Frilly Lizards’ Thoughts


Inspiration & Feedback on Art & Design. Please participate, share your views on any works of art or design; the artists and designers work you admire that give you inspiration in which ever form or discipline. Thanks you for taking time to read this. I’m interested to hear everyone’s opinion please share yours.

Liverpool Design Symposium ’09

Yesterday I attended the Liverpool Design Symposium, initially I was a little intimidated and unsure of what to expect (when I booked the tickets and registered I was unsure if anyone I knew was attending), but such is life, my rule in life is to have a go, if you don’t try it how can you have a realist opinion and view about it. So with this in mind I booked and headed off on my own to embrace the career path I hopefully will be entering should I be fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to continue.

Whilst waiting for the talk I’d registered into I wandered around and found a magazine for The Chip Shop Awards highly amusing and worth a look, some very clever and simple entries, have a look.

The first talk I attended was by Ian Thompson-Creative Director Thompson Brand Partners, Leeds.

The Liverpool Design Symposium website gave the following description of Ian:

Ian Thompson

Ian is the founder of Thompson and has been in charge since its inception in 1984. From the outset, his specific expertise has undeniably been in brand development.
He has accumulated experience in a fairly broad range of sectors – from financial brands such as HBOS, Barclays and National Australia Bank Group, to retailers like Harvey Nichols, The Arcadia Group and Debenhams.
He also enjoys the particularly complex branding issues of the public sector, and has worked for The Department of Health, Regional Development Agency, Yorkshire Forward and more recently NHS Direct and standards Board for England. On the business to business front, Ian has managed the brand roll-outs for global healthcare company Smith and Nephew and has developed the brand for furniture group Symphony.
Ian is still an active designer and is a campaigner for the power of design in business, especially in Yorkshire and his hometown of Leeds.
Ian sits on the board of Metal, a major Arts company headed up by Artistic Director Jude Kelly OBE. He has also spearheaded re-brands for West Yorkshire Playhouse, Watford Palace Theatre, Northern Ballet Theatre and Phoenix Dance Theatre. He also played a role in the 2012 London Olympic bid, developing the proposition for the Culture and Education section.
More recently Ian has headed up branding programmes for ‘Inspired’ The Science Museum Swindon, The Dartington Trust, Robert Horne Group, and The National Media Museum. He is currently developing the brand for London’s Southbank Centre.

What to expect…

How to make good money doing what you love.
Designing effectively to get the best jobs.
This session is all about getting all your skills and passion focussed in one direction –designing effectively.
As designers, we’d all like to work for the best companies, on the best projects, for the most high profile clients, with the most creative briefs. Well, it does happen. But the people who get there all understand one key thing – that the companies who pay good money for design want results, results, results. And, they’re usually financial ones. And if you’re thinking that all your creativity will be squashed flat by the need to be financially driven, think again. The companies who commission the most design often demand the highest creative standards because they often understand that it’s the best way to differentiate their products and services.
Using examples from several major design consultancies, this talk will give you a real understanding of how design works in the world of business and how to get your own way when you want that great idea to really happen.
Oh, and it’s pretty good stuff to know when you’re out there looking for a job.

Ian covered why companies should invest in design, he used various case studies to strengthen his argument explaining that this is the process he uses to show clients how effective design can have a strong influence on the success of a business/product.

  • Firstly identify the problem.
  • Secondly outline the primary and secondary objectives, using the SWOT method – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

Ian used a live case study and showed the target numbers initially forecast by the client against the achieved numbers actually achieved.

  • Yr1 – Target 65,000
  • Yr1 – Achieved 110,000
  • Yr2 – Target 110,000
  • Yr2 – Acheived 136,000
  • Yr3 – Target 140,000
  • Yr3 – 25% ahead of target forecast estimate 175,000.

Ian then continued to discuss re articulating the brand, explaining the most valuable aspect is to create the clients own territory. The most successful re branding is often very subtle and the retail outlet often allocate more space to new or re branded products the example shown was Durex and Durex ‘Play’. The re branding costs were recuperated by the client in 5 days.

So how do you make money?

What are employers looking for in an employee?

  • An insatiable desire to learn
  • Freshness
  • Skills, skills and more skills
  • An idea of what you can bring to them NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.
  • A willingness to work
  • No fear of doing the boring stuff for a while
  • An outlining understanding of why people pay us.
  • Be interested in the world not just design
  • Demonstrate real interest
  • Show your self sufficient
  • Ask questions
  • Want your work to be effective

We were left with two quotes (not Ian’s):

‘Genius is excellence plus constraints’

‘Quality is the best business plan’

Ian finished with some advice on portfolios he explained that presentation is everything and a narrative is important.

The second talk I attended was by Andy ChambersDirector, Digit, London

The Liverpool Design Symposium website gave the following description of Andy:


Andy Chambers is co-Founder of Digit, one of the UK’s longest established digital design companies, now part of the WPP Group.
Andy’s experience in Brand Development dates back to his early professional experience at Sainsbury’s during the early 1980’s where he worked in their new store and hypermarket offerings. He also developed a deep understanding of consumer behaviour from the emerging use of loyalty data, launching the UK’s first Store loyalty card. Subsequent international experience gained at IBM afforded Andy the opportunity to work with many of the world’s leading Brands advising them in all aspects of how technology acts as a channel to understand people’s reaction to, and requirements of, a Brand.
Most recently Digit has been working closely with a number of leading Brands including MSN, Shell and Marks & Spencer on the next generation of online Brand identity and the role of content in building Brand equity and most importantly Brand reach to increasingly savvy & demanding consumers. Andy is a passionate believer in the role consumers play in promoting the Brands that they love and their increasing influence in shaping the behaviour of Brands they want to be better. He is a twice-BAFTA winner for pioneering online work launching MTV2’s Brand identity, for online design for Habitat and a D&AD Black Pencil holder for the National Gallery’s Grand Tour.

What to expect…

Why Brands must be in flux to be interesting.

Andy started his talk explaining the companies’ philosophy ‘Simple Human Interaction’ but highlighting that technology will always let you down be prepared, keep it simple and make the moment of interaction matter.


Filed under: Professional Practice

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