Donald Deskey is famous for his design. From Radio City Music Hall to the shelves of the local supermarket, Deskey reinvented the look and feel of the modern world. If you have ever bought a branded product, sat in a modern chair, or been to New York City, you have experienced Deskey. That spirit lives on today, in the company he founded, among the people who heard his calling.
Deskey’s design is known the world over. It was rooted in three principles, principles that defined his legacy and distinguished his work from his forgotten contemporaries.
His design was simple.
It was personal.
And it was true.
For a long time, Deskey’s founding firm rode the wave of design through the fifties, sixties, seventies, and eighties creating brands by design.
There was an engine of talented designers working at Deskey, and there was an insatiable need for brands to guide consumer behavior. Brands became fragmented, sub-branded, line extended, and umbrellaed.
That’s where the last age of design ended. Technology erased the old guard of designers, as technology often does. Successful companies don’t change what’s working, and often they don’t know what’s not working until it’s too late.
But Deskey’s flagship firm had a secret weapon. It was a weapon they had owned for a long time, but they placed it over the mantlepiece and encased it in glass, assuming they’d never need to use it. But when design clients no longer valued expertise over speed and efficiency, Deskey had no choice.
Donald Deskey was not known for strategy. That’s the thing about strategy. If you notice it, it’s not working. Strategy is the invisible hand behind every single successful brand.
Creating a brand to stand out from all the others: that’s design.
Realizing what it takes to stand out from the crowd: that’s strategy.
In truth, Deskey has always been a strategy and design firm. We just gave the strategy away for free. We could afford to. It was sound advice, given to our valued clients, and design payed the bills. But as we move forward into this bold new age of design, when entire companies are organized under a design principle, strategy is more important than ever.
Deskey understands branding as deeply and profoundly as any other company in the world. Branding walks the halls with us. It sits next to us at our computers, in our company meetings, on our screens. It whispers to us when we least expect it, demanding more from us.
Design has never been about the color of a product that sits on a shelf. It has never been about logos, or consumer packaged goods, or Pantone colors.
Design has deeper roots. Design is in the very DNA of your company. You just don’t think about it. Design is the way your company is structured, who makes the decisions, who develops the products. Design is in every piece of communication between you and your customers. Design is in your words, it’s in your actions, and it’s deeply embedded in your product itself. Design is why you started working in the first place. It called to you. It brought you to this place, right now, where your path forks left and right.
All successful design is rooted in strategy.
All successful strategy is rooted in design.
After all of our experience, our stewardship over generations of brands, we know three things.
Successful brands are simple.
They are personal.
And they are true.
That’s our brand myth. It inspires us to create our own stories today. Do you know where your brand came from?