A be all, not an end all

Running from 11-21 October, DM18 was, as always, an exemplary showcase of some of the best creative work and thinking found in the industry today. From letterpress typography through to amazing event-based motion graphics, there was a wide range of different types of creative work under discussion. One thing that struck me was how, despite the diversity of the end products, the current thinking on how the creative process should work were amazingly similar between projects.

Traditionally, design is the end of the process. A creative team is expected to take a brief and communicate these new thoughts and new strategies to an identified audience, visually ‘bringing it to life’.

I feel that there’s something fundamentally wrong with this process.

It functions under a belief that creative teams are by nature problem solvers, and yes, of course, we can find creative solutions to visualise pre-determined client insights. But by involving the creative team at every step of the way, new values and benefits can then be brought to the process.

Ben Wright, Design Studio, AirBnB – A Case Study

Take, for example, Design Studio. Their team spent time with AirBnb hosts, rented rooms in different parts of the world, talked to customers on both sides of the transaction, and from this their creative team gained invaluable insights into the true nature and ambitions of AirBnB. By positioning ‘design at the heart of the process’, they were able to recognise the emotional, human impact that this service can have on people’s lives, and captured this by changing the mundanity of the original company by-line; “Find a place to stay” to a deeper, more meaningful, emotionally resonant “Belong anywhere”. Their visual work on the brand is obviously outstanding but it is their deeper understanding of the nature of the business, achieved through embedding the creative process at every stage of the work, which has had the most value for the client.

In summary

It’s clear that by involving a creative team in the process from the outset, we create an opportunity for an additional set of problem solvers to add value to the project, shape the way in which our clients talk to their customers and stakeholders, and in doing so, frame these conversations in new and creative ways.


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