The thinking behind Experience Design

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The branding featured men who have famously imitated women.

To ‘do’ Experience Design, you first need to understand why it’s different.

The difference is that it focuses on the science behind design – studying human behavior and psychology. The focus isn’t merely based on visuals or functionality – it’s based on how your audience engages with your creative. How does it make them feel? Is it relevant to them? Does it inspire them?

A good example of where this was all of this into consideration is the recent Stodge Podge event that Mando supported in producing all of the creative.

The brief was to create a dynamic theme for Podge’s celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD2017) – the Podge event was taking place just a few days prior, so it made sense to take it as an opportunity to show our support.

Again, the most fundamental part of Experience Design is understanding your audience. IWD2017 is a huge day in the calendar and such an important subject, so it is was vital for us to do it justice – we needed to be bold, while maintaining the crucial elements networkers would expect from a Podge event.

Myself and the team threw some ideas around and came up with a few initial concepts.

We thought about maybe doing something around black and white imagery and also considered building a theme around female celebrities – past and present – along with some infamous quotes.

It’s so important to get other people’s perspectives at this stage – when you’re creating something, obviously you’re a lot closer to the idea than anyone else, and so you get it. You always need more opinions, not just to ensure it makes sense, but to check that others share your interpretation of it. God forbid creating something that others thought to be offensive!

We managed to devise a creative angle that ticked all the right boxes: light-hearted but serious, humorous but not offensive. I presented the concept to Phil and Clare Jones – the masterminds behind Podge – they loved it, and straight away got how the idea’s off-beat sense of humour could support the serious aims of IWD2017.

The concept is to celebrate men celebrating women: think Lilly Savage, Dame Edna Everage, David Walliams (Emily Howard) to name but a few; men who have, through the medium of artistic comedy, added their voice to the cause of gender inclusivity, streamlining perfectly with the IWD2017 #BeBoldForChange campaign tag. Phil and Clare are keen to promote gender equality and opportunity within the creative sector; and the celebrations for IWD2017 Podge had a record number of women attending its events.

The rationale behind the flamboyant concept is a blend of imitation as the sincerest form of flattery, discussion on existing gender disparity, and industry leaders working together to challenge conscious and unconscious bias. Mando designers Gemma Darracott and Anthony Dry ran with the idea and developed it into something which could go across all of the event collateral as well as website and social media.

We pulled it off, but it’s simply because we kept our audience in mind all the way through the entire process – and being such a brilliant day to support, we had to give it the best we could.

And how did the event make people feel? Attendee quotes which made their way on to social media included: “Top marks to @swanniecd and @mandoagency team for some great creative” and “Excellent branding…perfectly complemented by a truly splendid jacket”, referring to Mando’s creative director sporting a Marron velvet jacket, a talking point throughout the day.

Steve Swann

Steve Swann is creative director at Mando.

All by Steve