Solving marketing challenges for small to mid-sized businesses

Authenticity in design

I am passionate about design, typography and creative use of colour. But nothing hits the spot quite like the gleam in your client’s eye when you’ve really hit the nail on the head. It’s not about the praise (though of course we all love that), it’s about finding a design idea that is totally in tune with the client’s vision for the brand and expressing it perfectly through conventional or unconventional forms and media.  

I believe in authentic design – the sort that oozes quality, like the KitchenAid Stand Mixer (sorry, I love a bit of baking!), an iPad or a Fender Stratocaster. These designs are among the many ‘classics’ that never seem to age. They might be ‘tweaked’ over the years, but they never lose that one thing that made them famous in the first place. An old pair of Levi’s are to be treasured and worn as long as they can hold together. It’s got to be the real deal for me, and for the people I’m designing for. 

If you compromise, you risk losing that quality. When Fender compromised on design and started making their guitars cheaper (to get into that ‘lower end’ market), the Japanese took advantage of the end of their trademark protection and made Strat copies that musically, were as good as the originals. The original Fender guitar that had been used by everyone from Buddy Holly through to Jimi Hendrix and later Stevie Ray Vaughan had been cheapened. The brand was damaged, and it took quite some time to regain their premium status.

There are no short cuts to great design. Sometimes it can be a challenge, for example when we’re working with particularly restrictive brand guidelines, or when a client thinks anyone with a PC, some clip art and a few fonts can design. They can’t. As with other creative art forms, true craftsmanship is learned over time and honed with experience.

In my view, Dieter Rams, one of the most influential industrial designers of the last 50 years has got it spot on:

  • Good design is innovative
  • Good design is innovative
  • Good design makes a product useful
  • Good design is aesthetic
  • Good design makes a product understandable
  • Good design is unobtrusive
  • Good design is honest
  • Good design is long-lasting
  • Good design is thorough down to the last detail
  • Good design is environmentally friendly
  • Good design is as little design as possible

I particularly like the idea that if you get design right, it will live forever.  For me, that’s true authenticity.



Design Marketing


November 23, 2019


Gary Wiggins

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