May 11, 2016

New positioning

In late 2000 I was working in the business brands side of Dragon (now Dragon Rouge) when I was asked to describe my role in the company

I came up with a clunky but accurate 'Corporate Brand Identity Designer'. A couple of years later I argued that the context of a brand determines whether it's a business or consumer brand. Also, 'corporate identity' was beginning to look old-fashioned and corporations had been getting a bad rap and so I reduced the description to a leaner 'Brand Identity Designer'

Although I very rarely get involved in product brand projects exclusively, this description also covers consumer brand work, and which has proven more valuable than I could have expected. Nowadays, business brands are often also the product and/or service brand, and you might say that these sorts of projects are most suited to my skill-set

Some might argue that Brand Designer or Branding Designer do equally good jobs of describing the role but these belie a misunderstanding of 'brand' in relation to 'brand identity'. A brand experience always includes a brand identity experience but a brand identity experience does not require a direct experience of a brand, which is usually tangible as either a product or service

The necessity to overstep this role description is further qualified by distinctions that I make within design. In short, there are two aspect to design: (1) design as form-giving and (2) design as configuration. As all creative endeavours require unique configurations but not necessarily unique material form, the value of design as configuration has become redundant. This is especially so because design tools are now ubiquitous and it only makes sense to speak of design in the context of direct and material form-giving

At this stage of my career it's become clear that I contribute much more than brand identity design services to a business. Brand strategy is exclusively about creative configuration of many variables that are mostly expressed in language. I do a lot of this in my work and so it makes more sense to describe myself as Brand Identity Specialist

However, this role description only makes sense in the context of the overlapping specialist areas of business strategy, brand strategy and brand identity design. From now on I will be using the venn diagram above as a symbol to act as a reminder of this presentation of my positioning