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

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here