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I’m Nikki Berry, senior account manager at Spring, and I recently attended a DBA event focusing on the purpose of strategy in design.

The discussion was kick-started by a range of industry leaders including Mike Dempsey of Studio Dempsey and Carol Whitworth of Home. One speaker who really got me thinking was Ian Wood of Landor – “Does strategy actually LIMIT creativity?” he asked.

Apparently there are 72 different types of thinking, and that’s what strategy is all about. There are also many different strategy models. But one thing is clear – to produce an effective result for your client, that thought process has to happen.

Strategy is about gaining an in-depth understanding of your client’s business and ambitions, and following a way of thinking. The goal is not to arrive at the same conclusion as everyone else but to a different place, the place that is the game changer.

This process informs design and delivery. Without it, how do you know where you are going and what is supposed to happen when you get there? But it can’t exist in isolation – design is the presentation and delivery of strategy.

So in answer to Ian’s point: strategy shouldn’t limit creativity. In fact it focuses it, to produce a result that is meaningful and useful. The two go hand in hand and whether you recognise the process or not every design agency goes through it.

As Ian asked: “Isn’t creativity without strategy, art?”

 

Strategy and design image

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