Spotlight on NW Creative: Designers Don’t Read by Austin Howe

Designers Don’t Read by Austin Howe began as a series of weekly essays sent every Monday morning to top graphic designers. It’s now a 208-page book from one of Portland’s more well known “mad men.”
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Howe and Mike Doherty launched the hybrid advertising agency AKA Advertising and Sass (where I showed my book to Doug Lowell in 1995). After selling the agency, Howe spent the next 8 years freelancing as a writer and creative director for firms like Wieden+Kennedy, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, TBWA\Chiat\Day and Deutsch.
Here’s a passage from the new book:

Clients are tiring of agency self-interest. They know. Many of them have done time on the agency side and know what drives many of the better-known firms. If the advertising industry does not wake up to its potential role in the entire brand experience (that a customer has with their clients’ companies), those clients will begin to revolt. They will leave their award-winning firms for customer-winning firms; ones that take a more holistic approach to the ongoing brand-customer dialogue, and that get involved in everything from product design to the retail environment to the brand’s approach to corporate responsibility o the customer’s satisfaction long after they’ve purchased their cieints’ products.

I like Howe’s emphasis above. The entire brand experience is something we pursued at BFG and it’s a model I want to build on now that I’m back in Portland. I also smile when I think of the difference in award-winning firms and customer-winning firms. I’m firmly in the camp of the latter.

About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.