Lara Sharrock, Sustainability Director, and Mark Wood, Senior Creative Director, Superunion London, sit down to discuss how design works at its best when considering difference and accessibility from the outset.
"The problem is that design often considers the needs of the 'typical' over the different. The result being that the majority of experiences leave people out," says Sharrock.
"Our philosophy is simple: we need less of the same, and more of the different. We talk a lot about difference – it's what we do. We're here to create differentiated work and differentiated brands but, actually, we pursue difference to create not just bold, original creative work, but also to make a difference and to reflect diversity in design for different people and their experiences."
This thinking has brought inclusive design to the top of the agenda. Designers at Superunion have been wrestling with a tension: either create differentiated work, or accessible work. Wood says: "When we started the process of defining what inclusive design really means to our work, the key was to find a way to stop seeing these two elements as a tension – differentiation and accessibility aren't mutually exclusive, and great design should consider both. The important thing is that you need to think about it from the outset."
Sharrock agrees: "At first, we thought we needed to make all our work accessible to everyone, all the time. Actually, you can't do that," she says. "It's all about recognising from the start of any project who you're designing for and asking the right questions. Inclusive design isn't a bolt-on, it must be baked into what we do across all levels and touchpoints; from the more granular focal points – such as colour contrasts, typography and video content – to the way we represent people in imagery or illustrations, to creating more accessible reports, and ensuring a diversity of perspectives in our user testing."