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Design vs Systems Thinking

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An aspect of design I enjoy the most is the process of learning by doing – or in other terms – to make sense of my thinking and see it unfold in the process. Breaking down the world of design or a specific brief – sometimes a task in itself – is a studious journey and can reveal a mosaic of interconnected pieces that construct a functional volume that is greater than that of the individual assets. Ultimately, this is where the balance between creative thinking and Systems Thinking join powers, and one of the greatest ever challenges for contemporary creatives is born.

When to use Systems Thinking

Systems Thinking has historically been the amalgamation of theory and practice, and as design boasts a systematic approach to problem solving, the two have been matched perfectly to generate aesthetics and solutions alike. The relationship of these two is not a rigid one. It ought to manifest and alternate in a variety of ways to apply itself flexibly to a design process; discovering, defining and developing the collective exchange of elements to inform design behaviour. This organic process – in the case of creating a new brand particularly – is agile and multi-layered; it depends and flourishes on putting the focus on the entire ecosystem as opposed to prioritising solely on the end user. Currently, the demands of a brand and its behaviour are far greater than ever before and that’s how Systems Thinking facilitates the process and its sustenance.

Steps to creating a brand

When creating a new brand; the possibilities are limitless and so are the responsibilities.

A brand equates to several components, chief amongst them a memorable and meaningful name, a significant positioning rooted in “good ol’ strategy”, a strong purpose which often sets the mood for a brand’s behaviour, an effortless application of creative principles, and last but not least, the alluring and quintessential tone of voice. These are a few elements that help create a brand and are systematically interconnected to offer succinct communication and promotion of said brand. These also create brand loyalty and fulfil its performance as it evolves, changes, and adapts. Such elements cannot be skipped for they are interdependent, they cannot be replaced or missed as they would consequently act as a collection of parts, not a methodical design system.

For many years we’ve discussed the importance of a brand’s holistic function and a solid relationship between these components is what drives it to conquer or collapse. All such systems have an unquestionable purpose and that is the ability to observe from a broader point of view, to function based on patterns, trends, conditions and events, as well as to give birth to a stronger brand.

Impact of design on brands

Consistent use and creative application of a brand’s design system will help define decisions and resolve new challenges.

For instance, a strong and effective tone of voice will enable the brand to create intrigue, clarify a point, target one group over the other, even pardon the brand from a misinformed decision; but it will not be enough without all other brand components. At length, consumers examine a brand in detail, therefore a brand needs to apply systematic and thorough thinking in everything they do to improve the bond they share with people.

Brands that get it right will find themselves narrating beautiful stories, existing with a purpose, outlining their function and creating an everlasting presence that is systematically updated into consumers’ lives but also creatively penetrating their minds and heart in relevant ways.


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