Why design is a licence for thieves

I was glad to see the flag being flown for effective design in your Industry Attitudes article (MW 1 March), but what left me slightly saddened – albeit with a wry grin – were the responses to the question: Where do you seek design inspiration?

Clients call for stand-out, but your survey says that everyone is looking in the same places, which clearly isn’t the way to make design different, or to help brands stand out.

In five years’ time, I would like to see this piece explore the idea of how great design and remarkable brands are directly related to how good at theft, yes theft, brands and agencies are.

My soapbox plea is for more curiosity in design, for a nosier industry that is hell-bent on taking inspiration and principles from new and unusual sources rather than the same old places.

Imagine an industry where stealing is not only a prerequisite for a successful bottom line but is actually celebrated and the word thief has even crept into job titles. After all, nothing is original, everything is a combination and amalgamation of everything else.

Ben Branson
Senior planner
Holmes & Marchant

It’s heartening to see more brands appreciating the impact that design has on their bottom line (MW 1 March).

However, the widely held view of consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketers that the role of design is limited to the pack being the only point of influence in the retail environment is quite telling.

For many CPG marketers, it seems that retail marketing is still a dark art and the point at which the store environment assumes all control.

By turning their attentions to inspiring consumers, branded manufacturers can add retail experience to their armoury, and avoid becoming bit-players in the store’s branded environment reliant on packaging alone.

I look forward to seeing a survey and a mindset that assesses design’s full impact on retail across all consumer touchpoints.

Lucy Unger
Managing director
Europe and Russia, Fitch

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