Consumerism is one of the key market drivers on the planet. It also drives the market for design services. We wake up in our Hästens beds, check Facebook messages, grab the Omega James Bond edition and jump into our Muji slippers. Digitalization turns brands, merchandise and design services into global playground.
What’s the future of design services like? The industry is used to having a very design driven approach in which art directors and designers are the authorities for what looks good. That all changes with a social economy. The single opinion of an art director is just one perspective, though probably still the most important one. It is, after all, hard or impossible to beat good design. Thinking Banksy, Damien Hirst or Rothko.
But there are alternative ways to obtain great design services. I tested the 99 designs service for Rome Advisors. The service works if you put extra effort into managing the process and leading the designers to ensure the right results. But you need to be creative in the way you direct them, and you need to understand the design process yourself. The service would probably not be the right one for an engineer or a dentist.
In five days, Rome Advisors received over 700 suggestions for a new logo. We got five excellent suggestions, twenty good ones, and fifty that were so-so. That’s amazing! I was totally surprised. Just imagine what it would take to get that kind of range from your agency? Impossible. You’d get two or three options, and most likely those three would not be ready-to-go but just in-progress suggestions. At least that’s what I think. Please challenge me, let me know if you think differently!
The future of design services looks great. Visual thinking will create an explosion. Pinterest is one good example. But the value creation changes. There will be less money involved in applications and art per se, and more in design consultancy, management and leadership. We need strong experiences that are way more than purely visual design.
As I visit hotels, stores and bars in Barcelona, or when I’m in a new flagship Starbucks store in Amsterdam, I see a sample of what the future looks like. The experience is fully digital and it is not just about ”visual design” – it truly is about the entire experience: How things look like, how they function, how you interact with the surroundings (including the people), what you feel like when you leave the environment. The feeling the entire experience evokes in you.
How do you create a successful agency or career in design? Create an open value proposition that’s more than ”logos and identities.” Build an interactive and open buying process for customers. Create a true interaction with the crowd. Then invest in customer relationship management. The most valuable people in business are directors who can create Monocles and engage the world with truly interesting stories, exceptional experiences. Someone has to lead the way.