The importance of a company’s brand cannot be undervalued. So too, the importance of thoughtful, creative design in all aspects of your business; its values, services or products will help you achieve a recognisable and consistent brand.

Good Design is Good Business

In a 1973 lecture to students at the University of Pennsylvania, Thomas J. Watson Jr. (14 Jan 1914 – 31 Dec 1993) declared that “good design is good business”. Watson Jr. was an American businessman, political figure, and philanthropist. He did stints as national president of the Boy Scouts of America and United States Ambassador. However, it was his time as the 2nd president of IBM (1952–1971), taking over from his father Thomas John Watson Snr, that he made his mark. Taking significant strides in building IBM (International Business Machines) into a modern international corporation, Thomas Watson played a leading role in the rising, technological revolution that was taking place, leading the way in advanced electronics and computing.

During his time at the helm of IBM, Thomas Watson Jr fostered relationships with talented Artists, innovative Architectural and Industrial Designers and the very best Graphic Design creatives. Hiring them as design consultants to build a recognisable worldwide brand and also designing around 150 modern manufacturing plants and corporate IBM office buildings worldwide, not to mention countless sleek-looking IBM machines and products.


“In a sense, a corporation should be like a good painting; everything visible should contribute to the correct total statement; nothing visible should detract. Thus, a company’s buildings, offices, graphic design and so forth should all contribute to a total statement about the significance and direction of the company.”  Eliot Noyes | IBM Architect & Industrial Designer


“A company’s visual representation was inextricably tied to the quality of the company itself.” Paul Rand | Art Director & Graphic Designer

Paul Rand

It was Paul Rand, the famous American art director and graphic designer of many famous iconic brands, who redesigned the IBM company Logo, first in late 1950’s and then again in 1972 into something that is instantly recognisable. Rand shared the IBM design team’s philosophical belief that “A company’s visual representation was inextricably tied to the quality of the company itself.”


Big Brand Design Philosophy

It’s this philosophy of design applied holistically to a brand’s business that has influenced many other enterprises and institutions in the decades since. IBM paved the way for the likes of Apple, Amazon, Starbucks, Samsung and many modern corporate businesses & tech giants who do branding, corporate image, product design, even work and lifestyle influencing so spectacularly well. Today, it’s this creative & innovative design process that is seen as essential for organisations to express their brand values and their products successfully.


Lee Green, the vice president in charge of IBM’s Brand Experience and Strategic Design for the past 20 years says, “They taught that if you don’t understand something, you can’t design it…Design has to be purposeful. It’s not about cosmetics and decoration. It’s about substance.”


At Jaffa Design+Print

We apply the same philosophy here at Jaffa. Whether its print design, website design, copywriting, digital or social media marketing, we believe in taking the time to learn about you and your business, your values, services and products to help you realise your vision. Original, creative design with a concise, consistent look and feel for your brand across all platforms is our number one priority.

As Thomas Watson Jr said, “Good Design is Good Business”.


Author: Deborah Jeffrey – Co-Director Jaffa Design + Print