Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Love and design, design and love

Putting the words 'love' and 'design' together on the cover of a book is sure to grab my attention. That’s exactly what Robert Brunner did with his compelling title Do You Matter?, and less compelling sub-title, How great design will make people love your company. As a huge advocate of the connections between design and Lovemarks I was keen to hear what someone else had to say on the subject. You probably best know Brunner for his work as Director of Industrial Design at Apple Computer in the late eighties and nineties. He was the guy who designed the original PowerBook and was followed in the job by design genius Jonathan Ive.

But when you write a book about design, you have to expect people to leap onto your own design. This book seems to me rather severe with its big type inserts and seventies style orange cover. In fact, it looks as if it leapt out of the Attention Economy - ready for action - rather than being part of the Attraction Economy where listening and observation can bring writers and designers closer to readers. Despite the assertive look of his book, Brunner totally gets the importance of design to the Lovemarks effect and uses many of the Lovemarks I talk about in my own books. Harley Davidson, Whole Foods and Jones Soda all get a mention. The connection between great design and the future beyond brands has always been central to the story of Lovemarks, so it’s great to see the story filled out by someone who helped write it.

Many of the examples come from Apple and that’s ok. Apple is a Lovemarks company – check out www.lovemarks.com for proof. They’re an important model but sometimes I think we should take on the challenge of discussing design, institutionalized innovation and committed customers without using a single Apple example. Is that the impossible challenge of our era? Can we think outside those glamorous white and black boxes?