Today we had the last of our lectures on Identity Design. We looked at what the future holds for this area of design, and it is very interesting to see some of the advancements in technology and how this is changing the way we design.
Something that has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years is Crowd Sourcing. Companies look to the public and their customer bases in order to come up with new products or ideas. A recent example is French car manufacturer Citroen’s attempt to crowd-source to produce a new special edition of their C1 model. They got in touch with consumers via their Facebook page, which has over 100,000 ‘likes’, and asked them to decide on the best configuration for their new ‘Connexion’ special edition. 24,000 people got involved which resulted in the car that Citroen launched to the British public in August 2012.
Of course, this has both good and bad implications for a brand and the role of the designer. The good points are that this method takes customer relationships to a new level; the manufacturer is directly asking the consumer, whether they are a current customer or not, to decide on the specifications of a new car. It also brings with it a whole heap of publicity, as Facebook users share their designs with friends, encouraging others to take part. However, you have to question whether the people that are taking part really know what they are doing. They aren’t professional designers. In this instance, however, Citroen offered limited variations on which way the design could go, ruling out what could’ve been some fairly tasteless configurations. Additionally, Citroen wouldn’t do this for every single car they make and sell.
We also looked at advancements in Print Media. Many have suggested that ‘print is dead’, thanks to the digital revolution and the increasing popularity of smartphones and apps. The Guardian newspaper have even spoken about going entirely digital in the next two years. However, many also believe that print still has the legs to stand up to digital. Little Printer has been dreamt up by Berg, and brings news from friends (via Twitter), puzzles and world news onto one little strip of paper. It prints a bit like a receipt, and brings a whole new meaning to social networking and how we view the latest news. Berg have been readying Little Printer for launch for some time now, but you can see it in action on this page.
Another aspect we looked into was that of the Brand Experience. This may seem like nothing new, but there are an increasing number of retail spaces springing up around the world, designed to support a brand and get people interested in out-of-context areas. Examples of this include Citroen’s C_42 showroom, L’Atelier Renault, Peugeot Avenue and Rendezvous Toyota, all situated on the Champs Elysées in Paris. These allow the brands to bring their products and services to an audience that might not otherwise experience them in a retail setting. I have visited each of these ‘brand experience’ showrooms, all of which are totally different to anything we have in the UK when it comes to selling cars. Renault recently reopened L’Atelier, which can be seen below:
Ferrari have a similar setup in London, whilst MINI have one in Amsterdam. I think they are particularly useful at gaining publicity and creating a buzz around the specific city for the company’s products and brand.
I am going to be developing my ideas for an all-new brand identity for the University of Chester’s Christian Union as part of this project. The brief was chosen by my research group and I have decided to continue to focus on this community as I feel it can become a bigger part of Chester as a whole, and visual improvements are needed in order for this to take full effect and appeal to a wider audience. I’ll be updating everyone on this via the blog, so do subscribe or follow me on twitter to stay up to date!