Product and brand design are the keys to communicating with consumers in an age where advertising is losing impact, brand designer Bruce Duckworth said on Friday at the final day of the Herald Design Forum.
“In the last few years, because of the Internet and the dilution of media that advertising can control, advertising has much less effect than it used to have,” Duckworth said.
“Branding is becoming more and more and more important, and the product ― that is a guaranteed piece of communication.”
As a co-founder of Turner Duckworth brand design agency which operates in London and San Francisco, Duckworth has been working in brand design for more than two decades, during which he has received over 200 international awards. He has worked with some of the world’s best-known brands such as Coca-Cola and Levi’s.
Saying that the essential elements of a great design are originality, flawless execution of the idea and a “little bit of magic” that speaks to the observer, Duckworth said that a brand needs to have an emotional connection with consumers.
“I think what ultimately makes a great brand is emotional connection and design plays a part in that,” Duckworth said.
“(Emotional connection is) a combination of all elements of the brand. It’s not just the phone ― it’s the software, it’s the graphics, the simplicity, it’s the intuitive way you operate the smartphone. Everything adds up to something you like,” he said, using a smartphone as an example of how design can appeal to the consumers on an emotional level.
“The combination of all these elements, and branding, and the logo and the visual identity is part of that mix.”
Duckworth also stressed that product and brand designers need to answer the needs of the clients and keep commercial results in mind.
However, he warned that the success of branding cannot be judged based solely on short-term results.
“There are two time scales. There is the two seconds when you go to a shelf and purchase a product you need to persuade somebody,” he said.
“Then there is the 20 years which is how long that design is to retain and build the brand and what is the future of the visual identity.”
Regarding the status of Korean product design, the Herald Design Forum is a step in the right direction.
“I think it’s great that Korea is having a design conference. The Korean products you see around the globe are functionally efficient. But are they greatly designed? Probably there is a little way to go yet.”
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com