A few years ago, D&AD's Branding 2.0 event brought together some of the most visible design practices in Britain. It turned out be be a night of controversy and confrontation.
Watch the videos and then read the (un)lucky chair Simon Manchipp's report.
Hear what graphic designer Michael Johnson of johnson banks, London, had to say:
Previously Head Creative Director at Wolff Olins and current Partner at Pentagram Design, watch the video below to hear from Marina Willer.
Take a look at the video below to hear from Jason Little.
Founder and Experience Design Director at Else, Warren Hutchinson has over 20 years experience in design and knows a thing or two about branding.
Boasting over 16 years of industry experience and expertise, listen to Loose Collective graphic designer Graham Jones throwing in his two cents.
Things got a little bit heated in the Q&A section of Branding 2.0. Watch the video below to see some of the biggest names in branding and design going head to head.
This (from my perspective) was a rare opportunity to get some of the heads of the major design families together for a bit of a frank discussion. We rarely see people disagree on stage anymore, yet we often learn the most from the arguments.
Argument came fast. Michael Johnson was challenged over the Science Museum being nothing more than a typeface. Marina talked about how the Wolff Olins process involved far more than graphics, that PWC's re-brand took 3 years and involved deeper change management. Graham Jones took Michael Johnson to task on his methodology.
But the fire really got started when it came to Warren's response to Landor. “Guidelines are just a piece of paper that demonstrate you've done some work”, he went on to attack the rather condescending description of how clients should be treated. “I've worked client side and I don't need you to throw guidelines at me to brighten my day — thank you very much”
Now we had a party.
Then the audience got involved. They were not happy, the presentations had left them a bit cold and they wanted more. To be arguing about typefaces and guidelines was futile, why were designers not engaging with clients at a deeper level? Was change really only surface deep? What about behaviour.
Experience. Thinking. Reputation. These are where brands became useful for products, services and organisations.
Warren eloquently echoed the audience's concerns. While Landor and JB tried to defend their position, WolffOlins and V3 agreed that new brand thinking requires brand designers to demand deeper involvement with a more cohesive practice that takes the time to look into how a product, service or organisation behaves.
This was not a happy place for the design establishment. I felt that there was a real desire in the room for a longer discussion; there was frustration aplenty.
'Digital' or multichannel thinking was rocking the more traditional 'Graphic Design' boat.
Twitter of course was the unedited voice of the night:
@nathanawilliams 'hosted cockfighting'
@russellsdust 'I came here hoping to be scared'
@sjgreen 'interesting and insightful'
@camillastore 'good chat, strong debate & light abuse'
It's clearly a creative practice at a point of change, Do you agree that Branding is moving on to deeper pastures — or that there's still a priority in business for the logo makers?