Dieter Rams, one of the most skilled and famous designers of the 20th century, was responsible for some of the most seminal designs in history, most notably during his time at Braun. Here’s a famous quote of his on how designers need to address their time and place:
Good designers must always be avant-gardists, always one step ahead of the times. They should, and must, question everything generally thought to be obvious. They must have an intuition for people’s changing attitudes. For the reality in which they live, for their dreams, their desires, their worries, their needs, their living habits. They must also be able to assess realistically the opportunities and bounds of technology.
This holds true for every mode of Design Thinking. Whether, as a business owner or marketer, you’ve engaged a designer to revamp your logo, create a website, or design a new product, they need to be aware of the context around them, around your brand. If they’re good at their job, the rest of us need to respect the fact they may be seeing things we can’t…but that their vision will result in constructive innovation, in concepts and ideas which may frighten us a little. But that’s a good fright: it shows they’ve stretched the envelope enough to take you a step or two further than the immediate.
That’s important. Because nowadays, the brand that doesn’t acknowledge change, and the need to stay ahead of change, is asking for trouble. For eventual obsolescence.
If your brand isn’t engaging your audience, arousing their curiosity and spurring a dialogue, then it’s not succeeding. It’s just a name, plain and simple, and not a Brand. It hasn’t staked out a place in the hearts and minds of the viewer, made its mission clear or enticingly obscure, or tantalized people into acts of discovery about the whys and wherefores around it.
Branding should be aware of everything that’s going on within and around it. It should be able to provoke us to take that initial step of discovery; as we’ve said before, a brand is a visual handshake…that holds tight and draws you in.