Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Brandcentric design immersion workshop

They said there would be 'drinks'. They were right. There were 'drinks'. But there were no fucking drinks.

Where? The DESIGN IMMERSION LABORATORY. In Hoxton, naturally. Mineral water, juices, green tea, herbal...shit. Jesus. Four hours. Four hours! I don't care who you are, if you can sit there and take that for four empty hours, you have a problem that's way bigger than my rampant dipsomania, psychosomatic anal prolapsing, borderline Oedipus complex, food addiction, uncontrolled sweating, piles, untreatable halitosis, astounding athlete's foot, suspected narcolepsy, wanker's lean, attention deficit disorder and general bad attitude. (That's what it said on my annual medical anyway - but what do fucking doctors know? Nothing!)

The whole thing was a scam. I was enticed there on the promise of a booze-up, and it turns out to be fucking serious. Seriously. They actually meant all the shit they were tossing out at us.

What is it with designers? What gives them the right to be serious about work? Work isn't serious. It's fucking work. What kind of cunt-pole has an excuse for a booze-up at work, and doesn't take it?

Anyway, the whole thing was run by this cock-bubble called James, whose design company is called Soft, because he wants everything in the world to be nice and happy and loving and eco-friendly and he won't work with anyone who isn't. And, believe me, this kid can talk some Olympic-standard bollocks.

The purpose of the event was to 'reboot our design thinking, relearn then break the rules, disassemble our design beliefs and establish a manifesto for Tenties design'. (I think 'Tenties' means the 2010's. But it could be something to do with tents. I'm humped if I know.)

Quite an ambitious agenda for a morning, but he gave it a crack - mainly focusing on the endless talking of wank, pap, toss and cock. His workshop on 'Disestablishing The Grid In Contemporary Design' was particularly unfathomable.

Essentially, though, his belief is that there is no such thing as design. There is only brand. And everything, whether it's Coca Cola or a pooplop you just squirted into the lavvy, has a brand. It has a personality, and that is what designers should visually communicate. Don't 'design'. Don't 'do a logo'. Think of the brand. Convey the personality. Encourage conversation with the consumer. Help them hold hands with the brand. Help them love the brand. Help them buy the brand dinner, get it a bit tipsy then give it one up the clacker.

I asked whether this would be an approach he'd take if he were designing something for, say, a mobile butcher. Let's call him 'Mike The Mobile Butcher'.

James said, first he doesn't 'design' things. Second, he'd sit with Mike The Mobile Butcher and discuss his brand. What does it mean? How does it feel? Where is it going? After a couple of days' talking, he'd have an idea about Mike The Mobile Butcher's vision and he'd suggest a name change. (He always suggests a name change, apparently. Most names, he asserted, are shit.) A name you could have a conversation with. Something like 'Meet' that was a bit more warm. Then he'd develop the visual expression of that brand. Simple.

That was me told, then.

Then he did an hour on 'Red. The Old Black' and another on 'The Hierarchy Of Digital Kitsch' and I wanted to kill myself, him, everyone in the room, and everyone outside the room.

Lesson learned, then. Designers are cunts. Or I should avoid similar events in the future. And unless there's booze on offer, I will.

Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!

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