Planning matters

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Great minds think differently

Rebecca Thomas 18 Jul 2016
A few of NLP’s London-based graphic designers recently attended the New Designers Exhibition at the Business Design Centre – a vast display of final year students’ work from across the field of design – from furniture, to illustration, advertising to typography.The annual event is an opportunity for students to show off the fruits of their hard labour during their degree, and for businesses to spot and talk to future creative leaders. Our visit was complemented by a talk on ‘Creative Thinking for Commercial Success’, hosted by ‘The Knowledge Transfer Network’. Speakers included Clive Grinyer, Customer Experience Director at Barclays and Kevin McCullagh, founder of Plan.Both discussed the importance of design in business – a partnership championed through successful companies such as Uber, Airbnb and of course Apple. They also touched on the clear advantage of fusing in-house design teams together with teams having strategic and analytical thinkers.This brought me to thinking about the strong link between our graphic design team at NLP and our other professional teams, and my opinion that our most successful projects are those which include collaboration between different types of thinkers. On most of the projects we work on, planners, economists, urban designers and heritage professionals have a story to tell – of the past, present and future of a space/place/building. That story is communicated to communities, stakeholders, government, politicians and other industry players. The role of our graphic designers is to filter these stories into their key constituent parts and to translate them into compelling and easily understandable visuals. Whether this process becomes a brochure, report, website or exhibition, the visual aspect brings that story to life.When providing industry insight we work closely with NLP’s professionals to create reports, animations and infographics that communicate the most compelling data in the most appropriate, digestible way. Our recent ‘Untangling London’s Housing Election’ infographic, produced in advance of the mayoral election, is an example of a joint effort between the graphic design and research teams. @ Design by NLP (May 2016) | Sources: DCLG, ONS, GLA, FALP, Land Registry, EHS, CML, GLUD, NLP Analysis Not only does the fusion of ideas of analysts, strategists, planners and designers result in powerful project outputs, but they are also the most rewarding projects to work on as they provide an opportunity for people who approach projects in different ways to work together and share knowledge, and quite often lead to innovation and to new ideas for future work.The saying goes - “Great minds think alike”, but it can be far more interesting when they don’t.