World Architecture Festival 2018
Defakto Mitternacht Dialog

A welcome detour into design consulting

Gratuitous Dieter Rams picture

Have you ever done something that wasn't part of your usual work, but made you think "I really enjoy this kind of thing"? I've just finished something very much along those lines.

A few months ago I was asked by a company based in Europe to help design a new brand identity, and also help them work on brand development. I was flattered to be asked, and tempted to do the design, but I'd decided to step away from design work back in March, so I politely turned down the offer and wished them well.

The lady heading the company said she understood, then a month later contacted me again to ask me for my opinion on the direction the design (by another designer) was going. She offered to pay me for my opinion, I said I'd be happy to have a look, and asked for more information.

I should say at this point that the company was a dream to work with: they sent all the relevant information, including a design brief, and nobody was looking to say the design wasn't good or bad mouth the designer in any way. All they wanted (including the designer, I discovered) was an impartial opinion before launching.

After reading the information and looking at the design, I couldn't help but love it. I can't share it here (maybe later) but it's beautifully designed and perfect for the brand.

After I had given my opinion, they picked up on a couple of points I'd made and asked to extend my "consultant" role into some advice and thoughts on the brand development.

I loved it.

I wasn't attached to the design or the company in any way, so I could freely express an unbiased opinion, which also allowed me to see things the client and designer had overlooked. They're things I probably would have overlooked if I'd been the designer.

A path to consider?

This was a new role for me, and one that I relished. I'm not even sure if this kind of "design consulting" exists, but maybe it should.

Whether it exists or not, it's something I'd like to do more of in the future.

In looking at the details from all sides, and exploring different points of view, I got to use the skills I gained through studying and writing about law. Through looking at the design and considering other images and deliverables, I got to use the skills I've developed through design and brand development work. And through helping with things like tone of voice and copywriting, I got to put my experience as a writer and editor to use.

In short, it touched on everything I love and the skills I have to offer. For that reason, it was pretty much a perfect project to work on.

And I'm certainly open to working on more projects like it in the future! It's also something I'm considering offering when I add the services section to the site again.

Does that sound like something you need?

Aside from that, what's your idea of the perfect project?

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