Home Special ReportDesign The evolving role of ‘design’ in the world of today

The evolving role of ‘design’ in the world of today

Leading industrialists discuss their understanding of the word ‘design’

by Executive Editors

For many years, the term ‘design’ in the world of business referred mainly to the aesthetics of a product. Today, ‘design’ has become a concept which represents much more than just a drawing; it has come to reflect the outline of the brand identity, which understands every aspect of a company and its interaction with its customers.

A brand worth remembering is a brand with a unique personality. This is why design has evolved into a holistic blueprint transcending the product itself to encompass all other elements revolving around it.

Executive interviewed several designers to understand the role that this evolved concept of ‘design’ plays in their companies and products, and the resulting effect of employing design on their brand.

Nabil Kettaneh – Chairman & CEO of Kettaneh Group 


“German car manufacturer Audi AG considers itself a global design patron and a responsible employer. At Audi, conventional ways of seeing and thinking are continually challenged in order to advance the company and play an active role in shaping the mobility of the future. An Audi cannot, and should not, be purely fashionable, particularly since trends are not set in stone. Rather, it must be timelessly modern. Audi is a company which considers commitment to design as part of its DNA.

As a progressive car manufacturer, Audi is constantly developing its design philosophy with each new generation of models. Audi’s refined language and philosophy of design focuses on a strong link between technology and design. The Audi models of today are intended to be tomorrow’s icons. Every Audi has the same genetic code: distinctiveness with the aim of striking an exciting compromise between emotion and reason, aesthetics and efficiency, as well as sportiness, progressiveness and sophistication.

Audi designs seek inspiration globally. Ideas might arise from observing an innovative house, a classic piece of furniture or a sensational dress. The Audi designers have to have their fingers on the pulse of the times and are guided by a variety of influences – be it from nature, architecture, art or film. The overriding goal is to give the product the characteristics of the brand with the four rings.”

George Bou Jaoude – Marketing Manager of Infiniti at RYMCO


“Being automotive agents, designing the actual models is not in our scope of work. We work on designing ambiances and campaigns that fit the brand and the target audience. The design of the car is a major source of attraction and one of the most important factors for customers, as one first needs to like a car before proceeding to the next stages of the purchasing behavior.

However, ‘design’ extends beyond just the aesthetic or features of the car, as a good design in general also includes a suitable price tag. This delicate balance between quality and price is a considerable part of what constitutes good ‘design’. Our brands are attentive to that balance and are always seeking innovative designs that cater to customers’ needs and expectations across the different areas that they examine.”

Michel Trad – Chairman of Saad & Trad SAL


“Today, design has become increasingly important. It is the main factor that reflects the image of the brand identity. When it comes to design, people tend to notice what they can relate to, and it is key to cutting through the clutter. This is why companies are investing in design more than ever, putting in place design centers that meticulously shape the personality of the brand, its corporate identity. Anything relating in any way to the brand is closely examined so as to echo the same message.

Whether the brand stands for modernity, performance, luxury, creativity or any other value, it is supposed to be reflected in the showroom, interior design, staff appearance and attitude, pre-and-post sale services, as well as in marketing activities such as ad campaigns and partnerships with other brands. Almost everything is taken into consideration since ‘design’ serves a purpose beyond simply the product’s visual appeal.”

Reem Acra – Fashion designer


“The design is not just a product that is for sale, it is a way of thinking – a message. The Reem Acra label is represented by that design and how it is presented and packaged.


It is very important that there is one message in the design that evokes an emotion as well as the experience. The Reem Acra brand has depth with an emotional message-it is a brand that started with wedding dresses and brought a new kind of luxury to the table. The company as a whole represents the brand, all of our employees speak the same language so as to represent the same message that translates to the experience of a lifetime for the customer.”

Sabine Mazloum – Pearl Specialist, Jewelry Designer, Creator & Owner of the Sabine Mazloum brand


“Design is who you are, your fingerprint, and the creativity which pours from your soul to make something unique. And this is your identity which makes you stand out from the crowd. However, the relationship between the design and the product itself is complementary.

Since I am a pearl specialist, the main material I work with is pearls. Each gem is unique by nature, and, depending on the characteristics of each pearl, I harmonise the design of my pieces. It is so important to keep the value of the pearl and at the same time to add my own touch of creativity. To start creating a design you have to have a foundation and you have to know where to start from.

[pullquote]“DESIGN IS WHO YOU ARE, YOUR FINGERPRINT”[/pullquote]

Each individual picks a design that is close to their taste, which often represents their inner personality or what they want people to think of them. If the customer is comfortable with the piece they choose, it will fulfill the required desire and the right image they are trying to project to others. It will also give them the confidence to express themselves more.”

Mia Karam – Brand Manager at Luxury Clothing Company sal


“Design defines a product. Without it, it simply wouldn’t exist.

In fashion, the creation of a product starts with an inspiration, a mood board, a story. This turns into a sketch, which explodes into an infinite choice of fabrics, weights, colors, and volumes. It finally turns into a sample that is later perfected to become a sellable item.

This item will then be placed in the right environment and will attract a customer who will most likely fall in love with it and want to make it their own. After purchasing it, the item is given a new purpose and function each time it’s worn or carried.

Design greatly impacts a customer’s experience. Brands worldwide are investing first and foremost in innovative shop concepts in order to convey the brands’ identity, and have the customers immersed in the brands’ universe. It’s not just a matter of having an attractive and relaxing store environment or a clear display anymore. Brands are competing on a whole other level with the design of their flagships, going to leading architects to create state-of-the-art concepts for their targeted clientele. Design and fashion are inseparable today, and form a winning team.

The same goes for a working environment. Designing an office with specific codes that resemble the company’s identity will help the employees understand and thus convey better what the company’s values and missions are.”

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Executive Editors

Executive Editors are the virtuosos behind Executive’s compelling narratives. Over decades, our editorial team has applied a blend of seasoned expertise, intellectual wit, and a discerning eye to bring you insightful and engaging stories that eschew sensationalism

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