I Know, Let’s Order Up Some Bananas

Bruce Nussbaum: Michael Bierut of Pentagram fame has cut through the blather to raise a really fascinating–and funny– issue in Corporate America. Everyone loves design but no one wants to call it design. Top CEOs and managers want to call design something else–innovation. Innovation, that they are comfortable with. Design, well, its a little too wild and crazy for them. So they call it innovation.
I’ve been seeing this phenomenon for some time now–ever since design took off as a strategy and way of thinking inside big corporations. The same managers who are perfectly comfortable talking about “vision,” whatever that is, don’t like to talk about “design.” Innovation, however, connotes measurement, control and has a kind of engineering tonality to it. So “innovation” is accepted.
As for me, I think that if managers are uncomfortable with the term design, they should call it a “banana.” Bananas are beautiful, functional, organic, unique, measureable, portable, pleasurable and provide a delightful, emotional experience to consumers. Bananas embody what CEOs and managers are struggling to achieve in using design to create new products and services.
Yes, it took the legendary designer Michael Bierut to make me have this epiphany. Banana. Wow.
[via Incite By Design]

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Gap, Target, Starbucks what do they sell . . ?
    Bananas! That’s perfect.
    And once again Warhol was 40 years ahead of everbody else (a not so obscure reference to the first Velvet Undergound cover [for you d*mmies])

  2. Mark Trueblood says:

    That was a good start, but our focus groups have found that “banana” is too masculine, and potentially offensive to chimpanzees, as well as those who are allergic to bananas. We’d like to see some alternatives more in tune with our research, which shows that a cutting-edge, family-friendly, smart, inclusive, easygoing, and bold tonality will appeal better to our demographic.

  3. Classic. I knew it was a matter of time before the clients showed up.