Meet the team – Manny Dhanda
Manny joined us just over a year ago as our lead brand designer, bringing with him his 10 years of experience working with brands, his industry knowledge, and Rya, his Golden Retriever who attends every meeting from her sofa behind his desk.
In this article, Manny talks to us about how he entered the world of design in a turn of fate, the parts of design he finds most challenging, what he enjoys most, and the importance of a brand-led approach.
So why design?
Brace yourself for an age-old cliché; I have always been interested in design, I just didn’t know it, strangely. My childhood is littered with stories of how I would deconstruct household items and then unsuccessfully put them back together. During my formative years at school, I always found the creative subjects more enjoyable. I was lucky enough to have a couple of very talented and passionate teachers in Fine Art and Design, who really pushed me towards a career in the design industry.
I studied Industrial Design at University and then faced with the challenge, as many are, of trying to work out how I could enter the world of work, I landed my first role as an Account Executive at a creative agency. The Senior Designer at the time took a couple of weeks holiday, I picked up the work and loved every second of it. I’d found something I loved and I’ve never looked back since.
So why design? Probably because I have extremely patient parents and because Ben decided to take some annual leave. Shout out to Ben.
What are the toughest challenges of design?
That’s a good question. Every project is different and comes with its own challenges. For me, the toughest challenge is taking an abstract idea or insight and building on it to produce a visual identity that communicates it effectively. The concept stage of a project is filled with tangents of thought that you experiment with until you arrive at a foundational idea that you can build a brand around. At times it’s tough to trust the process and your idea. On the flip side, it’s also the most rewarding when you arrive at something that resonates with people.
What is your favourite part of the process?
I love the design development stage of the design process. When there is a consensus amongst all those involved and you can get into the nitty-gritty of a visual identity. It might sound geeky but nothing beats testing scales, typographical details, colour combinations, developing rules and guidance that connects all of the elements. It’s the part of the process that when done correctly can elevate your work.
How can a brand-led approach help a business?
We are living through an information and technology age where the speed of progress and choice is unprecedented, which in turn means consumer behaviour is shifting all the time. The amount of information available to us, and the speed at which it is delivered, is directly influencing the world of branding. There was a time when brands would live for a number of years, whereas now businesses are refreshing at a much quicker rate in order to remain relevant. A recent study by Hall & Partners and Wolff Ollins showed that “over half (57%) of consumers believe that brands need to do more to positively impact society.”
The tricks of the past are less effective; it’s not just about constructing a story around a business, businesses must now live their identity across more complex touchpoints and work harder to keep their audiences engaged, whilst also communicating their efforts towards a fairer and more equal world. Brand loyalty is becoming harder to come by as consumers become more conscious about where they are spending their hard-earned cash. This is where a brand-led approach comes in. A well-defined brand can help businesses navigate the complex and fast-changing societal, political and economic environment we find ourselves in and guide how they respond. How? By connecting with the business’ audiences, building trust and in turn generating brand loyalty.
What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to a prospective client?
Be original and stay true to your business’ values. Package what you stand for in a way that people can understand, then share, evaluate, refine and repeat. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
You can see Manny’s most recent project here. If you’d like to find out more about our approach to branding and what we can do for you, or you’d like to join our team, get in touch!