Saturday, March 15, 2014

How to make Design Penetrable – Go deep for the depth.

How to make Design Penetrable – Go deep for the depth.

Recently I heard someone saying “Depth can be enjoyed best when you go deep where nobody else has gone
before. Also depth should be measured by how near you are to the bed of sand and not by how far you are from the water line”. 

Since then this thought has started gaining more and more penetration in my mind over a time. I believe it is
wisely said for one aspect of brand business according to me. And that is client and brand design agency

I have read and heard many brand design briefs in my career. A client basically captures in the brief Ψ what they
want for their brand Ψ based on some deep pocket research Ψ and how they wish to see the change disrupt the
market with their strategy. They want the agency to come up with a creative idea & execute it to demonstrate the
objectives being met. Very instantly and diligently the agency undergoes a creative process and generates an out
of  the boat idea and decorates it glamorously. But seldom does the agency realize that delivering upon the brief is
not the challenge in the game.

Delivering design solutions for smiling faces in the board room, appeasing someone’s weakness by making an
element inclusive in the design frame, or going by the T and being good in the process are not the ways
responsibility should be handled by brand design firms. Good looking design is not difficult today. The more critical
aspect of the challenge is Design working for the favorable intent – market share, category leadership, trade pull
and customer delight (with good looks). You can’t achieve true and meaningful growth just by looking good. You
have to be good before good looks. And good gets spoilt or misdirected by unwarranted inputs & choices. For
instance there are many clients who almost dictate what they want in their brand design leaving no room for
Trends, Innovation & Creativity; there are some who show preferences of certain elements and make it almost
mandatory to be used in the design despite it having no reason at all for being there; some even specify
what they want indicating like whom (benchmark) they want to be and why; and some have no idea what to become
in spite of a well written brief.

Design is a bigger responsibility for those who create than those who live with it. Brand Design should be
approached without any sprints. Design is also not like fishing, Design is an ecosystem. In its ecosystem there are
many varieties of water species and water bodies.

Clients must ask their brand design agency what they didn’t consider before making the recommendations. They
must ask what have they found that would make the difference beyond the brief (knowledge they have). The agency
should upfront highlight what they feel is risky yet profitable rather than story telling about how it happened.   
The brand design service industry in India is growing really fast & many new firms are forming up every year.
Everybody is doing their good looks. But clients must depend and give responsibility to those who go deeper than
the brief and closer to the depths. Clients must trust those agencies who can not only deliver good looking design
but also provide reasons, insights & beliefs.