Magazine article Marketing

Graphic Disciplines Break Boundaries

Magazine article Marketing

Graphic Disciplines Break Boundaries

Article excerpt

Agencies are blurring the lines of corporate identity, packaging and literature to broaden their appeal

There is an argument that the old boundaries between graphic disciplines are becoming meaningless. The corporate identity table implies a story of healthy growth, but where does corporate identity or packaging end and corporate literature begin in a brand-dominated world?

Enterprise IG once again tops the corporate identity table, having boosted its turnover this year by a whopping [pounds]11m. But while you would think Enterprise IG would do the odd bit of packaging or corporate literature work, it does not break down its turnover beyond corporate identity.

The rash of mergers and acquisitions is further muddying the waters. FutureBrand, a newcomer to the charts this year, attributes [pounds]9m of its [pounds]15m work to corporate identity and the rest to packaging. But last year, one of FutureBrand's constituent parts, Diefenbach Elkins Davies Baron--the other part was packaging specialist Coleman Planet -- would almost certainly have featured as a corporate literature designer.

Broadening horizons

Wolff Olins, one of the few independents in the field, which remains third in the corporate identity table, declines to break down its work into categories. "What we do is invent and reinvent brands; to try to change the way people feel and respond to a company," says MD Charles Wright. "We don't want to be pigeonholed as corporate identity specialists."

To maintain growth and resist the attentions of predators, Wolff Olins needs a broad appeal, not a specialist label that limits its market.

Aziz Cami, managing partner of The Partners, another of the graphics- focused independents considered ripe for acquisition, faces a similar dilemma. Seventh in the table with a mere 75 staff, The Partners remains a minnow compared with the international big fish. Turnover is slightly down on last year's figure, but Cami rebuts the charge that The Partners is getting too small to compete.

Cami is putting his faith in growing a network of like-minded partners, a strategy he believes has shifted the appeal of the company. "We've developed skills by working alongside experts in other fields -- ad agencies, brand specialists, technology people, product designers," says Cami.

"People told us it wasn't possible to be big and creative or to be nimble enough to do big and small jobs, but we've already proved them wrong over the past couple of years," he says, citing the agency's work with Wedgwood as an example of this holistic approach. …

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