August 2017
Why Design - Questions and Answers

Jeffrey Spear - President, Studio Spear

Jeff Spear

No matter the venue, questions about design and branding come up on a regular basis. These are a few of the insights I regularly share with audiences and clients around the world.


What is the role of design in marketing?
Design is a necessary business tool. It strategically and efficiently helps buyers understand what a business has to offer, communicates credibility, appeals to the emotions and compels both inquiry and, ultimately, sales.

How should a brand manager or marketing director go about selecting a design resource?
Most designers know how to walk the walk and talk the talk. That being said, they are not created equally. It is important to look beyond an impressive portfolio. During the selection process, ask for statistical proof of performance. Make sure the company can quantify performance in terms of strategic intent, tactical response, and statistical return on investment.

How can a marketer place value on design investments?
No matter how much money is being spent, savvy marketers will track activity and calculate return on investment. Collecting data such as web hits, coupon redemptions, requests for quotes, numbers of phone calls, sales spikes, etc. are all ways to measure performance. If nothing else, year to year comparisons are a good way to quantify performance and validate marketing expenditures.

What methodologies can be implemented to enhance the relationship between the designer and client?
While enjoying each other’s company is a good start, you also want to be sure that, for every engagement, the scope of work is fully defined in a signed work agreement and you’ve clearly communicated expectations through a creative brief. You also want to define ownership of final products (in terms of copyright, patents, intellectual property, work-for-hire, etc.) so that, should the relationship deteriorate, everyone knows who gets what.

What makes for good design?
As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I believe good design is always elegant and beautiful. It is also functional, emotionally appealing and desirable. From a business perspective, it satisfies an agenda and it always sells.

How important is a well-defined strategy in advance of design?
If you don’t care where you end up, you don’t need a map. I am a staunch advocate of thorough research, insightful evaluations and strategically planned marketing activities. This is the reason Studio Spear’s work has performed so well for our clients for so many years.

If there were only one recommendation you could make, what would it be?
There are two… and they are related. The first is to clearly communicate your business goals. When everyone is working towards a mutually understood and agreed upon objective and the parameters are well defined, it eliminates the potential for conflict. The second is to set expectations. As I said earlier, defining the scope of work in advance, and having a creative brief, makes the collaborative process much more productive, impactful and satisfying.


If the time has come to overhaul, update and re-invigorate your brand image, or you'd like to change up your marketing program, please call 904 685 2135 - ask for Jeff Spear. You can also contact Jeff via email:

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