Co.Design

Introducing Guest Blogger Graham Button: Designing Experiences That Are "True from the Center"

While he didn't know it at the time, Graham Button hit a significant career turning point the day that Grey Worldwide won the Frontier Airlines account. In the course of working with the airline, Button, the ad agency's creative director, became friends with Jim Adler, founder of the strategic consulting group Genesis Inc, and the guy behind Frontier's unique livery, which features bears, elk, and little wolf cubs.

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In 2006, Button, who had done gigs as a creative director of FCB Toronto, and on the creative team at The Ball Partnership in Hong Kong under the celebrated --- and controversial--Neil French, packed up his Madison Avenue career and headed to Colorado to join Adler at Genesis.

Working from his new base in Denver, Button and his small band of colleagues, have provided strategic positioning and advice on user-centered design to a roster of clients that includes Kraft, Boeing, Quaker Oats, Steelcase, and Giant Bikes.

"Jim's mantra is user-centered solutions: bringing a design philosophy to business," Button says. That philosophy has been used for such disparate tasks as refining the vacation experience at Vail Resorts and designing a village in Transylvania for a mining company.

"We're in the create-an-experience business," Button says, "but when we engage with companies, we are looking to create something that's true from the center."

There's an inherent risk to that approach, he concedes, since if the company's culture doesn't align with the designed experience, the damage to the brand in the consumer's mind can be irrevocable.

Genesis itself, Button says, has resisted growing too big, preferring to concentrate on work that helps companies and organizations make what Bain & Company Fellow Fred Reichheld (the consultant who developed the customer loyalty metric, the Net Promoter Score, "good profits."

Here are some examples of Genesis's latest work:

For Giant, Genesis creates the personalities and graphics for a world of diverse cultures.

Giant Graphics

To skiers, Vail is a marriage, not a date. Genesis is brand steward for the Beaver Creek brand too.

Button Vail Ski Spread

Newkraft.com was created for Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld, introducing her new worldview.

Kraft Web Oreo

For client Steelcase, "The Next 100" symposium gathered leaders in architecture and design to celebrate Frank Lloyd Wright.

Steelcase

A brand with some backstory.

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