Design by committee

Jon Persson
Jon Persson Brand identity designer
Table of contents

I wrote on my personal website about the dangers of crowdsourcing important decisions.

It’s my belief that all important decisions in a company ultimately need to be made by one visionary leader.

Design by committee births mediocrity.

That’s why people associate the term “corporate” with “stale, boring, and possibly soul-crushing.”

And it’s why they associate “startup” with “hip, innovative, and cool” (or, if they’re cynical, perhaps “overrated”).

Branding initiatives cannot be successfully crowdsourced.

Focus groups won’t help you make long-term strategic decisions about the direction of your company.

Customer research is table stakes, but if you want to have an actual brand, not just a generic commodity, you need to move beyond features and benefits.

You need to engage in introspection about who you are as a company (if you’re a small business, your brand attributes = your personal attributes):

  • What do you believe?
  • Why did you start this company? It wasn’t “to make money”—there are many ways to make money, but you specifically chose this one.
  • What is your personality? Your voice? Are you a risk-taker, or do you prefer security?
  • What is your vision?

Your branding should be grounded in fundamental truths such as these. You should filter all your decisions through them: that is how you determine whether a particular strategy or tactic is appropriate for your company.

In 2019, leave short-term marketing tactics behind and build something that’s authentic to your company.

Something that you can be proud of, that stands out from the competition. That people connect with on a visceral level.

Jon Persson
CEO, Cult Method

Jon Persson


Brand strategist, identity designer, and owner of CultMethod. I help small business owners create brands that attract customers and command premium prices.

Enjoy this post? Connect with me on Twitter!

Cover page of Pre-Hire Checklist

Hiring a designer? Grab this.

My Pre-Hire Checklist gives you valuable tips to consider before hiring an identity designer.

    One-click opt-out. 0.04% unsubscribe rate. 450+ entrepreneurs and growing…