Building a design brand
by Mirko van den Winkel


Dezeen Wire:
design brand strategist Mirko van den Winkel has published a free-to-download essay called Building a design brand, setting out why so few young design brands achieve financial success and offering advice on how to succeed - download the essay.

"Why do so few bright, young, starting design-brands actually make it?" says van den Winkel, who has worked with brands including Moroso and Established & Sons. "They often receive a lot of free press, exhibitions, even financial support, but rarely manage to grow and become a real brand."

"What blocks them? Why did few others make it? Based on my experience as manager and as consultant I have written an analysis also including a lot of examples and some conclusions/lessons for young designers/entrepreneurs, for experienced managers in the business and for design-promoters."

If you are interested please download your free copy here:

Posted on Monday July 9th 2012 at 4:56 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Margherita Wendel

    Finally someone who looks at the design industry from the inside and talks about the complexity of factors that make the success of brands and products in an easy and straight way!

  • I have read this essay with great interest. It raises interesting points and has covered the subject extensively and with a fresh eye. It is however completely inaccurate in its reference to my brand.

    The extract from the Architonic article is only a tiny part of the story of my brand and was said as a preamble to explaining the start of my collaboration with De La Espada which has in the past five years grown extremely successfully. I am surprised that a design brand strategist does not know what has happened with my brand and De La Espada. It seems my quote has been taken completely out of context and it is very misleading. My starting my own brand has in fact been been the best step I have ever taken in my career, the success has been completely ignored by MVDW.

    I hope that MVDW might take the time to talk with me and to correct the impression given that starting my brand has been a mistake, it has not at all, and is in itself an extremely interesting new approach to the designer, manufacturer relationship. Please look at my website.

    Matthew Hilton

    Matthew Hilton in an interview with Architonic on his self-production experience:

    ‘When I launched my own brand in 2007, I had a lot of things sorted out, but the production and logistics, the selling and distribution hadn’t really been addressed… and I had to finance the whole thing. I’d saved money, had to borrow money on my house. Booked a stand at 100% Design, which is a significant amount of money… it was just a disaster. Really horrible.’

    It was horrible. I spent days explaining to people what had happened, that I’d take their card but I wasn’t ready to supply. But on the third day, (company founder) Luis de Oliviera from De La Espada walked onto the stand and asked if we could talk about them making furniture for me. I vaguely knew they made expensive products selling in Sloane Avenue, but I hadn’t thought about them as a manufacturer. They were another brand. It’s like going to B&B Italia and asking them to make products for you. I’d been going round factories and asking them. But Luis approaches this business in a very unconventional way. He talks to competitors about making furniture for them. He builds all these collaborations. It’s a fresh approach, which is great.

  • reb

    I can’t say anything about the essay or van den Winkel’s skills. But his website looks rather unprofessional and unappealing to design-minded people. If I was the owner of a design brand I would hardly consider asking him for advice.

  • Falcon

    Yes, the website design is bad and it looks strange for someone who has a job like him.

  • Thanks Dezeen and all of you! We reached 1000 downloads several days ago and the downloading keeps on going! Also, we noticed and some of you informed us that many others have also received the article and read it, and a lot also have reacted on it! Not bad, without any publisher or publicity. Just by wort-to-mail-to-mouth promotion and this article on Dezeen. Really incredible.

    I want to thank everyone for the abundant extremely positive reactions. I really try to answer at least everyone who has written me his/her opinion/personal experiences, but I will also go on holidays some time this summer… A big hug to everyone who has taken the time to read this 32 page article!

    There is enough stuff for the sequence, including several ideas for A THIRD WAY. Thanks, Mirko