The results of Marketing’s annual review of design agencies
suggests that the industry in the UK is undergoing a renaissance.
According to the Marketing league tables, turnover throughout the
industry has risen by 39% in the past year.
In recent years design agencies have not enjoyed as high a profile as
their brethren in the world of advertising. But times are changing, as
was demonstrated by the recent launch of British Airways’ new pounds 60m
”It helps if a design is commissioned that is going to be part of a
major change programme, such as the new BA identity,” says Simon Jones,
managing director of Newell and Sorrell, which worked on the BA project.
”In such instances the company is committed to a major investment.”
Companies specialising in corporate identity and packaging design have
benefited as the corporate world looks for new badges to wear into the
new millennium. Pepsi last year built its entire Project Blue push
around changes to its can design.
Andrew Summers, chief executive of the Design Council, has noted a
definite upturn in confidence among businesses.
”There is definitely a feeling of confidence that has been lacking in
the past two years. It is allowing companies to think much more about
their strategy, and design is playing a larger part in that.
”In the recession people certainly found it difficult to do what they
felt they ought to be doing in terms of managing the corporate assets
when faced with a contracting cost base,” said Summers.
The boom, however, cannot be attributed to the rise in consumer spending
The 1994 Trade Mark Act signalled the start of a huge growth in brand
revamps as manufacturers sought to stamp their own identity on the minds
Since its publication, many fast-moving consumer goods companies have
been forced to revise their packaging design in order to stave off
However, it is the marketing departments that ultimately control the
output of design companies.
Amanda Connolly, managing director of brand identity consultants Coley
Porter Bell, says design has benefited from a new generation of
marketers who are prepared to put design on an equal footing with
advertising and direct marketing.
”Younger marketers are not necessarily turning to advertising,” she
”Often they are looking for other more creative ways of building their