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Speaker Spotlight: Emma Booty, The Body Shop

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What makes a brand iconic?

This phrase is quite toxic for me. Should a brand ever become or aspire to be an icon? Icons are religious symbols and pieces of historical art, distillations of promise and hope, glittering in dark days. An iconic brand has this ability to shine through the fog, it pings our heart strings, shows us 'a better way to be' and probably given us something we never knew we needed. We also come to adore the brand beyond what we know best and, dangerously, start to forgive it its flaws. Once we come to realize it has become iconic the ball game changes profoundly: to be such a brand and business carries extraordinary social and ethical responsibility whether the following is a niche handful or global millions. The theology story rings true. Let us not forget that all businesses, even with the best will in the world, need money at its center to survive. Plus, in the most part they are unregulated.

Why should design be infused into every part of an organization?

As a designer, I find it hard to comprehend how a business would survive for long without it. From the design of the organizational structure to the design of products or services that are its business or the design of the interface to its audiences. Surely, fundamental to any business plan?

Obviously design thinking is not the sole property for those of us who use it as our handle, yet I do strongly believe a design and creative lead at the top table of a business, at the heart of a company, is the healthiest one. Someone who can use words such as ‘feel’ and with authority in a board meeting. Emulsifying the emotional side of any vibrant, culturally-nuanced brand with its business imperatives is the essential mix for success.

Boiling it down to a more basic level, ensuring it’s a company of people with not just one way of seeing, thinking and expressing themselves – valuing these opinions equally and bringing focus towards a common purpose are the key principles of design.

What is the biggest design trend of 2018?

The breaking down of gender barriers allowing us to finally move on from hackneyed visual cues. As it turns out these cues of sex were being much abused (allegedly). We’ve also seen rainbows. Above the institutional stalwarts, such as the Cabinet Office in London and Coutts Private Banking offices, numerous creative, smart and altruistic brand campaigns for gay pride, Burberry’s sublime ‘rainbow check’ tartan, ’Type with Pride’ free font. Flags flying for hope and freedom – above fear and phobia.

What do you think will be the biggest design trend of 2019?

Morality. And moving on from our plastic packaging badland.

What are you most excited for at FUSE Europe?

Both contrasting and collegiate ideas, not a design monoculture but an enlightened, enriching and forward-facing one.

Want more from Emma? Don’t miss her FUSE Europe session on October 30th at 13:30 in Amsterdam. For more information about FUSE Europe or to register, click here.

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