Marcus Engman, Ikea’s recently departed head of design, has launched his own consultancy with some stark words for advertisers – proclaiming that his profession can ultimately kill-off the need for marketing.
By designing products and brands which speak to consumers directly Engman believes companies can slash advertising budgets by letting their own body of work and broader ethos do the talking.
As a six-year veteran as head of design at the Swedish flat-pack brand Engman should know, having made a name for himself by pushing Ikea out of its minimalist Scandi-chic rut and introducing a riot of eclectic new influences, ranging from tropical furniture to an LA-inspired skateboard.
Chomping at the bit to achieve more, however, Engman has now branched out with a company of his own in partnership with the design firm Doberman.
Skewed Productions seeks to eliminate marketing entirely from the product cycle by focusing solely on strong design, demonstrating that money saved on advertising can be re-invested to imbue individual products and brands as desirable entities in their own right.
Speaking to Fast Company Engman said: “I want to show there’s an alternative to marketing, which is actually design. And if you work with design and communications in the right way, that would be the best kind of marketing, without buying media.
“More and more people are interested in how things are made. I believe in transparency–being more transparent in design you do–that attracts interest and over time it builds interest in the project.”
Operating as a sole practitioner Engman intends to work with different collaborators on a per project basis, with any profits distributed amongst the team.
Demonstrating how far it has come from its conservative origins Ikea recently invited pregnant mums to pee on its own advertising for the chance to win a crib.