How brands are missing out on the full potential of their design strategies

When two of India’s leading design professionals get together, there are several learnings from their candid conversation. Adgully’s special Webinar as part of the Strategic Moves Series turned the spotlight on ‘Business of Design’ with Lulu Raghavan, Managing Director, Landor, and Ashwini Deshpande, Co-Founder, Director, Elephant Design. Pooja Jauhari, CEO, The Glitch, moderated the session.

The discussions started with the two experts giving an indepth understanding of the different disciplines in design. Deshpande provided a very classic definition of design, emphasising that “design is actually a human-centred process, which is finding solutions based on people’s needs, possibilities of technology, and business feasibility.”

Confessing that she was a huge evangelist for design overall, specifically in India, Raghavan also added, “I think we have a long way to go in truly recognising the role that design can play in creating tremendous business value. There is so much beyond just product design; there is customer experience design, environment design, space design, workplace design, UI and UX design.”

Thus, it is important for people to think beyond logo, because for a large client group, the marketing group design is equal to logo. So, let’s go and think beyond logos and labels, Raghavan urged.

The panellists touched upon different aspects of how design as a business is evolving. Some of the areas that came up for discussion were:

  • Career path that one can pursue in the design space and how one can grow into a great leader
  • The opportunities available in design and how one can start a career in design career
  • How the design business is getting impacted during the COVID-19 period and what does the post COVID-19 world look like from a design perspective
  • The kind of skillsets one should possess to enter the design industry
  • Interesting examples of some good branding strategies by Indian brands

According to Raghavan, when it comes to design, one has to think more expansively and expand the meaning and value of design in our minds. “Design is an incredibly valuable business tool. Design is not aesthetics, but an added value to the business, which can be an incredible asset,” she affirmed. An interesting example that she cited was how design centric companies with best practices in design management in the US are garnering great returns amongst several other companies.

For Deshpande, design is not an arrangement or rearrangement of forms, colours, words. She emphasised, “Design is a deliberate plan to build experiences based on people’s needs, and people’s behaviour. And I think behaviour is what will mostly change in the coming days. And that’s really what we need to focus on. Besides, there should be empathy, curiosity and creativity to build scenarios.”

Businesses will need to add the business angle and balance the art and craft of creativity with business value and definitely bring in diplomacy to the business of design.


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