Alex Center was one of the presenters at the recent Dieline summit in Paris. What follows is a very basic summary of what we came away from his presentation with
He feels we are in a golden age of design. And design is all about people. The brand has become the package, and the package is the brand.
“Branding is for cows, stories are for people.” People want to be romanced. They have a need to see purpose, personality, and passion in a brand. A brand is a feeling, which is not owned by the company, it is in the consumer. The brand is the relationship with the consumer, and the design establishes that relationship.
“Packaging is for people, not for products.” If it connects with people (via story telling) the value of the band/relationship will increase many-fold.
“In-house is no outhouse.” Design thinking will solve business problems, because a product that is well designed will sell itself. Therefore, in the future all companies will become design companies. This will give rise to the CDO (Chief Design Officer).
“Designers belong in the boardroom.” This is because designers think about people, and people respond to, and remember, stories. Therefore the future belongs to storytellers who understand the hero’s journey. In the future the brand is no longer the hero of the story.
“The future of packaging is personal.” He gave numerous examples of how design has been personalized. One example was Coca-Cola bottles where an algorithm was used to vary designs to create millions of individualized variations.
It was an exciting and eye opening talk. We are still digesting the deeper meanings of story and relationship. His simple statements speak to big ideas and the drastic changes that are taking place in packaging.