Break the Boundary Lines of Design Thinking


“When we don’t differentiate, the brand is nothing more than a quality promise to the consumer. But if there are six brands on the shelf and no one’s brave enough to stand out from one another, she’s [the consumer] is just going to switch from one to the other.”

Christine Mau shared this revelation at the 2014 HOW Design Live. The theme for her lively presentation is breaking the boundary lines of design thinking, in particular through brand design and packaging design.

During her presentation, available on HOW Design University, she guides the audience through helpful exercises for boosting creative thinking skills and how to think beyond preexisting expectations. Her goal from these exercises is to spur design innovation.

One of my favorite quotes from her presentation, and I believe should be essential to every designer’s brainstorming sessions, is:

“Break the expectation of the rules to get to a unique solution.”

Her HOW Design Live discussion is two-fold. She discusses how to lead and how to follow in the corporate arena, and the importance of both roles, to achieve brand differentiation. The keyword to the leader/follower dynamic is collaboration.

She illustrates through discussion and exercises that working as team with clients is a give and take relationship. Clients are not always right, but they are not always wrong either. The same principle applies to designers. As Christine says in this presentation, “win as a team, lose as a team.”

Christine Mau, featured as a Woman to Watch by Advertising Age, is the brand director for Kimberly-Clark Corp. As an innovative design thinker, she reshaped the Kleenex box to an oval and redesigned Kotex packaging to include the bright, vivid rainbow colors against a black backdrop.

Differentiate Your Brand

Watch the clip below from her presentation at HOW Design Live last year.

Want to watch the rest of her hour-long presentation? Click here to view the HOW Design Live video.

Check out the other conference videos offered by HOW Design University. Both the HOW Design Live conference and the HOW Interactive Design conference presentations are rotated each month. If you were not able to attend these conferences, this is a great resource to still access the invaluable information provided by distinguished creative professionals.