-down of the main three ideas I’ll present to tutors upon our next meeting.

1: Unbrand Something

As opposed to showing the strength of a branded item why not take it away to show the stark contrast and recognisability of the subject. One project that comes to mind is a nice package design from Russian designer Sasha Kischenko.

Courtesy of Sash Kischenko

Courtesy of Sash Kischenko

I’ve been featuring a lot of beers these past couple of posts. A hint perhaps?

But this brand, as nicely executed as it is, would seem completely alien when applied to a well-known brand. Take something like Coca-Cola and remove all branding identifiers, maybe save for the name itself. Making the design as neutral as possible would make the product seem alien, and making a wide range of these might fulfill the ‘infographic’ nature of the outcome. This would be more creating an animation, rather than the physical products, though some subtle repackaging couldn’t hurt, to tie the project into a more tangible element.

2: Design Is In The Details

Take a piece of incredible design and dissect it meticulously, down to every typeface. It would show a pride of the art form of design, it would inform and educate, but most of all the subject of explaining these details would focus on the successes of each element of a seemingly innocent brand. It would show that in every considered detail of design we aim to help our client with their goal and with what they want to achieve and how the want to communicate.

One possible execution for this way having the original product on a poster or screen, animated, and then having an acetate overlay with these facts and details, to represent adding design, and it’s effect. It would make the user actually choose design, to see its effects. Almost like a demo pack, a try before you buy sort of mentality.

People are afriad to invest in design, as Adrian Shaughnessy highlights in Graphic Design: A User’s Manual. He compares it to asking somebody to buy a sofa they aren’t allowed to see until it is delivered. The analogy holds true, so maybe this apprehension is a primary reason why people might not invest in design. This ‘design demo’ idea might be an interesting option.

3: Transforming Can

This idea is a little odder, perhaps. Take a frequently branded item – the example here is a drinks can. Through motion graphics then transform this can into the various brands that utilise this container and transform the way we percieve it. Changing it from Coca-Cola to Irn Bru  to Magners changes our opinion of the object massively, and this project would demonstrate how the face of something not only informs us of the contents but of a personality blown up to be so much larger than just a beverage.

This could then be taken from being a motion piece and possibly even projection-mapped onto a blank can, to bring the piece into the real world and make it feel more tangible as well as eye-catching. Over the course of the animation the can would seem as if it was filling with liquid, to act as an axis for growth of the company.


These are all still very under developed ideas, but they’re the best my addled brain can handle just about now. I’m going to step back from the whole ordeal for a couple of days at least and probably talk with the tutors about it the start of next week. In the meantime I’d best get some research done. Somebody bring me some damn Helvetica beer.

I have one other idea, of creating a ‘make your own brand’ sort of game for potential clients to play. It would abuse quite simple, modular elements to logos, through a physical game to get potential clients feeling the playful attitude of creating a brand, plus have them invested and see reassure that their work is still under control. This idea would have made the list, but it’s a little under-developed still. But until next week…

Listening to: Cirrus by Bonobo (check dat video)


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