Design, branding and BusinessWeek

A quick thought on the July 4th issue of BusinessWeek, since we’ve had an ongoing discussion over at Does Size Matter? about design, it’s definitions and the different flavours of design. The focus of this issue is on The Best Product Design, while the ongoing conversations are about how good design builds brands, supports brand extensions and adds shareholder value.

My question then is, when will business take all aspects of building a brand into consideration when it looks at good design. Building a brand is so much more than just the product itself. The Catalyst awards look at the strategic aspects as well as the ROI of a product, an excellent move in this direction but it is not enough.

When we begin to look at something that for now I’m referring to as "integrated design services", that take all aspects into consideration from the website, the experience, the brand, the communications as well as the product and give an award for that, then, and only then, will design be an integral part of a corporate growth strategy. Apple comes to mind.

Still, this is an early thought and I will return to this topic soon.

Update 6/27/05 – Chris Gee brings up an interesting point in the comments section of this post that I’d like to clarify. I believe that the branding and UI folks are already leading the corporate strategy aspects, my reason for bringing this up is to articulate the need for a BusinessWeek type award for branding and interaction and user experience. That is, the so called softer skills of design, not just focus on the product design aspects. If I’m not mistaken, the existing awards are from the design point of view, not business. Please correct me if I have overlooked anything.

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2 Responses to Design, branding and BusinessWeek

  1. That was my thought as well. It’s a great start that since production and manufacturing has been outsourced to other countries, corporations have come to appreciate the value of innovation and product design. Don’t stop there!
    You’re right, more consideration needs to be given with respect to other areas where the client comes into contact with and experiences the company brand. After all, consumers won’t ever even KNOW about the product unless they come in contact with one of the other forms of communication — printed materials, interactive media, traditional broadcast, etc.
    These areas need greater attention to design and designers need to be involved sooner in the process. Companies would never dream of making all of the decisions with regard to a consumer product and only involving their product designers at the end of the process to merely “crank it out”. The same attitude needs to be taken toward their branding designers, experience designers, advertising designers, etc.

  2. Niti says:

    I could be wrong, but I think it’s the other way around in many cases, it’s the product designers who are often brought in at the end of the process to “crank it out” to support the brand.

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