Before I get caught in the war of worlds, I’d like to set things straight by stating the fact planning requires critical thinking, background research and in-depth analysis through listening and observation. While this doesn’t necessarily come in the form of surveys, graphs and pie-charts, it must carry a significant level of strategic insight and data.

As a strategist, I believe the underlying component of success to any campaign, brand, digital communication or marketing idea is planning – yes, the dirty word from a creative designer’s perspective. Working in an agency environment, I choose not to raise the white flag and surrender to the dark side! Visual communication should never be about designing to a style you like or using your favourite typography, unless of course this stems back to the original brief. It’s purpose is to deliver a message and evoke an emotional response – all supported by compelling strategic rationale.

Many organisations fail to spend the time to plan at the initial phase of the marketing cycle. They tend skip to the excitement of design and implementation. Fraught with danger, this process can lead to confused messaging, a lack of longevity and a campaign which does not reflect authenticity.

Although I would like to win the battle of strategy vs. design, unfortunately in this particular case, it’s not about me, it’s about the client! We focus on creating intelligent, moving and beautifully crafted, yet strategically driven communication.

While I can’t tell the difference between doodling and crafted sketches, I’ve come to accept this is the process of planning in a creative sense. Just as ‘they’ have come to the understanding a plan provides a clear direction to guide the creative process not act as a hindrance to the imagination.

There will always be tension between us strategists’ and ‘the designers’ – not mentioning any names, but they know who they are! However, as the saying goes, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. By involving each other at the initial stages of any concept, project or campaign, we embrace the opportunity to join forces and win the overall battle for our clientele.