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October 08, 2010
5 questions about your company's design competency
The mini-disaster around the Gap's logo redesign is a good backdrop to understand that today's marketplace practically requires design competency. It can no longer be a relegated function but should start to become a core company competency.
Umair Haque has a relevant piece about what it means for a company to lack design competency. He posed five questions to gauge whether your organization is taking design seriously:
- Do designers have a seat in the boardroom? How often does your CEO talk to a designer?
- Are designers empowered to overrule beancounters — or vice versa?
- Is the input of designers considered to be peripheral to "real" business decisions — or does it play a vital role in shaping them? Is design treated as a function or a competence?
- Are designers seen as mechanics of stuff — or as vital contributors to the art of igniting new industries, markets, and catgeories, sparking more enduring demand, building trust, providing empathy, and seeding tomorrow's big ideas?
- How much weight does senior management give to right-brained ideas, like delight, amazement, intuition, and joy? Just a little, a lot — or, as for most companies, almost none?
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I’ve actually seen a lot of blog coverage about GAP’s attempt at a new logo, but this post and the original post by Umair Haque are the first that I’ve seen to actually proactively help other businesses that are thinking about redesigning their current logo. All of the other posts that I’ve seen have been solely focused on bashing GAP. I’m glad that Umair turned GAP’s whole fiasco into a well versed lesson. As an individual with a marketing background, I understand the importance of branding and also how hard it can be to accomplish effectively.
This is a fantastic marketing lesson. It's also one that should be kept in mind with regards to tv advertising. There have been plenty of times when an ad campaign sank the business rather than helped to increase sales. In my opinion, it seems that the folks in the corporate office are out of touch with the masses and too often take the words of the ad people as concrete truths. Silly logo changes or ad campaigns that come on the tail end of one trend or another are not usually good things. Keeping the designs themselves more stable and making use of the latest ad & marketing vehicles would be a better use of design & advertising dollars.
If we were to go back a year from now and look at the cost per impression of the GAP logo disaster we'd probably find they paid a ton less than if they'd paid for advertising. I'm not sure in retrospect if part of this wasn't deliberate to get the GAP back into the news. I for one had started to forget about them prior to weeks of non-stop news coverage over a logo.
I’m glad that Umair turned GAP’s whole fiasco into a well versed lesson.In my opinion, it seems that the folks in the corporate office are out of touch with the masses and too often take the words of the ad people as concrete truths.
Whatever happened to “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it?“ What “higher ups” may not understand is that consumers look for consistency both in product quality and branding. It always amazes me how often the labels and packaging design on food items, especially, change. Next time you go grocery shopping take a look--you‘ll see new bottle shapes, new label colors, etc. abound. Coca-Cola has recently changed the look of their two-liter bottles to more closely resemble their older and iconic curvy glass bottles. So to change and not necessarily improve the look of a logo recognized by consumers around the globe as Gap’s is, I agree sounds a bit like a silly ploy to get free publicity.
This information was extremely interesting. The new starbucks logo is horrible BUT by taking out the "starbucks" coffee that to me indicates that they are thinking of tapping into different businesses which is in the end a good business ploy.
Great post, it seems a lot of businesses overlook this critical task. In particular, question number 3 stood out to me as problematic. As a professional marketer, I commonly see executive ideas snowball into a very poor design offering. It is quite obvious that business leaders have to be in tune with their design strategy. Many times issues occur when a product is being marketed to a much younger generation. In this case, it is easy to show the importance of an integrated member of your target market expressing their opinion on your design. Particularly useful can be an intern. You can sacrifice a low cost for the breadth of knowledge you can gain. The fact of the matter is, to some your visual offering can outweigh your physical product, keep that in mind.