Design as a driver of cultural relevance

It’s a difficult question that brands face all the time. How to stay relevant and keep the attention of consumers whose needs, expectations and wants change more and more quickly with each moment. In a world of 10-second snaps and same day delivery, attention spans are short, and product lifecycles often prohibit brands from evolving at the rate of consumer demand. How can brands maintain a fresh and trend-forward product experience without the high investment costs and long lead times of the standard development cycle?

Leveraging design as a channel for more “of the moment” brand expression is a smart way to give brands reach, generating excitement and engagement through participation in a broader world of cultural, fashion, food and lifestyle movements.

Limited Edition design inspiration boards

Limited Edition design inspiration boards

Design inspiration board

Great design has the power to elicit an immediate, visceral reaction from the consumer, and Limited Edition collections allow brands to leverage trend-forward design in order to spark social conversations. At Ready366 we’ve done extensive work in Limited Editions and see them as great way to drive brand engagement and reappraisal. Here are some of our key takeaways and best practices for their development:

Understand macro trends. Great design perfectly captures the mood and larger zeitgeist we live in. That’s why we always start with understanding the drivers behind societal and cultural developments, such as fundamental mindset shifts, changes in socio-political attitudes and resulting behaviors. When we truly engage with what people are about at these days, any work following becomes richer and more meaningful.

Look to prestige industries. Creating designs that engage is not simply about fitting a trend, it’s about leading with vision and alluring with a new worldview – big or small but always creating a certain “je ne sais quoi”. High-end fashion, art and beauty are the leaders in this field and always provide us with progressive ideas and amazing inspiration that spurs our creativity and originality like no other.  

Make it your own. Once the creative juices are flowing, there’s no looking like someone else - there’s only designing from the authentic self. We try to   stay in that zone and avoid – at all costs – the copycat trap. When we come together for “crits”, we surely “criticize” the work - we rip it apart, and we crash test it for commercial potential, but we try to never shred its integrity, the soul of its design.

See nature as stimulant. Often underestimated or taken for granted, nature is one of the most powerful forces in our everyday lives. Think about it – the biggest trigger to change our wardrobes, eat different foods, and experience different desires and feelings is the changing of the seasons. And, since what matters to us, matters to design, nature can be a great spark.

Connect to your brand. While designing with inspiration and authenticity is important, designing for brand meaning and equity is essential. Just like an architect works for a homeowner making sure the home reflects his/her being and personality, a designer works for a brand - and its identity and character. Knowing what the brand stands for – or what it wants to stand for in culture today and tomorrow – is the key to designing relevance.


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