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The case for thoughtful design

Thought bubble graphic


Thoughtful design is about more than just aesthetics, says Executive Creative Director Lee Hoddy. It’s about design that’s strategic, empathetic and inclusive. And this is why it’s central to our evolved offer.

A couple of months ago, in the heat of our repositioning and rebrand, I sat down with a group of strategists and creatives in our London studio. No client challenge, no big brief. Instead, a moment of introspection and reflection. The question we were wrestling with: why is thoughtful design so critical to creative success?

While we all agree that it is important – fundamental even – there were different points of view on why it’s so important. Here’s where we netted out: making the case for thoughtful design and its role in inspiring progress.

“It means contributing to a world where design will always be a force for good.”

1.Thoughtful design will always be a force for good.
Our founder Sir Terence Conran famously believed that design should inspire progress – for everyone. “The designer’s job is to imagine the world not how it is, but how it should be,” he once said, and that belief holds true for us today. It sits at the heart of our refreshed proposition: thoughtful design to inspire progress for business, people and society.

This means embracing conscious design and designing with inclusive design principles front of mind for the most equitable and accessible audience experiences. Designing thoughtfully means contributing to a world where design will always be a force for good.

2. Thoughtful design goes beyond the surface and is always strategically informed.
Thoughtful design makes an enemy of information overload, complexity and a lack of humanity. Instead, it celebrates and elevates the intuitive, the human, the accessible, the iconic, and helps define easy-to-navigate user journeys. It’s about design that stands out, and that feels relevant and coherent to audiences. Design that challenges category conventions and bypasses the safe, the ordinary and the unoriginal.

3. Thoughtful design helps establish meaningful connections.
Thoughtful design should always elicit an emotional response and establish a connection with your audiences. And the only way to do this is to root creative thinking in audience and human behaviours, hero the art of storytelling, and design with empathy, always. The more meaningful its story, the more democratic and inclusive the brand becomes.

“Thoughtful design makes an enemy of information overload, complexity and a lack of humanity.”

4. Thoughtful design asks for and inspires collaboration.
DNA workshops, insight sessions, design reviews: it’s all about bringing different people together early in the process to tease out preferences, maximise the potential of the brief and ask the ‘what if’ questions. This is when ideas start to feel innovative and disruptive; it’s where we start to push boundaries and rethink what ‘good’ looks like. It’s about getting the most holistic understanding of the brand, its audiences, its competitors and the wider market – and bringing those insights to our design solution.

5. Thoughtful design requires a pause in the creative hustle.
Taking a breath, amid the whirlwind of new trends and innovations, is critical for achieving balanced progress. We don’t jump on new trends without careful strategic consideration; we don’t blindly follow the crowd. We weigh up the merits of a new approach or a new piece of technology, we consider our audiences, and we then make a call. While others hasten, we interrogate – we deliberate intently, progress with purpose, and adopt with careful consideration.

Lee Hoddy

Executive Creative Director - LDN

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