The role of the designer in creating a brand identity
The role of the designer and the level of participation of the client has changed over time and varies depending on the project. The New Zealand-based Vistaprint site invites anyone to create their own logo “in 3 easy steps.” The results are as limited as the set of provided graphics and typography. The Logo Design New Zealand site provides a set of generic designs that can be downloaded for free, including a rather questionable “Tiki Logo”. They also provide a set of Maori logo design ideas. Do you believe this use of Maori imagery is appropriate? How likely is it that this use of clip art (either Maori-inspired or not) could satisfying the needs of a specific client?
A very different approach is to depend on the skills and reputation of a famous brand designer who will produce a solution with limited engagement with the client. A 1993 interview with Steve Jobs about Paul Rand’s 1986 design of the NEXT logo is a good case study. Paul Rand (1914-1996) produced some of the best known brand identities, which are presented on a website showcasing his work. These days, a designer is more likely to work in close collaboration with the client (its decision-makers and its constituant communities) in a way that highlights the process as much as the solution. A process that includes substantial engegement carried out with mutual respect draws on the collective skills and knowledge in an organization, and encourages a shared sense of ownership.