Russel Davies (see right) and others are debating the end of brand as a science and the emergence of design as the new way to drive communication effectiveness — “Design is a verb, not a noun.” Funny, we always say “Brand is a verb, not a noun.” To some degree I suppose we can say that about any profession (“Physician is a …”) etc but that’s neither completely grammatically correct and is also another conversation.
Intellectually, I think they have a point. The big global/regional Brand Agencies are all saying pretty much the same thing – rational+emotional, positioning, inspiration+truth yadayadayada (see here for why) and leveraging economies of scale rather than necessarily creating great new ideas, innovative approaches and inspiring people. Designers (2d, 2d and digital) do in fact create the stuff where the rubber hits the road.
But I am not sure if I agree altogether. I am a passionate advocate of user-centred design and agree that management consultants are often out of touch with the gritty reality they are allegedly creating solutions for … but as much as i’d like to see designers lead projects, I think good solutions require the cross-section of skills — from the egghead strategist to the designer to the user to the bean counters. No single person has the best solution or approach. And designers sometimes are thinking about their portfolio or their personal agendas rather than doing the best thing for the client (then again, we all do that so maybe that’s not fair).
I suppose it’s a maturity thing. Which can be tough when most of the management consutlants and designers doing the “donkey work” are 25-35 …