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IRDC will help you define yourself and your role



Michael Gould, president and ceo of Bloomingdale's, publicly dismissed design's role in the brand-building process. “Brand,” he sniffed at NRF in January, “is not about who has the best atrium.”

Wrong answer! With all due respect to an industry veteran (who says he's involved in “the most intense branding experience in my 32 years of retail”), just about everything these days is about design — especially branding.

We're at one of those confluences where consumer sensibilities, technical capabilities and retail's need for indentity are intersecting, like crazy. What has made Target a red-hot brand today? Design! The stores, the ads, the products from Michael Graves and Phillipe Starck.

Ian Schrager Hotels convinces urbanites it's cool to sit in an uncomfortable Phillipe Starck lobby chair. Nike is using design, instead of Michael Jordan, to sell its new high-style line of footgear. Sephora identifies itself by the design of its stores and the shape and colored liquid of its bottles. David Rockwell guests on a Charlie Rose TV show about design. Kmart reinvents its brand with Martha Stewart designs. The more-popular-than-ever VW Beetle is the high-design heir of its no-frills 1960s grandparent.

Walk through any store. Everything is translucent, pastel and curvy, even the most mundane household product. Who would have thought a potato peeler could create excitement? Or a George Foreman grill, looking like an iMac with legs? I bought a “sleep sound system” because of its art deco lines and acrylic colorfulness, and it's just your basic alarm clock.


Time magazine said last year that we're in “a frenzy of perpetual motion (in which) we want to re-create the space around us… because that way it's our space.”

Eva Maddox — architect, store planner and creative strategist — wrote in Perspective that design is no longer a separate form unrelated to function. People are more sophisticated about design, she pointed out, and therefore more demanding. They do their own desktop graphic design. They're even designing their own web sites. Corian — an exotic designers-only material in the 80s — can now be purchased at Home Depot. We live in a society, Maddox reminds us, “where individuals can even redesign their bodies… to suit their ideas of perfection.”

Clearly, the time of design is now! How timely, then, that we debut VM+SD's International Retail Design Conference in Orlando, October 28-31. When you hear about new design branding concepts, international trends, design and technology, controlling the design process, managing the creative design employee, selling the value of design, you'll be hearing about innovative solutions that worked, solved problems, boosted profitability.

Also, you'll more than listen — you'll participate in workshops, roundtables, hands-on exercises, role-playing and the like — maybe some formats none of us has yet seen in a conference like this.

You'll return home ready to bring the New Age of Design to your organization — branding strategies through design that even a ceo could love.




MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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