Last March 2020 Gràffica+ was launched, an editorial bet to create and offer exclusive content related to the world of graphic design, creativity and visual culture. With the aim of offering monthly reflections on a particular theme, the first issue of Gràffica+ focuses on the evolution of the designer’s profession and where it is headed, under the title The designer is dead.

A special issue dedicated to explain why the profession of graphic designer no longer exists – as we know it today – and to provide the keys to understanding how it can be reinvented in a sector that is constantly evolving. To this end, a series of interviews, reports and opinion articles were carried out with the participation of iconic professionals from the world of creativity and design, such as Neville Brody, Ian Anderson, Malika Favre or CBA Design’s general manager in Spain, Sandra García, among others.

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Part of the interview with Sandra for the generation of this content highlights the sector’s evolution, as well as the importance of the relationship between people and brands to connect from truth and authenticity. After all, design is empathy, and that is why the designer of the future is moving towards a much more emotional point, towards relationships. “Society is demanding more truth, and therefore designers are going to have to be simple within the complexity of what we are experiencing, and more emphatic in the way they express themselves, of telling stories that matter to people. More simplicity in a time of great saturation.”

You can read the full interview at Gràffica+.

CBA Design takes part at the 10th Anniversary of Aebrand (Spanish Association of Branding Agencies), held last February 20th at the Instituto Europeo di Design in Madrid.

The event was opened by Cristián Saracco, president of the association, and was celebrated by a round table with the main branding experts in Spain, a commemorative exhibition in which attendees could see the work done by the founding agencies and an award ceremony to the founding members, thanking them for their work and support during this decade.

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The round table was the main event of the evening, a debate on the evolution of branding during the last ten years and its future perspectives, in which several founding partners participated, among them Sandra García, general manager of CBA Design in Spain.

They all agreed on the professionalization of branding, and the fact that in the last ten years it has become a strategic sector within the world of creativity and communication, an evolution that Sandra summarized in once sentence:

“Branding is no longer advertising’s little brother”

As for the future, participants warned that much remains to be done and agreed that brands must find new ways to be relevant.

Sandra highlighted the fact that the role of brands in society has taken a very significant turn. “We no longer expect them to tell us what they produce, or how they do it, but why they do it. Today, consumers believe more in the potential of brands to change the world, and that is where we must start building from. That’s why brands must take a clear activist approach, and consumers will reward those who make a difference with their commitment.”

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Last October 3rd of 2019, one of the city’s most recognized design festivals was held in Barcelona: the Blanc Festival. For its eleventh edition, and in the form of a local festivity, the festival brought together 900 professionals from the world of design and creativity in a unique enclave, the Museu del Disseny de Barcelona.

With the opening of a new venue, attendees were able to enjoy masterclasses, workshops and conferences given by more than 30 speakers, including emerging talents and national and international references, such as Oscar Mariné, Malika Favre, or Nelville Brody, among others.

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As part of the line-up, the festival had a very special guest. Our general director in Spain, Sandra Garcia, shared her vision about branding in one of the program’s masterclasses. In it she spoke of the five key elements that, in her opinion, every branding exercise should integrate: curiosity, simplicity, iconicity, consistency and, above all, emotion.

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Sandra highlighted the idea that design is a fundamental communication tool that allows us to turn the intangible into tangible in order to connect brands with people. Of the power they have to create something meaningful, to think differently, and to generate an emotional relationship with people. And this, both in life and in branding, is the only thing that matters.

Each year, the head of CBA agencies throughout the network gather for three days of work, discussion and idea-sharing. The 2019 edition was hosted and organized by CBA Italy in their Milan office.

They named the event “ONE, Open Network Experience”, a title that encapsulates what makes our network unique as well as the spirit in which we approached these three days of work.

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Indeed, the various CBA agencies all have different backgrounds, they work and different markets with different clients, and over time have developed different skills and merits. Being able to open up to the rest of the network in order to share innovative ideas, experiments and strategies is an effective way of making the whole of CBA more open, curious and flexible.

Setting aside just a few, intensive days for this moment of exchange has given rise to a wonderful, stimulating experience for colleagues who came from all over the world to Milan.

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Branding Experimental

The Brazilian team told us about their observation of the correlation between companies adopting “experimental” practices and their greater economic growth. This means that branding, which has always been a force for change and exploration, must also seek out tools to support the companies in carrying out such experiments, to challenge the status quo and find a new way to do business and innovate.

CBA Brazil does this by combining strategy and execution in one integrated, fast and repeated process: trial, test, modify, test again and launch. By analyzing how the companies work, CBA has identified 5 drivers that can guide the client in developing a more experimental, and therefore more successful, approach: being more open and willing to exchange information; empowering people to take risks and accept failures; the practice of creating solution prototypes to enhance the learning process; guiding resources towards a more practical execution (of their tasks) and a more personal experience of their mission.

Critical Imprint

The French team has suggested a new focalization from the specific point of view of CBA. It allows us a better understanding, from the inside, on how to improve our ability to make an impact for our clients through design and branding.

This is how Critical Imprint began, a CBA framework that makes us even more relevant for our clients, as it presents a new outlook which always manages to align the brand with an honest, positive and inclusive mission.

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New ways of collaborating

Our US team presented the network our journey with adopting new methods of working, cheaper without giving up on the crucial benefits of co-designing, and with a lessened environmental impact.

From Design Sprints to Sprint mode, we’ve adapted the process to make our clients’ lives simpler. Remote co-design generates decisive insights that are necessary for decision-making to come to light more quickly, with no one feeling like they can’t express themselves. What’s more, calling on the client’s team right group of experts leads to even faster decisions. This is also made possible by replacing the classic brief with an initial session with our clients where we align on key information and creative guardrails to lead projects. We’ve also made our lives easier thanks to internally developed tools such as the Archetype Game, an actual board game that, using a series of leading questions, allows clients to go through their unique positioning in detail.

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Finally, we celebrated the end of the event with a party organized in the beautiful Milan studio.

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On the occasion of the annual celebration of the CBA International Meeting in Barcelona, CBA Spain has developed the design and production of a welcome kit for the city.

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