Introduction: Design thinking

The design renaissance couldn't have been timelier: consumers are more discerning and marketers need new ways to stand apart from the pack. You've already noticed the results. Apple, Cirque du Soleil and Nike are not only brands known for striking good looks, they're internally structured to ensure innovation is built into the way they operate. So think like a designer, and put the needs of the user first.

The design renaissance couldn’t have been timelier: consumers are more discerning and marketers need new ways to stand apart from the pack. You’ve already noticed the results. Apple, Cirque du Soleil and Nike are not only brands known for striking good looks, they’re internally structured to ensure innovation is built into the way they operate. So think like a designer, and put the needs of the user first.

That’s the beauty of design today: it’s no longer just about aesthetics; it also informs a sophisticated approach to solving problems. The design thinking philosophy is making inroads in Canada slowly, but it holds much promise.

This month’s special report highlights some of the early adopters, marketers who are helping to revise how we view design – Joe Mimran, lead designer at Loblaw Joe Fresh Style, and Krista Schwartz, P&G’s global design manager – write about how design is influencing their brands. And CDs Matthew Clark at Vancouver’s Subplot and Alex Wigington at Toronto’s Oxygen Design + Communications – both trained in graphic design – put pen to paper to offer their takes on the strategy behind a recent project.

Finally, an issue about design should look the part, so we asked Cecilia Atumihardja, an up-and-coming recent Ontario College of Art and Design grad, to style this month’s report, with, yes, we’ll say it, stunning results.

In this report:
Main story – Design’s new blueprint

The marketers’ perspective:

P&G’s Herbal Essences

Loblaw’s Joe Fresh Style

The creative perspective:

Case 1: Subplot & FullyLoadedTea

Case 2: Oxygen & SummerLake