Transform Live 2024

Ian Firth

Ian Firth shares his five takeaways from the Transform Live conference 2024.

I had the pleasure of attending Transform Live 2024 - an all day conference on the transformative power of all things branding. The day was a truly enjoyable and interesting collection of presentations and discussions, impeccably hosted by Andrew Thomas. Here are five of my takeaways from the day's proceedings.

1. Open to collaboration

The team at Design Bridge shared their story of creating the identity for Eurovision. A fascinating journey into the challenges that we sometimes face in trying to create great work, and none more challenging than collaborating with another agency who were in the middle of a war in Ukraine. But it wasn't just for this project; I felt there was a sense of willingness to share in the room ideas, thoughts and work. I certainly came away with a warm feeling and sense of camaraderie.

2. Logotypes are dead. Long live the type logo!

Monotype gave us an intriguing look into the possible future of fonts. The days of "blanding" are hopefully, thank God, well and truly over as variable type becomes available, adding dynamic to letterforms and allowing contextualisation to search.

3. Just say 'no' to no/low

An interesting presentation led by Adam Larter looked at the non and low alcohol drinks category, questioning the current positioning and arguing the case for language that was more representative and less negative. As a non-drinker, I can vouch for the problems and challenges this relatively new category faces; from getting checked at checkouts for having something that has less alcohol in it than a tub of brandy butter, to the pricing of a non-alcoholic spirit that is really just a very nice cordial. Should we as brand strategists and designers adopt more responsibility when creating these brands?

4. To AI or not to AI, that was the question

Well, what self-respecting conference or roundtable these days doesn't have AI somewhere on the agenda? Rightly so, Transform Live was no different. It definitely seems to be like Marmite - you either love or hate it. Some of the delegates were looking to find out more, while others were clearly in one of the two camps, with a large divide between them. Me personally?

I think we have to embrace AI. It's a tool. A means to an end - it isn't the end itself. Human creativity is an amazing and incredible thing and we have been using tools to express it for thousands of years. Is it scary for our industry? Sure. But no more than the introduction of the Mac and Desktop Publishing was over 30 years ago. I have faith that good will always rise to the top and that humans will always need other humans.

5. The future's bright, the future is branding

2030 and the future of branding was one of the topics up for roundtable discussion. Again, AI got an un/honourable mention but the group agreed that whatever the type of assets, form of delivery or the method of implementation of the brand of the future, there will always be a need for businesses to understand and articulate their meaning and that will always remain the job of brand. Something we were all very glad of.

Ian shared his takeaways in our 'Friday Five' newsletter. For more insights, subscribe here.

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