Advertising & Promotion: Why design has taken off - Design has been hogging press headlines in recent months, with the likes of British Airways and Pepsi making it the focus of marketing campaigns, reports Julian Lee.

The results of Marketing’s annual review of design agencies suggests that the industry in the UK is undergoing a renaissance.

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

corporate identity.

”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

of consumers.

Since its publication, many fast-moving consumer goods companies have

been forced to revise their packaging design in order to stave off

own-label copycats.

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



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