Jun 08

Listen to me, please!

Posted by Packaging Sense in Trends | Uncategorized

The other day, I went to our family doctor for a check-up. Well, all was fine, I just needed to lower my blood pressure a little, so he prescribed a new medicine for me which I fetched at the pharmacy.

At no moment did I question my doctor’s advice, although he is quite young. I see him as a specialist and I believe that it is good to listen and to follow the advice from specialists, in whatever profession.

Well, is it so? Unfortunately not. I’ve been involved in the design of some 50’000 packages after my 50 years as a specialist with an extensive education in graphic design, typography, printing, knowledge of materials, etc. So why do so many young brand managers believe they know better and tell me what size and position the logotype should have, what typography should be used, when it is my job to propose, in full knowledge, the best way to achieve shelf impact, brand building and clarity of communication?

Here I have to add that when I work with mature marketing entrepreneurs, they do not question my advice, whereas too many young brand managers at multinational or retail companies seem to know better.

Why is this so? May I give my version? I believe that marketing education is lacking one potential subject and that is to explain what DESIGN can do to achieve optimal communication, avoiding personal comments as “I like” or “I don’t like” which are totally subjective.

May I give you a recent example?

A brand manager received 3 design proposals from his agency. He liked one of the designs very much, but he knew that it was not in the target group, so he used the grid below in order to judge the 3 designs objectively. And he came to a different conclusion!

The lesson to be learned for unexperienced marketing people is to either trust the specialist or use an objective judgement system, be it the one I use or any other one.

This being said, I still think that great, powerful, creative design work cannot be measured. I believe the solution is to listen to great communicators and design masters. Just ask for instance Philippe Starck or Dieter Rams what they think. Steve Jobs and Jacob Jensen would certainly be of the same opinion if they were still of this world!


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