Tags: Art Direction and Design, Graphic Design, Identity, Strategic Communication, Strategy and Design Thinking, Web design
Web developer: Anton Feijoo-Montenegro
Web developer: Anton Feijoo-Montenegro
People tend to see design as an industry that is closer to art than to business. Everyone understands marketing as the promotion of a business or its products because it has a measurable impact. Marketeers talk in numbers. But the economic impact of design, on the other hand, is much more difficult to measure. Our challenge, therefore, was twofold: to measure and define the economic impact of design – how it adds value to a company and by how much – as well as strengthening our perception as an agency. Folch is constantly evolving, moving away from the creative world and closer to the world of business, adding value through creativity and leaving a quantitative as well as qualitative footprint.
“Design is one of the best ways of creating extra value for products and services. At this point creativity has become crucial to business, but many companies still don’t realise this. So, our first mission should be to measure it and to make people conscious of the impact of design and creativity on business.”
Rafa Martínez, COO & Head of Brand Strategy, Folch
As the spanish design sector continues to grow at lightening speed, so too does its global reputation and contribution to the country’s economy. In light of this, the Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades, BCD (Barcelona Centro de Diseño) and READ (Red Española de Asociaciones de Diseño) decided to collaborate to develop a map offering a 360º vision of Spain’s design industry: “Ecosistema de Diseño Español“. The three collaborators made an open call for the development of the graphic identity, logo design and web applications, as well as a digital platform for data collection and the visualization of results. Organised by AGD_FAD, we presented our portfolio to a board of experts in the design industry and were finally selected as the winning agency.
“The Secretary of State for Universities, Research, Development and Innovation celebrates that in Spain there is a fertile Design community, which contributes to the creation of economic and social value. Initiatives such as this report and design map in Spain are important to make visible the richness of our Design Ecosystem. ”
Secretary of State for Universities, Research, Development and Innovation
The initiative aims to give visibility to design agencies, professional and business associations, events, fairs, awards, media and museums, as well as training, promotion and exhibition centers. This is the first time anyone has developed a 360º overview of the economic impact of the design sector. Before now, local communities had published individual reports but they failed to capture the collective impact of design across Spain. “Ecosistema de Diseño Español” marked a transition to a nation-wide digital vision.
“After carrying out a “project call”, a committee of experts formed by the Ministry, READ and BCD selected Folch Studio for its innovative vision of visual communication. Because of its ability to address complex projects, generating relevant content through strategic narrative. Its versatility, the visual language it uses, as well as the impact generated by its projects.”
Barcelona Centro de Diseño
The first step was to design a graphic identity. We didn’t want to start with a rigid, restricted identity. Just as the Spanish design ecosystem grows, adapts, transforms and evolves, so too does the graphic identity. We wanted something simple and geometric, but also playful. The typography fits neatly inside a variety of geometric shapes. The feeling we wanted to convey was something accessible, versatile and universal. We decided to use a simple black and white colour scheme, focusing on the data, with bright colours adding a secondary layer to guide the user through the website.
“For the look and feel we wanted to give the impression of a flat document. Using a “raw” style we give importance to the data, avoiding any superficial effects.”
Josep Puy, Art Director and Senior Designer, Folch
The next step was to gather the data. Based on the Design4Innovation model, we created a digital questionnaire to be distributed by READ, the Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades, and BCD as well as through various design institutions and collectives across the country. Gathering information from companies about their business, speciality, clients, team, academic backgrounds, location, income, and much more, we started to build up a comprehensive ecosystem for the spanish design industry. What weight does design have in Spain? How does the community look? How visible are we as designers to the business sector, the government and to wider civil society?
The questionnaire was targeted towards designers so in terms of design, it had to be far from the classic format. We wanted the design to be simple, interactive, and fun . The resulting layout is clean, fresh, and geometric. A flexible and contemporary modular system shows the construction and multiplicity of disciplines across the design field. The user can interact with certain elements of the website which provides feedback between the various disciplines and the ecosystem as a whole. We had to make it as engaging and user friendly as possible. For this reason, the cursor becomes a colourful dot, providing specific calls to action when hovering over certain areas, buttons, sliders or indicators.
The website needed to communicate clearly and concisely the vast amount of data that we had collected. We needed to quantify that data and clearly identify specific areas of interest. The information was key so the design had to remain fairly neutral. With every decision we had to allow for the continuous evolution of the system and easy adaptation, so we implemented a flexible and dynamic design to allow for continuous updating as the sector continues to evolve and expand and more data is collected and input into the backend of the website.
“Winning the responsibility for this project was a great honour. The main challenge that followed was that we essentially had to design a platform for designers about design!”
Elena Qureshi, Project Manager, Folch
“The web platform conceived by the driving team and designed and developed by Folch Studio is a tool that today gives us a lot of information in an attractive, understandable and open way and, in addition, has been prepared for new iterations that will allow us to complete and keep updated the quantification of the design sector in Spain. “
Teresa Jular, READ Presidency (Spanish Network of Design Associations)
Using clean, geometric visual language allowed us to make sense of complex data, while splashes of bright colour add a certain character and impact, as well as highlighting any key data, facts or statistics. The website includes a repositorio or archive of a list of previous reports from various institutions and design associations. As well as the digital ecosystem, we designed a printed version with additional information which is available to be downloaded from the website.