Next up at the Design Leadership Summit (DLS) was Andy Spade, the founder of many successful companies including Kate Spade, Jack Spade and Partners & Spade, who began his talk by quoting his daughter, “Don’t think outside of the box, there is no box.”
When creating a brand and making it soar, Spade stressed the importance of making the right partnerships and also knowing exactly what your brand stands for.
He showed numerous examples of ad campaigns he’s worked on for Partners & Spade—from J. Crew to Warby Parker to Harry’s and his own brand Sleepy Jones.
One piece of advice was to do something interesting or something that matters so the press will have something to write about you. “You must continue to innovate,” he said. “Have a really exciting event or create a really cool product—even if it doesn't sell it's something fun for people to write about and draws attention to your brand.”
For Warby Parker, he created the idea of “a literary life” and executed it by placing libraries in the retail shop, outfitting a school bus as a showroom and having it travel around the country, and creating a “quiet mob,” where hundreds of bespectacled models read Warby Parker branded books at the exact same time in the New York Public Library.
Staying true to that brand is very important, but Spade believes one must also make room for the element of surprise. “About 75 percent of your brand should be the same,” said Spade. “And the rest should be surprises. You have to stay curious.”
Andy Spade with editor-in-chief of ELLE DECOR Michael Boodro
Key ideas for establishing a brand included:
- Make time for the little ideas that don’t seem like they matter.
- Work with the best people, meet with people who inspire you and when you’re young work for and learn from the best people that you can.
- Start small. It takes time.
- The bigger you get, the smaller you should act.
- Run away from anything that reeks of opportunity
Jumping into the art section of the program, Christy Maclear, executive director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, introduced artist Richard Phillips who spoke about the boundaries of art and how he’s challenging people to think about art in different ways.
Recently, Phillips worked on two videos with actresses Lindsay Lohan and Sasha Grey for the Venice Bienniale. He shared his films as well as the inspiration boards behind them and challenged designers to think of art in new ways through multi-media.
For the final presentation of the day, DLS co-host and Hearst Design Group SVP and publishing director Kate Kelly Smith welcomed celebrity chef and restaurateur Tyler Florence, who recently designed “the kitchen of the year” for House Beautiful magazine.
“Design is about people,” he began. “Designing a product is like designing a relationship, and that relationship must be nurtured.”
Relationships and how people connect in terms of design is very present in the kitchen, where people spend the most time together in their homes. “You can’t just design a space,” he said. “You must always create an emotion and transport people.”
Continuing with the day’s theme of creating a successful brand, he also shared his advice:
- Your name should be your brand. Make it the “brand name.”
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses from the get go and address them right away.
- Identify what your brand is about and know who your competition is.
- Identify why you are different from your competition.
- Think of what kind of statement you want to make now and in the future.
- Try not to look too much at what other people are doing. Know enough so you can keep up, but don’t let it change your creativity.
- Keep your eyes open and harvest your inspiration on a daily basis.
- Don’t let technology hold you back. Going to a tech conference is just as important as going to a flea market in Paris.
- Utilize social media and take people on a journey with you, keep people tuned in to what you are doing.
- Visualize your career from start to finish. What do you want to accomplish and where do you want to end? Write that down on paper and relax your mind by not constantly thinking about it.
With those words, day one of the DLS concluded and attendees headed to Lincoln Center for dinner and an evening keynote presentation. Check back for more coverage of the DLN Summit coming each day this week.
Related articles: DLS Recap: Norman Foster and Paul Goldberger, DLS Recap: Innovations in technology and design, DLS Recap: Bunny Williams interviews Oscar de la Renta
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