Main Content

What we are looking for

APDIG and the DBA want your views:

  • You tell us that you’re struggling to recruit the right talent for your business. What skills shortages do you have or expect to have? And what do you think has caused the shortage?
  • Does geography play a part and can we link skills needs of the industry to skills provision by educational institutions in local areas? Or do we need a radical rethink? How would you go about developing your future workforce?
  • The Government is offering the Creative Industries (CI) a Sector Deal. The design industry sits within this CI industry grouping but there isn’t a predetermined recipe for a Sector Deal as it’s not been done before. Given that the Government’s emphasis throughout the Green Paper is productivity and growth, what ideas do you have for driving growth in a) your business and our sector of industry (if that’s what you want); b) in your clients’ businesses; and c) more generally across the UK?
  • The Industrial Strategy also aims to cultivate world-leading sectors. The Creative Industries is generally thought of as a core strength of the UK so how might we protect our world-standing, how might we showcase it to the world and how do we grow it?
  • The design industry in the UK does a lot of work overseas. What could we be doing to enable you to grow your overseas markets?
  • How would you go about embedding design at the heart of all British businesses to help them grow or to help them export their products or services overseas?
  • We need to be bold in our ask of Government, so no idea is too big or too expensive at this stage. But we also know that the simplest ideas are often the best. So how would you kick-start growth and productivity in the UK that brings benefit to the design industry?

Your views can be as detailed or as brief as you feel appropriate.

We are also particularly interested in:

  • Case studies that highlight where design has had clear benefits to the wider economy.
  • Your views on where the government is seen as being particularly strong or weak in terms of promoting design and innovation.
  • Your opinions on what is unique about the design sector that cannot be replicated in other areas of the economy.

Next steps

The deadline for submissions is 5pm on Friday 24th March 2017

Evidence should be submitted by email to sally.lukins@dba.org.uk or in hard copy to:

Sally Lukins, Strategy Director, Design Business Association, 35-39 Old Street, London, EC1V 9HX 

 

Further information about the Government’s Industrial Strategy

In January, the Government announced a consultation into building a new industrial strategy, where the public sector works with private companies to promote economic development. The initial views of the government outlining the way forward have been published as a so-called Green Paper, which is available here.  

The strategy has highlighted Ten Pillars, summarised below, that show the range that the new set of industrial policies will focus on: 

  1. Investing in science, research and innovation
  2. Delivering affordable energy and clean growth
  3. Driving growth across the whole country
  4. Upgrading infrastructure
  5. Supporting businesses to start and grow
  6. Encouraging trade and inward investment
  7. Creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places
  8. Developing skills
  9. Cultivating world-leading sectors
  10. Improving procurement

The Government has also announced that the Creative Industries will form one of the first five specific “sector deals”. A review, led by Sir Peter Bazalgette, will look into how the UK’s world-leading creative industries can lead the way in developing new technology and intellectual property rights, and it is expected that this submission will feed its way into this area of the economy.

Image credits: © Robwilson39 | Dreamstime.com

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Main Content

damoncroppedWe caught up with The Fund’s founder Damon Bonser to find out more about the benefits of getting involved:  

Why was The British Design Fund set up?

The UK has the second largest design sector in the world and the largest design industry in Europe.  However, there is an astonishing lack of equity funding into early stage product design and hardware businesses.  Most product start-ups are relying upon innovation grants and crowdfunding platforms to get their first products off the ground.  These are either lacking in commercial focus, or don’t bring any expertise and only deliver cash to businesses that badly need experts alongside the money.

Who can benefit?

Businesses that are likely to benefit most from the Fund are companies that have perhaps already graduated from an award or mentoring scheme like the Design Council’s Spark programme.  They will have a proof of concept or a prototype and will be now looking to take the next steps towards market.  In its first run the Fund is likely to lean towards consumer products with a route to market via a retail buyer as well as opportunities in the lower-tech end of the medical and healthcare device sector.

What support are these businesses likely to get from the Fund?

Product expertise and access to networks within retail, product design and manufacturing will be leveraged across the teams to drive growth potential.  Investee Companies will receive specific support on market entry, sales strategy and execution, intellectual property, manufacturing and margin control, branding, cashflow and stock control.

How do you expect these businesses to benefit over the longer-term as a result?

The businesses will benefit in the longer-term by having the necessary support and funding that is needed to ambitiously grow within the UK and successfully launch into overseas markets.  The Fund will keep the businesses focussed on the crucial initial growth phase of their lifecycle and ensure that long term value is being built into the business and is being preserved.

Anything else that would be useful to know? 

The British Design Fund will begin making investments in April but in the meantime we are still open to any further investors that are interested in investing into the Fund. 

Where can interested parties access more information?

For more information, please email Damon Bonser at enquiries@britishdesignfund.co.uk

www.britishdesignfund.co.uk

Rod Petrie

Crazy times call for courageous creative thinkers


Seize the opportunity, understand the context, change the context and create the impossible. Management and clients alike hate uncertainty and unpredictability, a space we all find ourselves in today but creativity in itself is surely an unpredictable process so the creative mindset should have an advantage with the events that now affect us all.

08/02/2017


Read more >>
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Read more >>
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Read more >>
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 and converting the sceptics, argues Raymond Turner.

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Main Content

Design driving growth in global businesses

deluxe_detailAt a time when many businesses are struggling to identify where future growth opportunities will come from, Diageo and Lucozade Ribena Suntory are fantastic examples of global businesses’ valuing design’s intrinsic ability to react to the challenges of changing markets to unearth opportunity and drive positive change and growth in both the short and long-term for their brands.

As a well-recognised brand, overhauling Diageo’s premium Scotch whisky range Buchanan’s was not without risk, but forceMAJEURE’s redesign has been a game changer, increasing brand distinctiveness by 20%, delivering 8% volume gains across all markets globally and justifying an increased priced point. (Gold Award winner)

orangina-range-72dpi
Retail sales value of Lucozade Ribena Suntory’s Orangina increased by 66% in the second half of 2015, following the new pack re-launch, reversing a 20% decline in previous years. BrandMe’s premium repositioning of the iconic brand enabled it to achieve its highest market share in company history. (Gold Award winner)

 

seed-and-bean2_lo-resDesign as the critical enabler for competitive advantage

In any marketplace, only one business or brand can be the cheapest, the others need to differentiate to compete and succeed. Struggling to survive, the Organic Seed and Bean Company turned to design as the means by which to develop differentiation for their business and to drive competitive advantage. Their new brand strategy and identity by Family (and Friends) has seen the business’s income triple. They’ve been able to improve conditions for their ingredient growers’ communities as a result, whilst the introduction of a compostable wrapper has saved 2.3 tonnes of packaging from landfill. (Gold Award winner)

bunel_brand_ethos_2

And Brand Ethos & Reason Design’s student recruitment design strategy has reignited growth for Brunel University London. In 2016, undergraduate applications rose by 9% compared to an 8% fall among competitors and £9.45million in additional student fees has been achieved. (Bronze Award winner)

Watch Deborah Dawton's opening speech from the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards Ceremony on 1 March 2017

Design as the fast growth imperative for start-ups

jkr-hippeas-5For any start-up, whether challenger brand breaking into a market or global enterprise moving into a new space, in this day and age design is not an optional extra – it is the vital business imperative to achieve differentiation and ensure success. Take Green Park Brands – with a bold brand positioning and design by Jones Knowles Ritchie, its organic snack Hippeas had a seriously successful launch with listings in 16,000 UK and US stores achieving unprecedented levels of distribution for a start-up. (Gold Award winner)

1_sopharmacy_exterior_rgb_72dpiAnd new retail pharmacy brand SOpharmacy achieved growth fives times faster than the overall Bulgarian pharmacy market, thanks to a disruptive positioning and design by Creative Leap that shaped everything from its identity, to retail design and service offer. Success has been such that they are now opening one new store a month on average. (Silver Award winner)

Design bringing brands to life experientially

999-ft_com-image3As customers become ever more selective, the quality of customer/user experience is pivotal to success. Design is fundamental to this experience. In just two months, the Financial Times generated over £26,000 in savings with a new email design by 999 Design that achieved vital cut-through and engagement, driving customer retention for FT.com. The visual impact and clarity of information of the ‘Renewals and Step Up email’ has delivered a 200% increase in engagement related clicks and saw a significant reduction in cancellations of digital subscriptions. (Gold Award winner)

mindmate-images4Since its launch in 2015, online mental health service hub MindMate has helped thousands of young people in Leeds navigate challenging times. Through agile, user-centric design NHS Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group and Thompson Brand Partners created a website trusted by young people that makes mental wellbeing services more accessible. 1,495 young people used it in May 2016 alone and it is now seen as a best practice example to create similar services in other locations. (Gold Award winner)

Design realising business opportunity

the_engine_room_graft1Design can identify and deliver powerful commercial opportunities, not simply in line with a business’ initial expectations, but in realising opportunities above and beyond objective, in broad and extensive ways. Polyseam’s annual sales revenue has jumped 744% following the recommendation of a shift in strategy by their agency The Engine Room. The design insight and research carried out at the outset of the project led to the launch of new product brand GRAFT and transformed the business, moving it from manufacturer to brand house, and increasing export sales by £1million. Jobs have been created at the business and a new purpose-built factory is being constructed, which will likely create 50 new jobs by 2020. (Gold Award and Grand Prix winner)

All 42 winners’ case studies can be viewed online at effectivedesign.org.uk.

For more information and images please contact Sally Lukins, email: sally.lukins@dba.org.uk, tel: 020 7251 9229.

The DBA Design Effectiveness Awards judging panel

This year’s judging panel included Mike Brown, Commissioner, Transport for London, Josh Berger, President and MD, Warner Bros, Dr Andy Palmer, Chief Executive, Aston Martin, Graham Bednash, Consumer Marketing Director, Google, Conran Bird, GREAT Campaign Director, HM Government, Mauro Porcini, SVP & Chief Design Officer, PepsiCo, Deborah Meaden, Businesswoman and Entrepreneur, Meadenspeak, amongst other leading figures. See here for full list of judges.

Special Awardsdesign_effectiveness_awards_2017_96

In addition to the Grand Prix which was won by Polyseam and The Engine Room for GRAFT, the other two special awards presented on the night went to Elmwood: the Top of the League Award (recognising the most impressive cumulative performance from an agency over the last three years) and the International Export Award (presented for the most effective piece of work undertaken by an agency for an overseas client).

Entering the 2018 DBA Design Effectiveness Awards

The Call for Entries for the 2018 DBA Design Effectiveness Awards will launch in Spring 2018. Interested parties can register to receive full details on how to enter at www.effectivedesign.org.uk or email awards@dba.org.uk.

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards sponsors

 

We were kindly sponsored by UPM Raflatac, Red Setter, Epic Creative Print and Stratton Craig, and our media partner for the awards, Dezeen.

Table of winners

Trophy

Project

Client

Agency

Industry Sector

Bronze

Intel at MWC 2016

Intel Corporation

2LK

Mobile telecommunications

Gold

FT.com Customer Retention Journey

Financial Times

999 Design

Media

Silver

Sapience HR Rebrand

Sapience HR

Absolute

Support services

Gold

The Way of the Noodle

Kabuto Noodles

B&B studio

Food producers

Bronze

Brunel University London Design Strategy

Brunel University London

Brand Ethos & Reason Design

Public sector

Silver

Selwyn’s Sells Seaweed from the Seashore

Selwyn’s

Brand Union

Food producers

Gold

Orangina: Shaking Up a Classic

Lucozade Ribena Suntory

BrandMe

Beverages

Silver

MOMA

MOMA

BrandOpus

Food producers

Bronze

Twinings Sweet Greens

Twinings

BrandOpus

Food producers

Bronze

Twinings Discovery Collection

Twinings

BrandOpus

Food producers

Bronze

Freedom Finance Repositioning

Freedom Finance

Conch Associates

Financial services

Silver

SOpharmacy

SOpharmacy

Creative Leap

Food & drug retailers

Bronze

The Rise of Mercury Hard Cider

Carlton & United Breweries

Denomination

Beverages

Silver

Flora ProActiv

Unilever

Design Bridge

Food producers

Gold

SKYR

Arla Foods

Elmwood

Food producers

Silver

The Snowdon Trust

The Snowdon Trust

Elmwood

Charity

Gold

Redefining a Mexican Icon

Heineken Tecate

Elmwood

Beverages

Silver

Entertainment Unlimited

HOOQ Digital

Elmwood

Media

International Export Award

Redefining a Mexican Icon

Heineken Tecate

Elmwood

Beverages

Top of the League

   

Elmwood

 

Gold

Saving the Organic Seed and Bean Company

Organic Seed and Bean Company

Family (and friends)

Food producers

Gold

Buchanan’s

Diageo

forceMAJEURE Design

Beverages

Silver

Dune ‘Catwalk Concept’

The Dune Group

Four-by-Two

Personal goods

Silver

See Humans Fly

Glasgow Life

Front Page

Travel & leisure

Gold

Horlicks India Restage

GlaxoSmithKline

GSK Nutrition Design Team & Cowan

Beverages

Gold

Hippeas

Green Park Brands

jones knowles ritchie

Food producers

Bronze

Lloyds Clapham Junction

Lloyds Banking Group

M Worldwide

Financial services

Silver

Comfort Intense Fabric Conditioners

Unilever

PB Creative

Household goods & home construction

Gold

Cawston Press Sparkling Cans

Cawston Press

Pearlfisher

Beverages

Bronze

Dimension Data

Dimension Data

Prospect

Software & computer services

Silver

Booths Bags for Life

Booths

Smith &+ Village

Food & drug retailers

Gold

Booths Own Label

Booths

Smith &+ Village

Food & drug retailers

Silver

Armstead

AkzoNobel

Springetts Brand Design Consultants

Household goods & home construction

Silver

Whitworths Shots

Whitworths

Springetts Brand Design Consultants

Food producers

Bronze

McVitie’s Cakes

McVitie’s Cake Company

Springetts Brand Design Consultants

Food producers

Bronze

Monty Bojangles Taste Adventures

The Monty Bojangles Company

Springetts Brand Design Consultants

Food producers

Silver

Growing The Donkey Sanctuary

The Donkey Sanctuary

The Allotment

Charity

Gold

GRAFT Brand

Polyseam

The Engine Room

Construction & materials

Grand Prix

GRAFT Brand

Polyseam

The Engine Room

Construction & materials

Silver

The Story Shop

World Vision UK

The Yard Creative

Charity

Gold

Harrogate Spring Water

Harrogate Water Brands

Thompson Brand Partners

Beverages

Gold

MindMate

NHS Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group

Thompson Brand Partners

Public sector

Bronze

Wilson Browne Rebrand

Wilson Browne Solicitors

White Clarke Creative

Financial services

Silver

People Charter & Internal Branding

Homeserve

WPA Pinfold

Financial services

Gold

Green’s Gluten Free Beer

Green’s Beers

WPA Pinfold

Beverages

Rod Petrie

Crazy times call for courageous creative thinkers


Seize the opportunity, understand the context, change the context and create the impossible. Management and clients alike hate uncertainty and unpredictability, a space we all find ourselves in today but creativity in itself is surely an unpredictable process so the creative mindset should have an advantage with the events that now affect us all.

08/02/2017


Read more >>
new signpost

Brexit: legal implications for the design industry


Following the Prime Minister's speech the DBA has already considered some of the implications of the likely change in status of the European Court of Justice and OHIM and the likely impacts on the design industry.

24/01/2017


Read more >>
dreamstime_s_13195154

Sharpening the focus on design


Renowned author Raymond Turner examines design’s ability to define and manifest corporate strategy.

23/01/2017


Read more >>
Raymond Turner

Converting the sceptics


Getting design understood and valued at board level is the holy grail – but that means talking in business terms
 and converting the sceptics, argues Raymond Turner.

23/01/2017


Read more >>
Deborah Dawton, CEO, Design Business Association

DBA CEO on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement


DBA CEO Deborah Dawton outlines why the review of the tax credit environment for R&D outlined in the Autumn Statement is important to the design industry.

07/12/2016


Read more >>
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07/12/2016


Read more >>
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A Scottish icon, a product to challenge Apple’s dominance and a piece of design with real emotional punch feature amongst our Board of Directors' most admired designs of the year.

07/12/2016


Read more >>
jigsaw

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The DBA’s Head of Programmes, Natasha Papa caught up with this year’s Design Effectiveness Awards judges to discuss their perspectives on design’s role at the heart of business.

07/12/2016


Read more >>
Andrew Wolffe, Founder, Wolffe

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07/12/2016


Read more >>

DBA APDIG submission to DCMS Select Committee inquiry into the impact of Brexit


Submission to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee by the Design Business Association and the All-Party Group for Design and Innovation - October 2016

24/11/2016


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Main Content

About: Adrian Day

adriandayAs a qualified Non-Executive Director with the Financial Times’ Post-Graduate Diploma, Adrian has 30 years’ experience as a Director/Leader in design firms including Landor, Siegel & Gale, Further, Ziggurat and Uffindell.

Adrian is an accredited member of the DBA Experts Register.

Rod Petrie

Crazy times call for courageous creative thinkers


Seize the opportunity, understand the context, change the context and create the impossible. Management and clients alike hate uncertainty and unpredictability, a space we all find ourselves in today but creativity in itself is surely an unpredictable process so the creative mindset should have an advantage with the events that now affect us all.

08/02/2017


Read more >>
new signpost

Brexit: legal implications for the design industry


Following the Prime Minister's speech the DBA has already considered some of the implications of the likely change in status of the European Court of Justice and OHIM and the likely impacts on the design industry.

24/01/2017


Read more >>
dreamstime_s_13195154

Sharpening the focus on design


Renowned author Raymond Turner examines design’s ability to define and manifest corporate strategy.

23/01/2017


Read more >>
Raymond Turner

Converting the sceptics


Getting design understood and valued at board level is the holy grail – but that means talking in business terms
 and converting the sceptics, argues Raymond Turner.

23/01/2017


Read more >>
Deborah Dawton, CEO, Design Business Association

DBA CEO on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement


DBA CEO Deborah Dawton outlines why the review of the tax credit environment for R&D outlined in the Autumn Statement is important to the design industry.

07/12/2016


Read more >>
coloured ribbons

Expert advice – all wrapped up


With Christmas fast approaching, our Wise Men and Women of the DBA Experts Register share some top tips for your business in 2017.

07/12/2016


Read more >>
jw1180-somme-1916-poppy-lapel-pin-shell

DBA Board name their design highlights


A Scottish icon, a product to challenge Apple’s dominance and a piece of design with real emotional punch feature amongst our Board of Directors' most admired designs of the year.

07/12/2016


Read more >>
jigsaw

Design effectiveness at the heart of business


The DBA’s Head of Programmes, Natasha Papa caught up with this year’s Design Effectiveness Awards judges to discuss their perspectives on design’s role at the heart of business.

07/12/2016


Read more >>
Andrew Wolffe, Founder, Wolffe

Accounting for growth – spotlight on Wolffe


Turning the spotlight on a boutique brand design agency, DBA Supporter KPMG Small Business Accounting interviews the Founder of Wolffe as he looks to double the size of his business within the next three years.

07/12/2016


Read more >>

DBA APDIG submission to DCMS Select Committee inquiry into the impact of Brexit


Submission to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee by the Design Business Association and the All-Party Group for Design and Innovation - October 2016

24/11/2016


Submission >>

Main Content

By Laurie Bushe, Marketing Executive, tangerine

laurie-bushe-headshotOver the last thirty years, tangerine has become one of the world’s leading design consultancies. We’ve created some of the most iconic products and customer experiences for some of the best-known international brands.

Our work has transformed consumer’s lives, companies’ performances and even whole markets:

  • the yin-yang lie-flat bed for British Airways’ Club World changed the way we fly
  • the iconic Sky+ set-top box introduced time shift technology, changing the way we watch television. The ring of LED lights has since become the hallmark of the brand
  • the design spirit and strategy that helped turn Far East manufacturing giants, such as LG, into global brands and changed the way we shop

From the very beginning, we’ve tried to help businesses see beyond the obvious, to offer fresh thinking on what really matters. We’ve enabled CEOs and other seniors to recognise the value of design and the benefits it can bring to their organisation.

We understand that consumers want to buy into an experience. That crowded lives mean people increasingly seek simplicity and clarity rather than variety or complexity, but they also put a high value on style and meaning. They, like our clients, demand the very best design experience.

Our recent work with airline Cathay Pacific is a compelling example of how we built our client’s understanding of the importance of design to deliver the best possible experience for customers and create brand differentiation that added value to the business.

What began as a request for a design team to redesign the trim and finish on their new A350 aircraft interiors became an opportunity to radically improve economy class comfort through a unique seating design.

Using our considerable industry experience and expertise, we approached the chosen seating manufacturer and convinced them to change the design of their headrest to radically improve the passenger experience.

The new, unique invention proposed was to create a proprietary designed six- way headrest that increases lateral support to improve sleep. The result was heralded as the biggest upgrade to long-haul economy in 2017, leading media outlets to hail Cathay Pacific’s new economy class seat is a “tiny revolution”.

Over the years, success for us has been about learning, evolving and adapting to new circumstances, but without ever losing sight of the goal; to create ground-breaking innovation and design that makes businesses profitable and consumers happy.

By Gwen Haberman, Global Brand Manager, HSBC

gwen_haberman_lrHSBC is a huge organisation, operating in over 70 countries and territories. My role touches globally across media, businesses, propositions and cultures and I need to stay connected with them all. Over the past year of looking after the brand I’ve found that most people throughout our company are sincere natural problem solvers who want to deliver impactful creative work.

This enthusiasm from colleagues at times spill over into design and the brand. That is usually when my phone rings. Our brand is worth over 20billion dollars and protecting and raising awareness of the brand is a key part of my day-to-day routine. Being an agent for the importance of design is a key part of it. However, I’ve quickly found that what being an agent for design actually means for a global brand is quite different than what it means when managing a smaller one.

Sometimes it actually means letting go a little and just guiding the momentum that others are producing to a positive outcome. With digital becoming more and more important, I was aware that, like many other brands, ours would need to evolve for new spaces. A good example of this are the tiles that represent the App on your mobile. They’re much smaller and need to convey a lot more information. Our existing design approach and use of the logo just didn’t support it.

Like many brands, we’re innovating in the digital space at breakneck speed. I had many teams around the globe developing products and engaging agencies with an entrepreneurial spirit and the best of intentions. However, they had varying degrees of understanding of design and the brand their products were a part of.

So began a project of global collaboration. Working with the products owners, a team that manages our digital customer experience, creative agencies, as well as our internal in-house design resource – we created a design system that was flexible enough to accommodate our many (many) needs, but consistent enough that it looked like it was all coming from one brand, HSBC.

Once the guidelines and templates had been developed, we’d gone from an organic design approach, where some solutions were better than others, to one smart design system for the brand globally.

Two different animals.

Designing a brand and designing within a brand are two different animals. One of the biggest challenges during this project was to arrive at a design system that both celebrated the modern, innovative space we were moving into while still making sure we were taking the HSBC brand along with it.

After working with my colleagues and their agencies, we were finding that the solutions were innovative, but lacked a connection to the brand. The final solution actually came from an in-house designer in our office in Hong Kong. While it was his deep understanding of our goals and the brand that guided him, I don’t think his designs would have reached their final successful system without that injection of fresh thinking the agencies brought to the project.

Maybe it does take a village.

I’m used to hearing (and using) the saying ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’. However as this project evolved, the value that each voice brought was obvious. I had to let go of that old saying and focus on keeping the solutions true to the brand, keep everyone thinking about the integrity of the design and take advantage of the good ideas coming from different places.

I won’t lie, it can be a challenging mix to manage – and I suspect I have a little more grey hair now. However, business and marketers that bring the customers insight alive in the brief, an in-house design team, well steeped in the brand, as well as external creative agencies to challenge the status quo, resulted in a design system that was more considered and creative than if any one of them had done it on their own.

By Brian Mansfield, Managing Partner, Taxi Studio

‘I have to admit – we tend to think all this marketing and design is a bit, you know… waffly’taxi_website2015_team_grid_brian_mansfield_desktop

The opening words of our opening call with the two MD’s of Dolphin, the UK’s leading premium washroom supplier, in the Summer of 2015. They were on the phone, so that meant something – but it was clear that the value of design was something that we were going to have to prove.

Fast forward to 2017, and the picture’s altogether different.

Why? Perhaps most importantly, we reassured the team at Dolphin with the simple truth that our businesses – both owner-operated, and both stuffed to the brim with talented people who care passionately about what they do – shared a simple set of values. We established a partnership between peers.

Real relationships. Fairness. Care. Integrity. These values, enacted by all, quickly aligned us around an exciting and single-minded design challenge – to create a brand world for Dolphin that befits their products and their customer service.

We got to work, surprising and delighting the Dolphin team at every juncture;

Design excellence: The beautiful patterns of the company’s namesake leant themselves elegantly and simply to a new brand identity and architecture, giving differentiation and meaning to the products and services Dolphin offer, transcending everything from product packaging, to brochure ware and on-site signage.

Insight and expertise: A stunning new website – optimised for mobile – gives architects the access to the product range and speccing tools they need, when they need them, making it easier than ever for Dolphin’s most important audience to engage. Its function matches its form too – an easily manageable CMS will make future updates and product launches simple, and a full analytics dashboard means the team can analyse who’s using their site and how. In the first quarter, enquiries through the website rose by 225%, bounce rate decreased by 68% and time on site increased by 117%.

Intuition and empowerment: Finally, we unlocked perhaps one of Dolphin’s most potent forces – their people – to take proud ownership, and serve as energised and powerful ambassadors for their new brand; which was, for the first time, a worthy marque of their passion and integrity. This internal launch included everything from a beautiful illustrated book of values, to a VIP launch event in which the team assembled and signed a collective commitment to their brand, and each other; a celebration of their business today, and an excited toast to the future.

All told, it’s work we’re incredibly proud of – and work that reflects a journey we walked together with our clients. Proudly sat at the centre of our logo is our first business value; fearless creativity. This work and this journey is a wonderful show of it in action.

As we opened with their words, we’ll do our friends at Dolphin the courtesy of letting them close:

 

Initially, we were healthily sceptics about the potential value of branding. Today, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Taxi to other owner-operated businesses for their dedication, attention to detail and passion for what they do.

By Rebecca Peel, Senior Marketing Manager, Elmwood

becIt’s not uncommon for clients to approach us asking for a logo or packaging design. But being the sticklers that we are, our first step is to ask why. We know our clients will always know more about their business than we do. But we’re there to listen, learn, and work with them to move their business forward.

Developing close relationships, collaborations and partnerships with our clients gets us truly under the skin of a project to understand the business challenge behind it. And it’s only then that we’re able to figure out what’s really required and deliver beyond brief – not only the requested logo or packaging, but a brand that’s rooted in an authentic and distinct point of view – with a compelling brand experience to boot.

These days though, brands not paying any thought to the experience are on a fast track to becoming a commodity. It’s the experiences that drive connections at an emotional level beyond the rationale of price and performance. And in turn, these connections drive behaviour, advocacy, and loyalty – the foundations of any great relationship between a brand and its consumers. Clearly, it goes without saying, that to resonate with an audience, you’ve got to get creative. Therefore to do something worthwhile and genuinely effective, it follows that the best brand experiences are those that are designed.

Over the past 25 years, we’ve uncovered some of the secrets to securing this type of commercial success through design. We’ve learnt how design can influence consumers through Biomotive Triggers® – radical sensory marketing techniques, developed in collaboration with Bradford University School of Management. In effect, we’ve been using the principles of neuroscience to decode effectiveness and how primal responses to external stimuli can be used to trigger positive action in consumers.

Take Andrex for example. We made an emotional connection with consumers in a category that takes three seconds to shop. The year after the rebrand saw an all-time record in revenue, alongside a three-year high of net sales value and operating profit.

Working alongside Saucy Fish, we realised people weren’t confident cooking or serving fish. We needed a ‘tell it like it is’ name and simple graphics to overcome the product challenge and to inject the category with some personality, attitude and innovation. The result? Saucy outperformed the market norm three times over and became a £40m brand in just two years.

But the final word – we’ll give to Challs International.

 

We’ve worked closely with Elmwood from the initial Design Council initiative in 2004 to strategically reposition the Buster brand; creating a vision and compelling brand proposition that has engaged both retailers and consumers alike. When you don’t have huge above the line budgets, you need to invest wisely. The principal focus of our investment for 12 years has been using the power of design to cut through at the point of sale, and that has been absolutely pivotal in making Buster the No. 1 brand. Graham Burchell, Managing Director, Challs International

Rod Petrie

Crazy times call for courageous creative thinkers


Seize the opportunity, understand the context, change the context and create the impossible. Management and clients alike hate uncertainty and unpredictability, a space we all find ourselves in today but creativity in itself is surely an unpredictable process so the creative mindset should have an advantage with the events that now affect us all.

08/02/2017


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In these disruptive times more than ever before, it is about learning to live with doubt and insecurity but never shy away from doing what you believe in, even if this means making mistakes. The thing about mistakes, only you can say if you learned anything from making them, some people don’t give it a second thought.

With this in mind, sadly there are still too many smart people in the creative business that are held back from achieving their potential by the fear of failure and not always their own self-fulfilling fears, but other people’s.

For me it’s always been about blending naivety and experience so finding a place – that agency to learn, that team of like minded people to succeed – to make those mistakes and to fail is more critical in challenging times when there appears to be no right or wrong answers.

As we enter the new year and even deeper into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or 4IR there is no point in adopting a siege mentality and minimizing risk as the knock on effect will hit your creative bottom line and you will sink into blandness and mediocrity.

The facts are that a lot of agencies and great start-up businesses were born during tough economic times. They didn’t decide to dig in and see it through. They decided to turbo charge their vision and business strategies and hold the creative mindset in spite of nervous colleagues and clients.

They had the confidence to go out and hire the creative talent that might well rock the boat and challenge positions unlike a lot of people who fool themselves that they can handle the star players who have that extra edge about them, but soon convince themselves when in a crises real or imaginary that there is no place for them.

 

My advice is as follows:

 

Don’t dig in. Tough times and challenges help to create the opportunity space to take advantage.

 

Change leadership. Some leaders stall and hesitate while others seize the moment to take the space and go to the front.

 

The right mindset. Having a mindset or culture of creativity and innovation can improve your position more quickly.

 

The more challenging and disruptive the times the more creative and innovative the requirement so new solutions are discovered and discussed.

About: Rod Petrie

Rod started out in 1971 as a junior designer before design was considered as a serious career path. During that time he had had two jobs, the first with Allied International Designers where he became the first practicing designer to be on the board of the first publicly quoted design consultancy and then as Founding Partner and Creative Director of Design Bridge.

The buzz for Rod was creating and building teams and he had a real understanding of what makes the suits, the t-shirts and clients tick.

Rod has worked across most design disciplines and been involved in the creation and development of some of the world’s biggest brands.

Rod never however saw himself as a Creative Director in the traditional sense of the word but as a coach for creative thinkers. He has now re-invented himself and has taken his industry experience and learning into the creative community as a coach and applied it to people who want to achieve success and the results they want.

Rod is a trusted DBA Expert. Learn more about how he could help you and your business here.

Rod Petrie

Crazy times call for courageous creative thinkers


Seize the opportunity, understand the context, change the context and create the impossible. Management and clients alike hate uncertainty and unpredictability, a space we all find ourselves in today but creativity in itself is surely an unpredictable process so the creative mindset should have an advantage with the events that now affect us all.

08/02/2017


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 and converting the sceptics, argues Raymond Turner.

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Rod Petrie

Crazy times call for courageous creative thinkers


Seize the opportunity, understand the context, change the context and create the impossible. Management and clients alike hate uncertainty and unpredictability, a space we all find ourselves in today but creativity in itself is surely an unpredictable process so the creative mindset should have an advantage with the events that now affect us all.

08/02/2017


Read more >>
new signpost

Brexit: legal implications for the design industry


Following the Prime Minister's speech the DBA has already considered some of the implications of the likely change in status of the European Court of Justice and OHIM and the likely impacts on the design industry.

24/01/2017


Read more >>
dreamstime_s_13195154

Sharpening the focus on design


Renowned author Raymond Turner examines design’s ability to define and manifest corporate strategy.

23/01/2017


Read more >>
Raymond Turner

Converting the sceptics


Getting design understood and valued at board level is the holy grail – but that means talking in business terms
 and converting the sceptics, argues Raymond Turner.

23/01/2017


Read more >>
Deborah Dawton, CEO, Design Business Association

DBA CEO on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement


DBA CEO Deborah Dawton outlines why the review of the tax credit environment for R&D outlined in the Autumn Statement is important to the design industry.

07/12/2016


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jw1180-somme-1916-poppy-lapel-pin-shell

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A Scottish icon, a product to challenge Apple’s dominance and a piece of design with real emotional punch feature amongst our Board of Directors' most admired designs of the year.

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Some harsh realities

History teaches us that strategy becomes more critical in the unforgiving times than good times. Experience demonstrates that design can make strategy not only visible but also tangible in many ways. And for busy people living and working in a world of ever more information and ever less time, the quickest and most effective means to manifest business strategy must be of particular interest.

As we confront harsh economic realities, making business strategy tangible is a compelling argument for design investment. And as organisations deal with increased competitiveness, reduced differentiation and increased costs, the role of design now and, more importantly, its potential to contribute to future development should come into sharper focus.

Design is much more than a nice-to-have in the good times. It is a valuable tool that lets a company communicate its strategy effectively by giving it the means to “live its business”. It makes it strategy visible and tangible in a relevant and powerful way at every organisational touchpoint. It is a process by which every aspect of an organisation including, but not just, its products and services, look, feel and become tangible through experience. Often design is narrowly defined as digital or graphic, corporate identity, signage and packaging design. In turn, the job of designers is even more narrowly defined as guardians and implementers of such identities, focusing on the detail of guidelines rather than the reality of the customer’s experience.

Design is much more a way of doing things rather than of just things.

Too rarely does design encompass every visible and experiential aspect of an organisation’s interaction with all its stakeholders. The exceptions to this sweeping generalisation are notable and are the much-cited proponents of ‘good’ design, including Lego, Apple, BT, Heathrow Terminal 5 and Philips. However, design is not just for the big boys. It is encouraging seeing small businesses such as Croots, a specialist leather goods maker, embrace design as a strategic tool and transform its business beyond all expectations. It won a DBA Design Effectiveness Award by presenting stunning results from its investment in design.

Proving its relevance

So, what is involved in delivering strategy and manifesting strategic intent? A key responsibility of business leaders is to understand what their future business could or should be like. Design leaders have an important role to play in this process: one of their core responsibilities is to work with the business to understand what its strategic options are and what these might look and feel like. Encapsulating a company’s vision is a fundamental role of design leadership. Envisioning enables everyone in the company, and all others with whom it deals, to relate to it. And a good way for design to become central to envisioning strategic intent and key to its day-to-day manifestation is to show the senior management team a road map for how it might contribute.

There isn’t one roadmap that fits all situations and businesses. Below is one I have found very effective as a starting point. Senior managers find it easy to understand and relate to. It can be understood whether you are looking at it from the boardroom or the factory floor through a series of clear connections between the two.

If you are looking at the diagram from the top down you can see how the strategic intent is going to be realised through the design projects the company invests in. If, on the other hand, you are involved in working on one of its design projects you can look up the diagram and see where it fits in to the wider picture and reassure yourself why this work is necessary.

If there are any business activities that do not fit into this diagram, the question must be asked: “Do they need them?”

diagrampsThe roadmap has six key milestones

1. Strategic Intent

These take many guises and I’ve heard them expressed in many ways. For instance, at one marketing conference I remember attending they tripped off a presenter’s tongue as soundbites: “A Coke within arm’s reach” or for the manufacturer of small Japanese engines: “Three in every garage”. These weren’t a comprehensive statement of corporate aims, but they make the point that such statements can direct much effort.

2. Vision

Strategic intent is not enough on its own; a vision is needed to capture the potential of that intent. A vision should describe the high ground implicit in the statement of strategic intent. It should also provide the platform for developing design and operational strategies to realise that intent. Eurotunnel’s vision was simple: a service where you could just turn up and go.

Previously booking was needed for a place on the ferry, which may not run anyway because of the vagaries of weather.

GloHealth, a new entrant into the private health insurance business based in Ireland, set its sights on “standing in our customers’ shoes” – something it believed no other health care insurer did well. The new high speed rail system planned for the next 25 years in Britain, HS2, has a far reaching design vision as a catalyst for growth across the country.

It sees the visionary challenge to “enhance the lives of future generations of people in Britain by designing a transformational rail system that is admired around the world”. These visions are ambitious and incredibly difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, without setting an audacious target how can you possibly hope to achieve the high ground that is appropriate to a company that wants to be an industry leader.

3. Values

Before strategies can be developed, the corporate values that steer everything a company does need to be understood, as they condition the development of those strategies and everything that flows from them. These values should be specific to the business. There is nothing more useless than a set of values that are so generic they could be referring to any company – world class, efficient, user friendly and value for money all fit into this category. These fatuous words say nothing of any meaning about differentiation. Values should always be written in a way that shows why each is important. You should be able to complete the sentence ‘one of our values is … because it enables us to …’. Values should inform all aspects of a business – what you say, what you do, how you say it and what you believe.

4. Strategies or drivers for change

It is only when these values are in place that a set of strategies can be developed that will be the key drivers for change. These strategies might be quite different in nature from each other, but all of them would be informed by the vision the business has created for itself. For example you may have a group of strategies that include radical product innovation; increased investment in R&D; a new recruitment programme to attract the latest bright minds; or a new way to raise market interest in the end product or service when it arrives.

5. Customer interactions

A clear understanding of the potential for manifesting these strategies or drivers for change can be found through a detailed analysis of customer interactions with the business. This is where such tools as customer experience mapping and touch-point analysis can be of great help.

6. Design and service responses

Every strategy will have a number of design responses to deliver it, and they all link back through the corporate values to the vision and strategic intent of the organisation. Without such alignment, shareholder value cannot be maximized from design investment, and no one can be sure that every design activity, and every pound spent on it, is contributing to the wider business ambitions.

Tim Selders of Park Advanced Design Management from the Netherlands notes that many leaders believe design is still seen as an operational benefit only and his research shows there is still much to be done before design is accepted as a core competency to help build business strategies. Those in the know – and those organisations that have already benefitted from a more sophisticated use of design – accept that design is a business tool that makes strategy visible.

So, what can we learn from this? Here are a few points:

  • Inspirational brief

    The essence of an outstanding design solution and one that aligns perfectly with strategic ambitions, is an inspirational brief that clearly articulates business objectives. An inspirational brief reflects a deep understanding of the strategic context in which the business, product or service operates. Once a brief reflects the strategic intent of the business, clarifies a vision of the project at hand and reflects the values of the organisation commissioning it, an effective design response is likely.
    Clarity and shared understanding at this stage are most likely to produce a response that is at minimum, acceptable and at best, exceptional in realising business need. So, design that makes strategy tangible and brings it to life is vastly more effective in both cost and communications terms than one that merely decorates a business card or the home page on the company’s website. Look at how Innocent has taken account of consumer concerns regarding traceability, ethics and sustainability, and have leveraged them to create very drinkable smoothies, a strong brand and exceptionally popular consumer promotions.

  • Design is about what and why

    The idea that design can have a critical role in manifesting corporate strategy is one that is readily accepted by designers, although some still prefer the comfort zone of being involved in the designing of things rather than the directing of what should be designed and why. However, this link between business strategy and design is not yet readily accepted by many business leaders and it is the responsibility of design leaders to make the strategic importance of design clear.

  • A key link to design investment

    Show how design can deliver corporate strategy, mission, vision or values and, in doing so, you provide a key link to design investment, briefing, development and implementation. A core responsibility of design leaders is to work with the business to understand what its strategic options are and what these might look and feel like.

  • A critical business tool

    Above all else, make it clear that design is a critical business tool that must be owned by the business – design is far too important just to leave to designers, as I hope this article has demonstrated.

About: Raymond Turner

Raymond Turner FCSD, formerly Group Design Director at BAA Raymond Turner FCSD, is an independent strategic design consultant and author of ‘Design Leadership – securing the strategic value of design’.

Image credits: © Kelpfish | Dreamstime.com

Rod Petrie

Crazy times call for courageous creative thinkers


Seize the opportunity, understand the context, change the context and create the impossible. Management and clients alike hate uncertainty and unpredictability, a space we all find ourselves in today but creativity in itself is surely an unpredictable process so the creative mindset should have an advantage with the events that now affect us all.

08/02/2017


Read more >>
new signpost

Brexit: legal implications for the design industry


Following the Prime Minister's speech the DBA has already considered some of the implications of the likely change in status of the European Court of Justice and OHIM and the likely impacts on the design industry.

24/01/2017


Read more >>
dreamstime_s_13195154

Sharpening the focus on design


Renowned author Raymond Turner examines design’s ability to define and manifest corporate strategy.

23/01/2017


Read more >>
Raymond Turner

Converting the sceptics


Getting design understood and valued at board level is the holy grail – but that means talking in business terms
 and converting the sceptics, argues Raymond Turner.

23/01/2017


Read more >>
Deborah Dawton, CEO, Design Business Association

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DBA CEO Deborah Dawton outlines why the review of the tax credit environment for R&D outlined in the Autumn Statement is important to the design industry.

07/12/2016


Read more >>
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Read more >>
jw1180-somme-1916-poppy-lapel-pin-shell

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A Scottish icon, a product to challenge Apple’s dominance and a piece of design with real emotional punch feature amongst our Board of Directors' most admired designs of the year.

07/12/2016


Read more >>
jigsaw

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The DBA’s Head of Programmes, Natasha Papa caught up with this year’s Design Effectiveness Awards judges to discuss their perspectives on design’s role at the heart of business.

07/12/2016


Read more >>
Andrew Wolffe, Founder, Wolffe

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Turning the spotlight on a boutique brand design agency, DBA Supporter KPMG Small Business Accounting interviews the Founder of Wolffe as he looks to double the size of his business within the next three years.

07/12/2016


Read more >>

DBA APDIG submission to DCMS Select Committee inquiry into the impact of Brexit


Submission to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee by the Design Business Association and the All-Party Group for Design and Innovation - October 2016

24/11/2016


Submission >>

Main Content

Design is not elitist

The issue of elitism is never far away when considering the role of design in business. Elitism is generally used when describing attitudes and activities of a small select group of people. In this case the reverse is true. Far from being elitist, design should be inclusive by involving everyone in the company because it certainly will affect them; design is fundamental to creating and managing customer experience and many people in an organisation are in a position to make design-related decisions that influence this.

For example, designing a building in such a way that it is easy to keep clean is likely to mean that the janitorial staff will have as much effect on the quality of that experience, or the working conditions of staff, as designing for the chief executive’s long-term strategic intentions. Equally, understanding customer experience will enable businesses to exceed expectations and build loyalty.

When I was at BAA, for example, we undertook a comprehensive study of the experience passengers, staff, airlines and other business partners needed to have at every step of their journey to, through, and when using our airports. This then formed one of the cornerstones of the company’s ten-year design and development programme. It was key to ensuring the user was put at the centre of its design thinking and key to the programme’s success.

Equally, design is not an expensive new overhead but something that companies are already engaged in and could almost certainly do more cost effectively. Designing the right solution in the first place costs less than designing the wrong solution and then having to manage the fall out from that bad decision. There is well-documented evidence that design can save money, not only by making things easier and cheaper to produce, but also by having a positive effect on the cost of ownership.

Design is not irrelevant

Far from being irrelevant, design can be used to position a company in line with its strategic intent. It can influence how customers and staff experience the products and services of the company; it can make clear what the company stands for. It can overtly manifest its values through what it says about itself and how staff behave; it is key to defining, creating and maintaining differentiation. A great example of this approach is GloHealth. A new Irish based company in an already crowded marketplace, GloHealth wanted to be a business that provided the alternative way to private health insurance. The desire to differentiate itself from the rest of the industry had been fundamental
 to the creation of this business – how it looked, how 
it felt to work with, its product differentiation and the manner by which it did things. And it used strategic design thinking to do this. As GloHealth’s Chief Executive, Jim Dowdall puts it; “we know what makes us different and what this means to the products and services we offer. This difference is born out of a clear understanding of our strategic intent, vision, values, product design and quality of delivery. Collectively
 these summarise who we are and what we stand for.”

The arguments for design are comprehensive and profound. For example, the DBA’s Design Effectiveness Award competition has many examples of how
 design has had a transforming impact on business, government and society. Look for others within your own business. At BAA, I used the transformative nature of our Terminal 5 project to continually remind senior managers of the significance of design to our long-term strategic aims. There will almost certainly be many examples that resonate with most business situations and most industry sectors.

The truth is that design is not superficial; nor is it about finishing touches. It affects all parts of the business; it is key to making business strategy at least visible and potentially tangible in many other ways. Design is an essential ingredient that can breathe new life into old products and help create innovative new ones. It can be the basis of designing spaces from the inside out for user convenience, improved work dynamics and operational efficiency, rather than from the outside in for the aesthetic value of it. It can be the key to differentiation and growth in the marketplace.

And even when design is superficial, even when 
it is applied only at the very end of a project, it can still have huge impact. Whilst the dictionary definition of the word ‘superficial’ describes it as something to do with the surface of things, this does not always mean it is of no significance. Fashion is an area of design that has much to do with appearance, or things so called ‘superficial’, but it is a huge industry that employs millions of people and brings pleasure to many more. There is no better advocate for design than the converted sceptic. Once you have them fully on side, the next hurdles are much easier to clear.

This article is an extract from Crossing the Rubicon which featured in Design in Business.

About: Raymond Turner

Raymond is 
an independent strategic design consultant and author of ‘Design Leadership – securing the strategic value of design’ available from: gowerpublishing.com

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