Bravery in branding. That was one of the key themes emerging from the first-ever Impact conference, a fast-paced, one-day shot of design industry insight and inspiration, hosted by the Computer Arts team in London on Thursday.
Are you brave enough to innovate? Are you brave enough to trust your gut instinct? And are you brave enough to confront problems during creative collaborations?
Courage is integral to any successful partnership, advised Sunita Yeomans, head of creative at Tesco UK marketing, during an inspiring mid-morning session. You have to be brave enough to work with your collaborators through problems, and - if that isn't successful - brave enough to walk away. But perseverance is key, she said.
Authenticity was another strong idea recurring throughout the day. "If you don't love what you're doing, you can never be authentic," warned AKQA co-founder James Hilton. "You need to love the people you're working for and the vision. Every choice you make will go back to it."
James Fairbank, head of brand at independent cycling and lifestyle brand Rapha (opens in new tab), echoed the view during his engaging session. Luxury and attention to detail are woven throughout the brand, from the high-end products to the level of service - but what really differentiates Rapha is the passion for cycling at the core of the company:
"It's our long-term ambition to make cycling the best sport in the world," said Fairbank. "What Nike did for running, we'd like to do for cycling."
Design for good
Some incredibly inspiring examples of design saving lives were shared during Impact, with johnson banks founder Michael Johnson, Louise Kyme, brand and design manager at British Heart Foundation, and Deborah Sze beko of ThinkPublic discussing innovation in the non-profit sector.
Remember the Vinny Jones Stayin' Alive campaign? Countless lives have now been saved to the beat of the Beegees hit, with the gangster character making CPR accessible to a much wider audience than the BHF had previously been able to reach.
"I want to say thanks for expressing what you stand for and what you've achieved - because it's remarkable," Michael Wolff told the speakers from his front-row seat in the audience, promoting a huge applause in agreement.
Wolff's own session was a highlight of the day, with the branding expert sharing intimate insights into his way of working. "I don't have clients. I have relationships with people of mutual respect," he told the audience.
"I try to find myself in other people's shoes," he added, explaining how a recent branding job for a Russian bank had helped him "rethink" the way he thinks.
Computer Arts will be bringing you a full round-up of Impact conference in issue 226, on sale from 3 April. In the meantime, here are some more of our best bits…
Words: Julia Sagar
Julia is deputy editor of Computer Arts and editor of Computer Arts Collection.