“Having cut the deficit, Britain is in an increasingly strong
position and it’s a course worth holding. Britain is famed worldwide for
its inventiveness and creative edge: those characteristics underpin
economic growth nationwide, not just in our own sector, and I would like
to see them properly quantified and nurtured. The combination of a
strong government and highly vocal organisations – the DBA, CIF and
LEPs, for example – empowered to advocate for and act on behalf of their
own constituents, gives us power as a nation. It is also crucial that
the Government fosters interaction between business and schools: this
will help to shape the next generation of British talent.”
Government is thankfully now acknowledging the UK design industry’s
global reputation and influence, and indeed the huge contribution it
makes to the coffers of the country. We have an inherent natural talent
and are acknowledged as world leaders, so why are we not putting
creative education at the heart of the curriculum instead of
marginalising it? Around the world, global investment and enthusiasm in
creative education is actually rising rapidly, so why is ours being
strangled? I am looking for the Government to seriously rethink the
current National Curriculum and support, encourage and nurture our
future generation of creative talent at this critical early stage of
their lives – just imagine what we could achieve then.”
UK is in a race to compete with emerging economies, driven by fear. Our
government believes that we need more academics – and we need them
fast. The solution? STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.
It’s Nicky Morgan’s deft rebrand of Gove’s hugely unpopular EBacc
proposals – an educational policy which sidelines the creative subjects
for ‘more’ academic qualifications – and which the creative industry
believed was defeated in 2012.
Well, EBacc is back – like a recurring nightmare – only now its
called STEM. Just what kind of grey future are we designing? I believe
creativity is the very DNA of a successful economic future for the UK.
The creative skillset should be thought of as a fundamental partner to
each STEM subject, as bonding pairs, not as either/or enemies of
academia. How will our young people make leaps, think laterally and
problem solve without creativity? This is not about right versus left
brain, this is an opportunity for national, ‘one brain’ thinking.
STEM needs to evolve into STEAM fast, Mr Cameron. A is for The Arts:
fundamental to our nation’s economic future. The Conservative vision for
the UK’s education is a myopic one where creativity makes way for more
academic achievements. We need a government that believes in a future
where creative ability can be amplified by education, regardless of
British Government, and particularly the UKTI, has been hugely
successful in promoting the export of British design. I would ask that
this assistance to UK design businesses is continued with a strong
emphasis on support for the entrepreneurial talents of our design
community. This will directly contribute positively to the UK economy.
In addition, with the booming landscape of digital, it should recognise
that design and design-thinking are every bit as important as the STEM
subjects. I’d like to see further recognition and promotion of the
innovative companies who successfully mix design and technology to
produce digital excellence. The UK is a key international financial
centre – it could, and should, be a key international digital centre of
designers are freelancing soletraders or run very small agencies, and
instead of just creating policy for big businesses the new Government
should start investing more in these microbusinesses, who make a huge
contribution to the UK economy. 95 per cent of all businesses are very
small but very few are profitable, with very little government research
and knowledge available (see last year’s EU VAT Moss debacle). They need
a bigger say in government, HMRC needs to communicate better to them,
and they need practical support such as tax breaks, help with childcare
costs, equal access to pensions, and decent broadband across the UK to
run online businesses.”
The Green Party has come out as overwhelming winner in a poll to find out which political party font people would vote for.
Designer Sarah Hyndman has conducted a survey to find out how people
react to the typefaces from the major national party political logos.
Hyndman has recently published book The Type Taster, which looks at
the emotional reactions that people have to typefaces and how fonts can
have their own “personalities”.
For this new survey, Hyndman has asked respondents to rank the party
typefaces on reliability, honesty, positivity and other criteria.
All typefaces and parties are anonymous in the survey, which is open to both designers and those without typographic experience.
The Green Party is currently leading the poll with its Thesis Sans
font, which has picked up 36 per cent of the overall vote. Respondents
described the typeface as “solid and reliable”, and “not too grabby and
Labour (Paralucent) comes second with 21 per cent of the vote; the
Tories (Lucida Sans) are third with 18 per cent; the Lib Dems (FF
Advent) are fourth with 15 per cent and UKIP (Univers bold extended
upper case) are fourth with 10 per cent.
People responding to the survey described Labour’s typeface as “light
and positive” and “playful” and the Conservatives’ as “strong and
confident” and “not too fancy”.
The Lib Dems’ font was described as “Clean and clear” and “more open
for honesty”, while UKIP’s was criticised for being “a bit aggressive”,
“desperate” and “angry”.
Design Week also asked a panel of designers to analyse the major political party logos. You can read what they said here.
We also asked all the major political parties to tell us what they would do for designers: you can read their responses here. Meanwhile in this piece we analyse the parties’ manifestoes to find out what they are promising the design industry.
Echo Brand Design has rebranded mobile network giffgaff, with the aim of
creating an identity that is community-based rather than corporate,
says the consultancy’s creative director Maren Steffens.
The new design is multi-coloured, and has “digitilised” and
“future-proofed” the previous pixel design that has been used by
giffgaff since it launched in 2009, she says.
Steffens says of the new “digital noise” design: “We’ve created
pixels that make the design look like it is constantly moving. Even in
print form, it has that dimension to it.”
She adds: “Its behaviour as an identity is quite unique – it
constantly changes, unlike the corporate world of having one colour.
“Giffgaff is a brand on the pulse of changing and evolving and the
community stands at the forefront of it, so the design has a range of
personalities. It was very much created with the members in mind.”
Charlie Smith, giffgaff brand manager, says: “Our network is run by
our members, so it’s important that we give them a brand that supports
their efforts – the digital noise identity is designed to resonate with
our target audience and be remembered.”
The lettering of the logo was generally retained, but the consultancy
“refined and reinvented its role and expression,” says Steffens.
The brand refresh includes digital and print collateral. This
accompanies a new “one-size-fits-all” triple SIM design, which was
inspired by a member idea and which intends to help reduce waste, and
video content such as the new design for E4’s giffgaff-sponsored idents.
Echo Brand Design was invited to undertake the project after
previously completing work for the mobile network. The brand refresh
took six months to complete.
Design consultancies love working with start-ups
because they’re energised, innovative and bursting with potential.
There’s everything to play for. And we can make a huge difference to
their future, which is rewarding for everyone.
Entrepreneurs are of course passionate about their product. Last
month I met some food start-ups at Enterprise Nation’s Food Exchange
event. There were people brandishing weird and wonderful sauces, snacks,
and drinks, many fresh from the kitchen at home and at the beginning of
their journey. It’s impossible not to admire these people’s skill,
dedication and belief in their product.
For a lot of start-up businesses like this, packaging will be the key
expression of the brand – but branding itself is far deeper than simply
a nice pack.
To create a successful brand, a great product is a must. But a brand
is not based on product alone. A brand is bigger than that: it’s an
attitude, a personality, a particular energy, and an experience. In the
early days, it’s what gives your product presence in a room and invites
retailers and consumers to give it a try.
Rawal founded the London Chocolate Company and describes its guiding
philosophy as “fun”, something that differentiates the brand from
I find it helpful to think of the brand as a person and the packaging
and communications as their clothes. So, while the essential
personality traits stay the same, the brand can dress up or down for
different occasions and keep up with trends too. If you’re clear about
who your brand is, dressing it becomes much easier.
Imagine a poster for your product with the product completely absent.
Instead, consider: What’s your brand’s motto? What’s your advice for
customers? How can you show that you understand them? How can you make
All brands need a range of images and messages over and above the
product and its packaging. They’re called “assets”, and for a good
reason: they’re a hugely valuable part of your business. You’ll need
digital communications and point of sale advertising that offer more
than simply a repeat of the label. And you’ll need a design concept that
can adapt with the seasons and across new variants while staying true
to the brand. Retailers like Joules and Starbucks constantly create
fresh content around their core theme to bring a whole lifestyle to
All of this stems from the core energy of the brand, so it’s more
than helpful to capture this in a set of values or a brand narrative.
founder of Moral Fibre Food, worked with young designers Dan Carroll
and Owen Evans. She says they captured the personality of her brand –
strength, innovation and quality – through working collaboratively to
explore market segmentation and brand identity.
Consultancies often liken the branding process to coaching or therapy
in that we offer an outside view to help structure your thoughts. An
entrepreneur pitches their product to people from day one, starting with
their partner, family and friends. We listen and question but also
challenge and develop that pitch.
More often than not, a brand’s ethos evolves directly from its owner.
As things grow in complexity, the narrative needs writing down – and
stress-testing. It’s important to look at where your brand sits in
relation to the competition, and how you can draw on trends that might
be happening in other categories too.
Bear in mind that it’s not just about the visuals. If you are
launching a tangible product, you’re inevitably launching some sort of
intangible service too. (And vice versa. Notice how brokers of
intangible insurance services have create tangible products in the shape
of meerkats and robot toys.) So, as a food brand you do need to think
about experiences: in-store, online, customer service, events and
promotions. Savvy consumers don’t buy into brands purely on face value
so experiences are hugely important ways to connect with customers and
make an impression. Your brand narrative can shape them all.
Insight and innovation
The single most important thing that will drive your branding is your
understanding of your audience. Who are they? What do they think? What
do they need? It’s much better to have a defined niche proposition than
to target ‘everyone’. Never target everyone. The pond may be smaller,
but once customers discover you they’ll love you and tell all their
like-minded friends too. Simple things like how you bundle your product
or present it as a gift or an experience, depending on the needs of your
market, can make all the difference.
Return on investment
Business owners are quite rightly anxious about the cost of branding.
But, with so much invested already, can you really afford not to do it
properly? Jane Stammers of Tipple Tails makes rich fruitcakes packaged
in tins, so that they work perfectly as gifts. She told me that she was
acutely aware how important branding was from the start and made the
decision to invest a good chunk of her start up budget in the branding
and packaging designed by Tonik.
The Conservative Party Manifesto hailed the UK’s creative industries as Britain’s fastest-growing economic sector, contributing nearly £77 billion a year.
The Conservatives say they will continue to support the creative
sector through tax reliefs such as tax credits for children’s television
and will aim to protect intellectual property and tackle piracy.
The party says it plans to invest more than £100 billion in
infrastructure over the next parliament – with £790m million going to
extending superfast broadband to rural areas.
With regards to business, the Conservatives promise “the most
competitive business tax regime in the G20” and point to their moves to
cut corporation tax from 28 to 20 per cent and extend by 100 per cent
the Small Business Tax Rate Relief. The party says it will conduct a
“major review” of business rates by the end of the year to ensure that
“by 2017 they properly reflect the structure of our modern economy”.
For small businesses, the Conservatives say they will treble the
Start Up Loans programme and aim for small businesses to receive
one-third of central Government procurement contracts.
The party also pledges to bring in a Small Business Conciliation Service, to mediate in disputes such as late payment.
Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy under the last administration, told Design Week:
“Design is one of our most accessible creative industries. It impacts
on our daily lives in so many ways – from the transport we take, to
the cutlery we use to the clothes we wear. The UK is a world leader in
design. The Monocle Survey on soft power, which is about a nation’s
power in terms of creative things and innovation, put Britain at number
Latest figures show the design sector has been one of the highest
performing under [the previous] Conservative-led government. In 2013,
177,000 people in the creative economy were employed in design and
designer fashion, up by almost a fifth from 2011. Even more
impressively, this group had the largest percentage increase in
employment in the creative industries in the same period.
It gets better.
The Gross Value Added (GVA) for the design sector was around £3.1bn
in 2013, and observed the largest GVA increase (+28%) of all creative
industry sectors from 2012-2013.
Government takes design seriously. In 2013 our single domain GOV.UK won
the coveted Design Museum Design of the Year Award. The team behind
this, the Government Digital Service, is estimated to make savings of
£1.7bn a year by making all Government services digital by default.
Building on this success, we’re increasing digital capability across
government and hiring designers in many other departments, something a
future Conservative government would seek to build upon.
On skills, we have announced £20m to match industry investment for
creative industry skills, which will assist in the development of the
designers of the future. The funding will come through the Employer
Ownership of Skills pilot following a successful bid by creative
industry employers led by Channel 4 and skills organisation Creative
Our commitment to the design sector is clear. While these figures
paint an encouraging picture, we cannot be complacent. We can only
continue to have a robust design sector with a strong economy and a
long-term economic plan – something only the Conservatives can offer.”
The Chancellor’s views
Talking to Design Week last year, former Chancellor George Osborne
told us: “[Design is] a very diverse sector with diverse issues – there
isn’t a single instrument you can use to tackle them.
“We’ve been able to support design and the creative industries
through various mechanisms such as tax credits and initiatives such as
with the Design Museum [which will be able to open its permanent
collection to the public for free]. We also want to make sure that
design is a part of the learning environment – we want to recognise that
Britain has a particular talent for design.”
What Labour would have done
The Labour party had made a concerted effort to court the creative
industries vote, with former Labour leader Ed Miliband promising to put
art and creativity “at the heart” of a future Labour government.
Among the pledges Labour made were:
To establish a committee for art, culture and creativity that would
report directly to the Prime Minister. This would comprise practitioners
and decision-makers from across the country.
An overhaul of the creative education system to make creative
subjects central to school rankings. Miliband said: “Under a Labour
Government we will build the need for creative education into Ofsted
The Labour manifesto described creativity as “the powerhouse of a
prosperous economy” and featured pledges to increase the number of
apprenticeships in the creative industries and to “guarantee a universal
entitlement to a creative education” for children.
On behalf of the SCA Group, we would like to thank infinity designs for all their hard work in making our mobile App a reality. Throughout this project we found them highly professional and efficient, and our app was created better than we could have imagined.
- Andy Hurll - Financial Manager, SCA Group