What’s The Point In Design?

Yesterday myself and the class recieved our latest brief, delivered by Edinburgh studio Elastic Creative (who you must be sick of me going on about by now). They delivered one of the trickiest and slipperiest briefs I’ve dealt with during my education, and in my mind it tackles a long-standing issue in the world of professional design: how we sell ourselves.

Branding agencies are notoiously bad at branding themselves. The whole design industry is, as so many studio identities are self-indulgent and arty for the sake of it. It’s all rather archaic considering we’re the specialists. The primary issue here is we focus the branding on ourselves – not our consumers. And after all, it’s them buying into it, and their money funding it, so why should it be targeting more squarely at them?

Our brief is to convince potential clients of the value of design, either through moving image or non-digital means. In particular Elastic want us to convince the client they of design’s ROI (Return Of Investment). This tangible and fact-based focus is something absolutely pertinent to the target audience, as their familair language is facts, figures, estimates, predictions and measurable results – not abstract concepts. A blob on a page won’t please a businessman. Or anyone, maybe except for Fine Art. Let’s just not go there.

I’ve been wracking my brain on concepts for the past 2 full days and have come up with a pretty interesting mixture of ideas. One idea was sparked, in part, by this fantastic project on Behance that my girlfriend brought to my attention (damn her and her knowledge).

Courtesy of  Ewan Yap

Courtesy of Ewan Yap

The project, by Malaysian designer Ewan Yap proposes that:

How much your brand is worth depends on how much of it you can leave out.

It’s an interesting and totally valid point, and to prove this he took drinks companies and blew their marks and logos to massive scales on packaging to see how far they could go before becoming unrecognisable abominations. Pretty far it would seem.

Courtesy of Ewan Yap

Courtesy of Ewan Yap

This is a great example of how branding helps us identify with companies, though they tend to only tackle the largest branding superpowers in the corporate world. However, exhaggerating to prove a point works in this case, not just in making crazy big logos, but also in the sample of brands Ewan has chosen for this project.

Overall is this still tangible enough for a client to appreciate? It’s a very visual showcase of a brand’s power, but cold hard facts are sorely absent, if I were to submit a project such as this. The question I now have to answer is this:

How can I demonstrate design’s worth and purpose to business owners, through infographics.” 

It sounds simple. Well, actually it doesn’t. It sounds painful.

Listening to: Do I Wanna Know by Arctic Monkeys

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