Thoughts on branding, innovation and design thinking

Why do we create designs, and who are they for? This was an early question in my student days. I was first taught a bit about branding as an industrial design student in 1998, and very soon wanted to see how design and design thinking can foster innovation and build strong brands. This has increasingly been a passion for me, and was a basis for the PhD I completed ten years later.

In 1998, I was in my third year as an industrial design student. As many students, I felt a bit lost and had started to wonder whether I should quit industrial design and find another field of study. Throughout the course we were asked to design products, but there was little information about why should design these, for whom and which context they should be part of. Then I was introduced to brand building, and finally things started to make sense. The design process got purpose and it was about building a meaningful story for those that we were designing for. It was about understanding the products as part of an ongoing story which the company orchestrates and adds value to, but also to bring emotional values and cultural identity to people you design for.

It is 20 years since I first found my passion in this field. Since then, industrial design has moved into different fields such as interaction design, service design, and it is opening up for designing strategies and organisation. I’m still intrigued and fascinated by the relationship between branding, innovation and design thinking. In my consultancy, Brand Valley, we learn something new every day through consultancy work and engaging with students at universities like Central Saint Martins and the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) make it possible for me to share my passion, as well as getting new perspectives on this field. In this space I will share some of my lectures throughout the year.