In Defense of Design

In today’s corporate world, the word "design" is often considered a bad word. Design is commonly perceived as pretty pictures or a good logo and considered a frivolous commodity during these difficult economic times. But design is powerful. It is the packaging of our collaborative efforts of various mediums that encompass strategy, content and messaging. It is the power to take messaging and create an emotional pull or connection – to instigate a thought in a certain direction or toward a particular product. Bottom line, design has the power to influence and increase sales.

As creative director and managing partner, I tend to be defensive of the word design. I view my role, and those of the design team, as much broader than making things look good. If I was content making things pretty, I probably wouldn't have gone the route of building products, with glamorous products such as insulation and gypsum board. We are not only artists, but inventors, environmentalists, changers, thinkers and yes, strategists. We must wear all of those hats to effectively grab attention. Our job is to be proficient and aware of how our audience is getting their information, and to capitalize on those mediums of communication.

One of our biggest objectives here is to help Building Product Manufacturers (BPMs) define and articulate their sustainable messaging. As designers, we have the power to shape change. Our ads, sales tools and digital media can influence an architect to choose a sustainable product that maximizes a building’s life cycle – a product that is recyclable and will have a positive impact on the future. We have the opportunity to mold decisions within the building industry; an industry that has a huge effect on the environment. That is powerful stuff.

At Function:, we harness the power of design to increase effectiveness in public relations, marketing and online initiatives. I love the challenge of creating integrated campaigns that bring these all together. The change in today’s mediums has allowed our voice and reach to go further, to be animated, live, constant and viral. Print is not dead; rather it is part of an integrated campaign. We are no longer limited to the printed ad – it can become interactive online. Sales training is no longer just a boring binder – it can be a communal webinar.

The exciting thing about the change in the design industry is the increased possibilities. We have the opportunity to expand and grow, transform the mediums and platforms we have traditionally used. However, no matter the medium, design continues to be the packaged message.

Design. It's not a bad word. Rather, an incredibly powerful one.

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