As I write this post, I don’t think there has ever been a better time to be a designer.
I am Benedetto Bordone and I run The Loft, a design and branding studio based in the heart of Glasgow. Like most of my peers, I have witnessed the down-sizing of the creative budget, the commoditisation of basic services and as a designer’s designer (I started my career as a 3D designer and not a graphic designer,) the reducing importance that design seems to be given at agency level in contrast to digital/development/marketing.
However, I remain more optimistic than ever about the future of design and this is why…
– Noise. We are bombarded every single day with more people trying to get our attention – whether it is via digital channels – E-Mail, Social Media, Search Engines or more traditional media outlets such as newspapers, radio or the television. Everybody wants our attention. The beauty about this for a creative is that although there may be no shortage of people offering commoditised services to make the noise – it is only those that are capable of making sounds worth listening too that people truly engage with. Those that can make the complex – simple, those that can make the intricate – beautiful, those that can make poetry from prose. The more commoditised and sub-standard communications on the market, the more the good stuff shines like a beacon. Why are we all so drawn to certain brands? Because there is a purity about the way they communicate and only the best know how to get this across. The more savvy clients in this smaller and joined-up world know this and are more than willing to pay for it.
– New Channels. Digital has already created an entire new ball-game and range of tools for designers to express themselves – Websites, E-Mail Campaigns, Social Media Content, apps, etc have all provided new opportunities. However, there are incredible cross-over opportunities on the horizon with new technologies such as 3D Printing, Augmented Reality, Artifical Intelligence – companies are going to soon be able to create a whole raft of products that bring their brands to life in ways that just weren’t possible before. The modern-day Polymath is going to be more and more critical in bridging the gap between technologies to communicate messages to new people in new ways. Going way beyond the company website, business card, company brochure, etc. There is an incredible range of opportunities here for those designers that wish to look just a little left-or-right of centre.
– Storytelling. A picture speaks a thousand words and most people don’t have time for a thousand words. Metaphorically speaking – give them a good paragraph and they may read the full text. Only the most skilled creatives can write that great paragraph. In the last 18 months we have had so many things land on our desks that sit squarely outside what you would expect for a design and branding agency. We have been asked to illustrate complex business plans, we have been asked to graphically create memorable sales systems, to bring life and make effective – flow charts and operational procedures. International legal firms have even discussed with us how we can use graphics and info-graphics to more effectively communicate their cases in court. For the open and prepared mind, there is a raft of new opportunities out there.
– Leadership. Designers can be the new leaders. For the designer that can be both creative yet commercially literate – there are huge opportunities. Brands now communicate over a huge number of different channels, almost relentlessly. The communications must be on-message, be true to the values of the organisation, be authentic and be worth seeing or being listened too as well as being relentlessly consistent. This is an incredibly important job and work that great designers, with their heightened intuitive faculties, are better equipped than anybody else to do. Sir Jonathan Ive is now “one of two of the most important people at the world’s most valuable company – Apple.” His presence extends way beyond that of the designs of the products; he is the ‘guardian of the brand’ and what it means to people. Many may not consider themselves in this way and Sir Jonathan Ive may be a man with very special abilities, however the opportunities are there for every creative and this role is going to become more widely available in the future.
Every industry or sector must go through periods of renewal and creative services, it seems ours is following that course, but for the designer that has a commitment to excellence, a positive attitude and retains a very open mind. If they unwaveringly focus on the people they are serving and concentrate a little more on the result and a little less on the method. I think they will eventually come to see that today we do indeed stand on the precipice of a golden age for design.
“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around us in awareness.”
Benedetto is a designer and founder of the loft – a specialist design and branding studio based in Glasgow.
The loft takes the true essence of what organisations do and with his team brings those stories to life with a coherence, simplicity and delightfulness that helps companies to create outstanding brand communications.
‘Design with Soul’ is more than a company tag-line to Benedetto, it is a way of life.
His journey has taken him from a career in car design through to his current role. He is honoured to manage a great team, work with great clients and have a lot of fun mixing with so many great people in business.