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Design and Identity Formation in Cultural Organisations’ Strategic Performance

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Irini PITSAKI, Alison RIEPLE and Natalie NIXON


In the present research, we examine design as a major contributor to the

formation of identity. We refer to two notions of identity: one within an

organisational context, and another, which exists externally among the

clients. We show that these concepts are strongly linked and constitute an

element of strategic performance. Furthermore, we suggest that in the

cultural industries, a clear and consistent corporate identity must be shared

internally between the group of employees and externally; ideally, a cultural

organisation, because of its non-profit, educational, ethical, etc. status, would

like to see its identity perfectly matched with that of its audience.

Organisational brand identity signals what the corporation is and does.

Therefore, it provides reasons to be favoured by clients and helps to build

loyalty and attachment to the company. This is a deeply selective and

interpretive process and one that plays a major role in strategy. In the

present paper, we review key texts on identity formation in relation to design

and brand strategy; we describe a case study of various museums and

galleries; and finally, we arrive at a set of conclusions about the role of design

in the articulation of a clear and distinctive identity for both cultural

corporations and individuals interested in cultural products.


PUBLISHED: Proceedings from the The 19th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference, 2014


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