The Value of Design

Posted by on Feb 15, 2014 in design | No Comments
The Value of Design


Wow – Squarespace seem’s to have hit a nerve with some in the creative community recently. Tom Actman’s article – Why designers shouldn’t worry about Squarespace Logo  tries to reassure the creative community that all is not lost. As Actman points out, Squarespace’s web developer tool hasn’t exactly killed off digital agencies (yet). I can see the worry and insecurity that some people have expressed with regards to their ‘Logos Made Simple’ tool, but there’s more to a company’s identity than just a logo. However, most people outside of the comms world aren’t fully aware of this. Who’s to blame for this lack of knowledge? And, fair play to someone finding a […]

A New Direction in Marketing?

Posted by on Jan 31, 2014 in marketing | No Comments


Article: What If Your Autonomous Car Keeps Routing You Past Krispy Kreme? On a future road trip, your robot car decides to take a new route, driving you past a Krispy Kreme Doughnut shop. A pop-up window opens on your car’s display and asks if you’d like to stop at the store. “Don’t mind if I do,” you think to yourself. You press “yes” on the touchscreen, and the autonomous car pulls up to the shop. Although, I’m not entirely convinced by the idea that autonomous cars will be flooding our roads very soon (current ones look a little naff ). I can’t help but be a little spooked by the […]

Detroit as a Brand

Posted by on Jan 20, 2014 in branding, marketing | No Comments
Detroit as a Brand


Aidan Lewis’ article, Detroit: The branding of a bankrupt city picks up on how companies are using the name of the city to sell their products. “It stands for a brand of determination and a general refusal to quit.” Tim Calkins, from the Kellogg School of Management quoted in the article, stated that: “If you associate yourself with Detroit, you’re associating yourself with a struggle, with managing through difficult times…[Your brand] becomes a brand you want to root for, and a brand you hope will be successful” Well known US brands such as Chrysler, Shynola and Carhartt are using this as their USP. Chrysler’s 2011 Super Bowl advertisement ended with the slogan […]

Is Design a Costly Luxury?

Posted by on Jan 15, 2014 in design | No Comments
Is Design a Costly Luxury?


I was interested in Nesta’s observations that designers are poor learners in their Design in Public and Social Innovation . I’d widen that statement to include clients due to the lack of understanding from both sides of the process. There is some level of hubris floating around with some designers and with some clients – this can lead to rather defensive and restricted design thinking. As a designer, I’ve all too often experienced how clients have treated the design process as an ‘add on’ service to their own ideas, that they’re very proud of. The thing is, the creativity is often clunkily fitted  in  around the  ring fenced ideas of the client and therefore […]

Five Reasons Why Inhouse Designers Well Positioned to Effect Change

Posted by on Jan 10, 2014 in creative strategy, design | No Comments


Original Article is from AIGA: http://www.aiga.org/five-reasons-why-in-house-designers-can-effect-change/ Here’s a list of what Kimberley Parker sees as unique points for encouraging more In-house design studios: 1. In-house designers have direct access to decision makers. As an in-house designer, you may find yourself working directly with higher-ups or even the owner of the company. This is a great opportunity to get to know them, ask questions and, in a respectful way, make suggestions. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind, especially when asked. Present your point of view from a positive place—a place of opportunity—being careful not to complain. Decision-makers are often interested to know what their employees really think, and if you cultivate […]

What can design do for science, and science do for design?


‘Scientists cannot be held responsible for all of the problems in science communication. Communication is a complex, two-way process. People may hear and understand a message yet not be able to act on it’. Here is a link to the article published in Cheltenham Festival’s Litmus. back in June 2013. In it there’s a discussion in how to improve better and more accessible communication for science and technology. They see that design and communication is an ‘integral’ part of the research process – not just the bit at the end that’s the ‘impact’. ‘In our definition, design is concerned with ideas and problem solving on technical, functional, aesthetic, economic and socio-political levels’.  […]

The Death of the Logo

Posted by on Nov 3, 2013 in branding, creative strategy, design, marketing | No Comments
The Death of the Logo


  ‘Logos are a hangover from another time. They need to be shaken off, moved away from, de-focused.’ Simon Manchipp, Director at Someone. Have logos become ‘pricey doodles’? Simon Manchipp seems to think so in his article: Logos are Dead . You don’t have to go far to on Google Image search to find a plethora of generic one size fits all logos available to buy. Where the uniqueness out there? Michael Johnson (Johnsonbanks) Doesn’t seem to think that the logo is dead. However, he does think that there is too much of a sheep mentality when it comes to branding –  there’s plenty of ‘samey’ looking tourism and university logos […]

Goodbye Information Age, Hello Conceptual Age

Posted by on Nov 2, 2013 in creative strategy, design | No Comments


Quite an interesting article in Wired: Revenge of the Right Brain by Daniel K Pink. “In a world upended by outsourcing, deluged with data, and choked with choices, the abilities that matter most are now closer in spirit to the specialties of the right hemisphere – artistry, empathy, seeing the big picture, and pursuing the transcendent.” Okay, so this article was written back in 2005. However, there’s a rather interesting discussion here as Pink Points out : We’ve created and lived through the ‘Information Age’ which utilised the logic of our left brain and that we are now living in a ‘Conceptual Age’, governed by artistry, empathy, and emotion. This chap argues, that […]

Managing Relationships: Designer and Client

Posted by on Oct 3, 2013 in creative strategy, design | No Comments
Managing Relationships: Designer and Client


Whilst working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills I presented to the Internal Comms. I had helped set up an in-house design team and had come across some relationship hurdles that needed to be addressed. Having previously been a civil servant, I could understand (but not necessarily agree with) the ‘text heavy’ and risk aversive culture. However, I could not understand the lack of design and creative thinking. Particularly for a Department that champions the Creative Industries. I had found that creativity was seen as last minute add on, rather than something imbedded. This caused numerous issues with important messages being lost and costs becoming bloated due to […]

Regional Development Agencies

Posted by on Sep 10, 2013 in creative economy, design | No Comments
Regional Development Agencies


I can’t help but look back longingly at the really interesting projects that came out through the Regional Development Agencies in the UK. Dott 07 and Dott Cornwall perfectly illustrated  how grassroots design leads to new and better services through collaboration and innovation. Rather than me harp and eulogise on them, details can be found here: http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/our-work/challenges/Communities/Dott-07/Dott-07-case-studies/ Since the RDA’s abolition, there’s been difficulty in seeking a successful and positive integrated strategy: “Creative content, skills and innovation are all much discussed… but not together. The problem is more than an organisational one. Rather, there has been an imaginative failure as to how the building blocks of our creative economy should come together.” […]