Wolff Olins Blog: How design thinking finds new answers


By Campbell Butler

The other day I sat in a brainstorm with a bunch of fellow graphic designers, discussing the future direction of an international business. Someone in the team made a flippant joke about the moment: Most of us had gone to art school, not business school. 

As designers we sometimes worry about engaging in the “business side” of things. But today’s businesses are desperate to find experimental and creative solutions and designers are just the problem-solvers they need. We’ve been trained to take a brief, assess the problem, instinctively create different directions, analyse the positives and negatives, reject one, create another, see what works, see what doesn’t.

We can rapidly create visual concepts that test how products, communications, experiences and interfaces can work together. And we can test multiple directions. It allows businesses to take risks they couldn’t imagine, because they can see tangible possibilities. That, is business prototyping.

There’s an opportunity now as designers to get beneath the veneer of subjective aesthetics and establish design, and design thinking, at the heart of tomorrow’s businesses – an opportunity we should grab with both hands.

So, am I a graphic designer anymore?

Campbell Butler is a Senior Designer at Wolff Olins.

Illustration by James Kape.

The Met Gala 2012: Reviewed by Dalia Saad


As you all know, the Met Gala is often called the fashion’s Oscars. I like how this event is stress free and casual, considering to the awards that take place between January and Febraury; it’s nice to see the celebs take a break and make a come back if they hadn’t done a good job earlier. Lets take a look at what the models, celebrities, and the designers themselves dressed in. Prada and Givenchy took over the hottest celebs. I don’t usually much Prada on the red carpet, but this awards, i see and i like!


1. Anja Rubik (model) in Anthony Vaccarello: If she weren’t a model, there’s noway anyone can pull off that high slit. 

2. Ashley Greene in Donna Karan: Simple and to the point

3. Claire Danes in J.Mendel: I love how this dress is a wrap-sorta-thing. The blue clutch to go with is cool and non-traditional.

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I can’t get over how gorgeous this new interior that KLM will soon introduce is. Many airlines have used blue tones to sooth and relax passengers, but many create a disconnect with their brand colors. For KLM, it works just perfectly.

I can’t get over how gorgeous this new interior that KLM will soon introduce is. Many airlines have used blue tones to sooth and relax passengers, but many create a disconnect with their brand colors. For KLM, it works just perfectly.

Lufthansa’s Brand New Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental

Sony NEX-7 vs. Olympus OM-D

Last summer I was convinced that I needed to invest in a DSLR. I was hoping to rekindle my passion for videography by purchasing a still camera that could shoot HD video. Plenty of research later led me to Sony, specifically to the NEX line that promises to be the next generation of interchangeable lens cameras. 

As much as I trust their credibility and engineering, Sony, however, could never become my favorite electronics brand because of their insistance on using their own proprietary formats. Nothing is ever compatible or universal with them. Regardless, I overcame that point and planned on purchasing the NEX-7 for a hefty sum, until mothernature decided it would pause things for a few months. Devastated by the floods, Sony’s Thailand factories had to be shutdown for production and the release date of the NEX-7 was postponed till April.

But a lot can happen in 4 months, and a lot did. Olympus has now come out with the new OM-D line, based off it’s 1970’s OM cameras. The camera is a micro four-thirds camera and seems to be the next big competitor to Sony’s NEX-7.

As of now, reviews have been fantastic and I believe I just might be sold on getting this one instead. I’ll wait though to see a final production model hands-on and most importantly make sure that the HD movie mode rivals that of Sony.


Haven’t seen this yet? Have a look at Marni for H&M’s Video directed by the amazing Sophia Coppola

On February 15, I had the great honor of hosting our first ever SVA BrandMasters™ lecture as part of Social Media Week, New York City. I had planned for this event alongside my friends Chi Wai Lima and Margaux Genin with the help of J’aime Cohen and Bret Sanford-Chung.

I must admit, the road leading up to that day was extremely rough and challenging, but the learnings proved invaluable. On the day of, my biggest fear was failure. But then I remembered someone very special once telling me, “If you’re not scared, then you just don’t care”. 

The event ended up a huge success and exceeded our expectations. We filled up our room with about 100 people, and we had only accounted for about 60+. Yes, people were left standing and chairs had to be added at the last minute. It wasn’t ideal, but it sure made me feel great!

Here’s the video of the amazing panelists

Mile-high madness with Richard Simmons!

I’ve caught myself a few times disregarding inflight safety videos and then I guilt myself into thinking that if anything should really happen, I would be the one to blame for the demise of the passengers for not knowing what to do.

But you know what? I take that back. If anything should happen, NO ONE would know what to do, because frankly NO ONE ever pays attention.

Inflight safety videos bore everyone to death. They are a requirement by the FAA and must be shown on every flight before take-off. Only a handful of airlines have tried to re-envision what these videos could look like. My knowledge only extends as far as Virgin Atlantic who were the first to create a humorous cartoon video. That was fun to watch. Soon enough, Virgin America made their own lively video.

But today, the trend has extended across the seas to New Zealand where Richard Simmons seem to be big??!! Air New Zealand now holds the number one spot on my list (which I technically haven’t created yet) of top inflight safety videos. Watch and laugh!

The Story of “Keep Calm and Carry On”

There are many things that I want this year. Some are big and ambitious, and others are as simple as this M-Lamp. I will get my hands on it soon!

Buy it Here

Social Media Explained

Social Media Explained

The Bible has Cometh!

Saying I cherished my time at SVA’s Masters in Branding program is an understatement. In fact, nothing can appropriately describe the year I spent with some of the most amazing design and branding talent that exists today. Much has come from this humbling experience and today there is concrete evidence of just how much was achieved during this time.

"Brand Bible" was a project initially conceived by Debbie Millman as a book that would chronicle the history of branding as well as show case some of the most successful branding work that has been done in various industries. Little did we know that a chance to coauthor this book with Debbie would be imminent.

For a solid 4+ months, we were in and out of the studio on Friday afternoons, as well as plenty of weeknights and weekends, working hard on researching, collecting and writing for the book. I was very happy to work alongside my friends and colleagues Chi Wai Lima and Jada Britto. We had a great time, to say the least. Our biggest opportunity came when we were welcomed by Rusty Clifton, Design Manager of Topical Healthcare at Johnson and Johnson’s Global Strategy Design Office to discuss Band-Aid®. 

The book looks amazing and I recommend it to anyone interested in branding and design, not because I’m involved in it, but because there’s a lot to learn about the branded world we live in.

Get it from Amazon for only $28

This poster made the rounds on the internet last year and became pretty popular. I’ve since wanted to get a copy of it. There’s something about it that makes me just…smile :-)
Buy it on www.etsy.com for $55


This poster made the rounds on the internet last year and became pretty popular. I’ve since wanted to get a copy of it. There’s something about it that makes me just…smile :-)

Buy it on www.etsy.com for $55

UNHATE: United Colors of Lebanon

This week, the Italian fashion brand Benetton came out with a campaign titled “UNHATE”, that has taken to the web and people’s Facebook pages pretty quickly.

Although the campaign is clever and stays true to the brand’s history of social awareness campaigns, this one gained a lot of controversy over the portrayal of the Pope kissing an Egyptian Imam. My opinion: loosen up. There’s a good message behind this….much unlike the Dutch and French insisting on defaming the Prophet Mohamad’s image through caricatures….but that’s a different story.

Anyway, Lebanon soon enough took a liking to the campaign and came up with its own version of UNHATE. Saad Hariri smooching with Hassan Nasrallah, and Michel Aoun clearly enjoying a lip sucking with Samir Gaega. Priceless!