Backgrounds | 10.08.2021 |

The Design Commission – Working together for goal-oriented project development

For a long time, the model of traditional collaboration with clients was that coordination in the project focused on communication between the agency and the contact persons in the company or public institution. On the agency side, the managing director and/or creative director assisted the contact persons. Originally, the cooperation with the clients was structured in such a way that after an extended briefing meeting, work could begin and concepts or results could be presented to the client at predefined timings. Most of the time, presentations on our part ended with the sentence: “We’ll send you the presentation and then we’ll make an appointment for the next steps.” – What happened next with the drafts in the company was often difficult for us as an agency to comprehend, or difficult for the customer to fully and transparently convey.

We often came to the point where the contact persons had to pass on feedback that was representative of the opinions and suggestions of various employees in the company. On both sides, this created a hurdle through which wishes and ideas could be insufficiently formulated and passed on. In the worst case, it would be almost impossible to avoid rounds of corrections or additional work on the part of both contracting parties. These were reflected in the project budget and were lacking in other important positions in the further course of the project.

Our solution: A comprehensive analysis of the requirements for a corporate design (What does the new design have to be able to do?) in combination with the input of a design commission leads to an individual and functioning result that gives the company the potential to achieve its individual goals.

Formation of the design commission

Since the beginning of 2019, we have tried to optimize the communication processes with our customers in a consistent manner. This required transparent communication of predefined steps with predefined people or departments in the company. We introduced the model “The Design Commission” by Rayan Abdullah & Steffen J√§nicke, for this purpose. A design commission is created directly at the start of a project and is given various tasks. The participants consist of 3 different stakeholders: The planners, the decision makers and the users of a CD.

  • Planners keep an eye on the strategic goals of the transformation and their fulfillment.
  • Decision-makers have powers that are instrumental in advancing the development of the project. These powers may be conditioned by position in the company or by the promotional nature of a carrier.
  • Users are all actors in the company who are directly affected by the transformation: Marketing, sales, designers or the nice gentleman at the reception.

Furthermore, external impulse providers such as consultants, insiders or customers can become part of the commission.

The design commission can be flexibly involved before the project starts in strategic workshops, joint discussions or in the design phase. Important impulses from the relevant areas can thus be collected and processed.

Whether it’s technical details for implementation in Microsoft Office applications or the basic aesthetic building blocks of the customer’s target group – the involvement of a broad spectrum of employees allows the day-to-day requirements of a new brand concept or corporate design to be optimally conveyed. It is often these influences that subsequently determine whether a corporate design will find the planned application or will be subject to changes and unforeseen influences shortly after roll-out.

Another important aspect is the participation of the commission in each of the important project phases: The identification of the participants with the outcome of the process is strengthened through co-determination and transparency. The communication of change is thus transformed from a “top down” process to a development from the middle out. Through the identification of the employees, an authentic identity of the company is created, which can lead to far more than the positive effect of, for example, a new logo.


Projekt zur Story: Ruhr trifft Herz. Schwerte und Florida gestalten das neue Stadtmarketing.



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