Babita’s blog: Differentiate with a “D”

When Design makes all the difference

Feb 12, 2013 02:33:00 PM | Article | Babita Baruah


I remember most art directors in my younger days in Kolkata as “da”. Bappida, Ronitda, Pitamda( just indicative names).

I always found them to be quieter and at times maybe the less “assertive” partner of the Copy Art duo. With most work stations adorned with little clay models, graphical posters or pieces of wonderful art pinned onto the soft boards above their white Macs, art directors have always been a huge inspiration for me.

Which is why, today, I feel proud that it is their time to shine.Design today is increasingly emerging as the key differentiator. The “look”, as we call it, often makes or breaks.

The Indian consumer has become much more “art conscious”.  Far beyond a gilt edged chandelier adorning the living room ceiling.

There is an explosion of design around us. From our kid’s school bags , aroma candles, home decor and cutlery to innovative tech style , design often plays that role of the final tipping point.We see expressions of design co-creations everywhere,from real estate to beauty.

“Studio” and “Designer” are firmly creeping into the marketing lexicon.Style is truly becoming equated to substance, at times almost defining substance. Right from tech brands, who no longer can afford a trade off on functionality.

It’s no surprise that design agencies are snapping at the heels of mainstream agencies every day.

What this means for us is an increasing sense of Design Consciousness.

Where art comes to the forefront.

Art directors play an even more key role, right from brief inputs to film production to packaging and brand identity.

Agency disciplines like Account Management and Strategic Planning are conscious of the role of aesthetics.

Design which is consumer relevant, and not just a good looking piece of work. So an understanding of colours and how they work across cultures, the fact that loud can be beautiful, trends in design etc. Like today’s Hindustan Times, for example, had a section on baroque making an entry into closets and edging away minimalism. Basically what we call bling!

Understand how design can also distance. If the “look” is too far removed from the consumer world, it may work against the brand.

Be a design partner to the client’s product innovation process itself.

Navigate brand conversations to weave in design as part of the agenda and not leave it to production deliverables.

So while everyone is bullish about digital units and social media legs, maybe it is the Art and Design Team that will take agencies to the next new high.

The views expressed are the author's independent views as an ad professional and do not reflect the organisation's viewpoint.