Examples of brilliant design are like the proverbial hen’s teeth and result
from a process as challenging as in any other creative discipline, says
WPP’s worldwide creative director John O’Keeffe. Here's a selection of eye-catching recent work from Group companies
Designed to impress
One of the major attractions for me, a long time dyed in the wool adman, in joining WPP, was the chance to meet and work with many of the world's leading designers. Over the years I had seen - and of course been jealous of (a creative's prerogative) - much of the output of, for example, Rodney Fitch and Lambie-Nairn. I sometimes wondered whether I had taken the wrong career path, whether it was more fun and perhaps less complex in design than in my own discipline.
Something I was often told, in that previous life, was that design and designers often got to higher tables with clients, than their advertising colleagues.
Thus, some would have you believe, designers had it easy, and got to make all those beautiful things: a new identity; a wonderful experiential retail presence; or a whole host of other amazing things, with less of the compromise and general grief (on both sides) that sometimes attends advertising for example.
Well, I have now had those meetings with our top designers. Craig Branigan, chairman and CEO of WPP's B to D Group, invited me to their CEOs meeting, where I was put straight on a number of issues.
They have to work just as hard as anyone else to win business. They have to find the insights, do the research, persuade the clients, and all the other things necessary before you can start to create something worthwhile.
But what one is left with is, as ever, the work. And what work it is. D&AD Black Pencils (or hen's teeth as they're sometimes known), and Cannes Golds don't lie. Three pages in The WIRE
can't begin to do it justice. I'd recommend anyone to look at our design companies websites, just to recharge your creative batteries.
I was told that, as a percentage of WPP revenue, design is not as big as certain other disciplines. All I would say is that, as a percentage of WPP's creative reputation, it is the equal of anything else we do, and WPP is rightly incredibly proud of every one of its design businesses.
Source: The WIRE - Issue 32