STRATEGY
May 11, 2016

New positioning

In late 2000 I was asked to describe my role at Dragon (now Dragon Rouge). I came up with a clunky but accurate 'Corporate Brand Identity Designer'

I later argued that 'corporate' was limiting and had fallen out of favour thanks to the anti-corporate backlash at the time. Also, 'corporate identity' was beginning to look like it belonged in the previous century. I reduced the description to a leaner 'Brand Identity Designer'

Although I rarely get involved in consumer brand projects exclusively this role description covers business brands as well as consumer brands and has proven more valuable than I could have expected. Nowadays business brands are often also product and service brands

Some might argue that 'Brand Designer' or 'Branding Designer' capture the same skill-set. But, these role descriptions belie a misunderstanding of 'brand identity experience' in relation to 'brand experience'. A brand experience always includes a brand identity experience but a brand identity experience does not require firsthand experience of the products and services that form the fundamentals of a brand experience

The necessity to supercede Brand Identity Designer is further qualified by distinctions that I make within design. In short, there are two aspects to design: design as form-giving (1) and design as configuration (2). Across all disciplines creativity is mostly expressed as uniquely configured material that is comprised of pre-formed elements. With this in mind the value of design as configuration has become redundant. And, because most design tools have been democratised it only makes sense to speak of design in the context of shaping material directly

At this stage of my career it's become obvious that I contribute much more than brand identity design services to a business experience. I do a lot of creative thinking about brands in language that is not dependent on design. This means it makes more sense to describe my positioning as a brand identity specialist, which captures more completely my skill-set

However, this role description needs to be understood in the context of the overlapping specialist areas of business strategy, brand strategy and brand identity design. From now on I'll be using the symbol above as a beacon of my new positioning