If I had one word with which to review this book, I would choose “collaboration.” If I had more-and you know I do-I’d talk about how Duffy explores the creative teams, account teams, and the clients on their roads to success.
This book takes a great spin on the cookie-cutter “case-study” book formula: it gets the entire team involved. If I had one word with which to review this book, I would choose “collaboration.” Gone are paragraphs that open with an ubiquitous “Well, the client said they wanted X, so we gave them X,” in favor of the client themselves telling Duffy what exactly they wanted along side their creative partners.
The common thread through this book is “respect.” Respect for design, respect for clients, respect for the team (or, in some cases, teams), and above all respect for the work. The case-studies in Brand Apart range from the recent (the Bahamas, by Duffy, Fallon, and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism) to the seemingly everlasting (Nike’s Just Do It, by Nike and Weiden+Kennedy) and they all share this commonality. These projects take gutsy designers to be sure, but they also take gutsy clients. And nothing else stemmed from that mutual respect as did the trust. None of the projects and efforts contained in Brand Apart happened by anyone forcing their will on another partner in the overarching team. BMW Films (the greatest advancement in advertising since the advent of the television) was essentially invented in a moment of absolute honesty following a pitch where both the agency (Fallon) and the client (BMW North America) looked at each other and said “Geez, we can do more.” That’s trust you can’t buy.
Having read this book I understand that what it is truly saying has been left unsaid inside its pages: That we are broken. That advertising and design are broken, but we have the tools we need to fix ourselves into something much better than we were before. These examples of brilliance are amazingly similar in the relationships that built them. Brand Apart shows by example how to treat your clients, and how your clients can treat you in return. Not in theory; in practice. You’ve already seen most of what is contained here, so you know going in that what you are reading is real. You are reading that clients and designers who collaborate, respect, and trust one another can change the world.
And if you’re paying attention you just might figure out how to do it yourself.
Brand Apart features eleven chapters of interviews dissecting enormously successful design, advertising, and branding projects. Its layout is beautiful, with large visual examples that manage not to encroach upon the type. Anyone who seriously thinks about their future in this business should own and thoroughly read this book. Can’t find a copy near you? Try Amazon