Design was always attributed to innovation, invention and progress, and was so long before marketers coupled it with branding.
Amongst intelligent businesses, design has always been a crucial part of the success platform. From William Morris and William Ford, through Raymond Loewy to Jonathan Ives at Apple, good design has gone hand in hand with innovation and new product development. But in recent times, design and the wider construct of ‘the creative industries’ began to take a more central role in the early 80s, when consumers began to exercise more influence in the market place. Today, no nascent business plan comes without a design dimension, and the influence of the consumer, who can relate directly to design, will continue this trend.
It was needed that design is both integral to and at the very heart of both the communications and creative industries.
There are many design awards, some of them rather questionable. But there are only two where design is set amongst other disciplines and awards within a total communications context. These may be DADA and now Cannes. The design community can rise to the occasion and the challenge, and will submit work of the highest quality to be judged for design. If the work is great, the judging fair, the designers will be inspired to see their work alongside other creative work in film, TV, print, radio etc.
Design is everything and everywhere. Design makes things what they are, and nature is the greatest work of design. Everything has to be designed, whether by a designer or not, and remember, inside everyone there is a designer trying to get out. You can’t say the same for other professions such as accountancy or law.
Thus, in contemporary society design ranges across all commercial undertakings from fashion to the military; from motor vehicles to shops and everything in between including architecture. Perhaps one of the strongest examples of design is Apple. Everything about the company starts with design; from the logo, to the offices and plant, the products, their packaging and the stores.
Apple’s iPod and iPhone are product innovations that make the impact they do because of the way the technological innovations are delivered in combination with how the product looks — innovation and design hand-in-hand. Look also at the Tata’s Nano, innovative automotive engineering in a well-designed vehicle. One without the other would not have produced the impact around the world. The Nano will need other forms of design; showrooms, advertising etc., to create and sustain a brand identity.
Like many other facets of contemporary life, design is becoming global. Indians design for US companies, Brits design for Arabian companies, US designers work in Brazil. However, no doubt the emerging markets for design are in India, China, Russia, Brazil and the Middle East. These emerging markets have a long way to go in appreciating the power and influence of good design.
Without doubt, design can help underwrite the success of any business. Most employees are surely happier working for a well-designed successful company, than those working for an under designed, unsuccessful one.
These are the facts: the world economy will continue to be global, competition will be more intense, winning will be harder, innovation, new ideas, new thinking and new doing will be the keys. This will be true across all business sectors, but especially so in consumer products; from planes to pasta; from homes to hospitals; from shops to cell phones.
Good design is the key, for design speaks to consumers’ heart and senses, as well as their wallets, across all sectors and borders.