@studiocatherine Not in the slightest! Our printers just require a little extra time.
How many times have you heard the comment about a new logo, ‘anyone could have designed that’?
Maybe so, but what ‘anyone’ can’t do is manage the highly complex process of design, especially within large national and global organisations. What many companies end up paying for is not design, but the efficient management of the process of design over the actual delivery of a truly creative iconic brand. The ability to balance the two concerns is a skill that all clients should look for when engaging a creative services agency to recalibrate their brand for these changed times we live in.
Branding and design agencies are not paid just to come up with a design that embodies the values, emotion and promise of a company’s brand; they are also remunerated for their skills to navigate the complex landscape of business needs, constraints of the marketplace, egos, expectations and the aspirations of dozens of key stakeholders within an organisation or corporation.
Getting a large, diverse group of people to agree on a single new methodology for all of their brand communications means agencies must be coaches, psychiatrists, diplomats and showmen. It is this process and these skills that good design agencies are paid for.
Often when organisations are big, their brand identities need to be designed as systems that allow for complex organisational subsets to partially personalise departments or sub-brands. This requires great discipline, organisation and a sophisticated process, and is the main reason why many big branding and design agencies employ strategists to navigate, and account directors to manage this process. Yet the shortest route to mediocrity and hearing ‘anyone could have done that’ is to keep the designers and strategists’ minds at a distance.
No one is better placed than the designer to uphold standards, resist the often well-meaning efforts to dilute and dumb down the integrity of your original grand vision. Without the designer present working closely with strategists, standards will slip and great work will be lost.
Process and strategy are key to design. Design that cannot be implemented and does not affect the performance of the business is useless. In the end, it’s little more than an ego trip for the designer.
But while process is essential, it is not enough. It will never be a substitute for genuine creative thought and insight.
Many creative service providers have become slaves to process. Something that started as a structure to aid effective delivery of creative, ends up at the wheel – reducing ideas to mechanical outcomes with little difference to the last one.
Real creativity is a culture, not a process, and needs to be protected jealously. Process simply can’t ensure effective creativity. True creativity is driven by the culture of an organisation, not by the processes that the organisation utilises.
It’s important to remember that strategy is there to protect the creative integrity, not limit or reduce it.
When engaging with your branding and design agency, many clients will be better served if they ask ‘what is your design culture?’ rather than ‘what is your design process?’
Creative agencies exist to deliver effective creative. This should take primary focus in terms of decision-making and partnerships.
Agencies can be process led or creatively led. This does not mean that a creatively led business does not celebrate process; it simply means that agencies tend to fall into two camps:
- Agencies driven by a creative head. Here creativity is paramount and process is the vehicle to deliver this creativity effectively. Such companies see process as important but flexible. They see the quality of the output as key, not the effectiveness of the input.
- Agencies driven by a defined process. Often easier to understand as their process is very tangible and clearly articulated. They see their process as the core interface with the client and work hard to define and systematise their process structures.
Indeed, both systems can and do perform the work, but the cultures are very different.
As a client, ask yourself, ‘what kind of work are we after?’ A process driven project will give you the same-old, same-old and an ‘anyone could have done that’ result. A truly creative and innovative approach, while remaining relevant and effective, will give you the ‘I wish I had done that’ result.
From desktop magazine.