It might be a showing of age, but whenever I hear talks about automated services, robots, drones and even things like tap and pay, it scares me a little. But there’s a different kind of automated service that scares me even more. It’s the one where thinking has been left out of the equation. As we move towards a world occupied by more and more automated services, I would argue that originality and creativity is going to become even more valuable assets than ever before.
How does originality effect brands?
In today’s world companies are tasked to create more and more content. And they have to do it consistently and quickly, to stay on top. Programs are more readily available these days, and even online versions are relatively easy to use, but obviously with limitations. There is a forever increasing selections of freebies to download, free online logo tools that even point out that ‘no concept is necessary’, with a selling point of ease, and ‘no need to think’ attitude… And with tight deadlines and small budgets, designers are often being priced out to these ‘templates’, and ‘free downloads’.
There is an obvious danger for companies that are relying on this approach. They can damage their brand, lose customer loyalty and get lost in an already saturated market where they don’t stand out. As there usually isn’t much thinking involved in this approach, and also, more often than not, a lack of a certain sensibility, that was free to begin with, in the end becomes the more costly route.
Where did all the thinking go? And what are the implications?
If visual communication is created using free downloads, brands will look alike. Websites will look the same, typefaces will be the same, graphics, elements and images will be the same. Even using stock imagery, like Ariane – the overexposed stock image model who’s used from bread to pharmaceutical advertising – makes brands look confusing and merged with one another. They lose credibility, and it doesn’t feel honest or truthful. If you look the same, you act the same, what makes you different? If you lack originality and personality, how do you stand out?
To create longevity and brand loyalty, you need to be authentic and have unique brand distinctiveness. This can’t be done with an app. This can’t be done using iStock. Sorry.
Even with tight budgets, spend your money wisely. Think about what it means if you don’t invest properly in design. Design, originality and creativity are the most valuable assets. Without it, brands of today will be lost in a sea of sameness. With more and more free downloads, free online automated design processes, and with half of today’s jobs automated by 2034 (according to The Economist); to stand out and be relevant, we believe the future of design lies in our thinking. And as pointed out by Wolff Olins in their blog post ‘every kid needs creativity’, the future lies in creativity!
So go on, we dare you, create something original. You never know, it might just save us all.