In the last issue of Package Design, I championed why holistic branding is needed in today’s world to deliver strategy and creative thinking beyond just industrial and graphic design execution. So then, what exactly is the role of design?

Historically, design has been seen as the last decoration station before a product is launched. It’s still far too prevalent among many today to think of ‘design’ as being something tangible: like a cap, package or label, for example. Many brand owners still tend to involve the design function at the end of the process in the hope it delivers a small tactical lift.
I have always thought that because of the proliferation of all things-designed, design itself has become commoditized. As a designer myself, I am constantly challenging clients to see the value and the return of investment that design can deliver when done holistically. So we have found a new way to migrate the conversation away from ‘design’ (as a thing or a noun) and started talking more about creating a delightful, memorable brand experience(s). Design then becomes the tool, sourced from a multitude of specialties including User Experience, Digital, Interior, Brand Identity, Product Design, Strategy, etc., to create these experiences for end-users and customers. Thus we arrive at Design 2.0
Webb deVlam’s work for Bombay Sapphire entails all the visual expression touch-points of the brand, from asset maintenance on the primary pack, to bringing campaigns to life on secondary and limited edition packs, to ensuring that the brand retains their common look and feel at retail and at events.
When design is considered to be a tool, we can continue to build meaningful connections – and start relationships – between a person and a brand. Again, design is at the intersection, but it is the thinking, synthesizing and directing that is the most important part of our as brand visionaries. It’s like being an architect: the entryway, the kitchen and the like should all come from a singular vision. But this vision can be influenced and inspired by the functional needs and aesthetic desires of the homeowner or builder. It is Design 2.0
This brand leadership role relies on understanding and maintaining brands today and preparing them to for the changing needs of tomorrow. To continually refresh the vision and foresee future opportunities or threats, we analyze bigger questions of brands: Who cares? So what? Why does it matter? What experiences do you want your customers to have? These questions lead to insights that lead us into the discovery of big ideas. This ‘aha’ moment of ideas translating insight to design is where the rubber hits the road. It is at the core of every creative project we take on at Webb deVlam.

(This article originally appeared in the August 2014 issue of Package Design.)


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