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Musings From a FUSE Rookie

We all interface with the world of brands and design with consistent and calculated intent.  Whether it’s savoring every sip of our Stumptown cup o’ joe, lacing up our favorite pair of Hoka One Ones, or noshing on a cup of strawberry-infused Chobani, we all interact with a variety of brands on a daily basis. This means we are constantly making emotional choices, formulating new opinions, and at times, expressing our brand-loyalty with fervor.

En masse, we don’t typically consider the underpinnings of strategy leading us to those brands; the purposeful thinking laying the groundwork for the connections (and re connections) we have.

At this year’s FUSE design conference, I had the opportunity to dive deep into brand strategy and the power of thoughtful, strategy-driven design in building and maintaining brands. I took a peek inside the brilliant minds of the game-changers, disrupters, and creative geniuses who are changing the purpose of brands and the way we humans interact with them.

The topics presented were as diverse as they were relevant – a few common themes rose to the top: we need thoughtful Design more than ever. Design that is mindful of the full human experience; with all of its flaws and vulnerabilities, but also with all of its innate altruism and good intent. Design that is respectful, but with a sense of humor and imagination. Design that is steeped in research and data, but also resonant with the experiences of our global, multi-cultural community.

As Leland Maschmeyer, Chief Creative Director at Chobani, shared, “A company, a brand, is a product of a culture”. And thus, the thoughtful design behind that brand should aptly reflect the culture and the people it interacts with.

muse

Leland Maschmeyer, Chief Creative Director, Chobani

on the impact of design within cultural progress

As stewards of strategic design, particularly in this age of digital data and analytics, we must tether our strategy, our output, our artistry to the advancement of the human movement. “It’s not about tech; it’s about how it improves people’s lives,” Robert Wong, VP of Google Creative Labs.

There is no question that data and technology play an integral role in cultural progress. As a result, it is more important than ever that we apply meaningful design and purposeful strategy to these digital platforms.

As the sun sets on FUSE 2018 and I reflect back on my time here: the stories and perspectives shared, philosophies challenged, knowledge bestowed; I’m reminded why we do what we do – as champions of design we can truly serve as catalysts for change; connecting brands and humans in meaningful, purposeful, and authentic ways.

Thank you to all of the speakers and storytellers for sharing your perspectives. This was my first trip to FUSE, but it will certainly not be my last.

Aout the Author:

Kelly Leighton

Vice President, Client Experience

Capsule, Research + Design

First-time FUSE attendee + Fellow Brand Nerd

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