• Transform magazine
  • May 26, 2024

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Why luxury brands are becoming storytellers and art curators (and you should too)

The Boundless Headshot

Gaby Granier, senior strategist at Boundless Brand Design, describes how she is able to craft high quality design for luxury brands.

Luxury defines what is desirable, exciting and shapes what’s coming. It makes the rules – and then it breaks them. Getting it means getting the key to a successful future.

At Boundless Brand Design, we are passionate about crafting head-turning, disruptive designs for luxury brands. Our experience of shaping ‘the best of the best’ has sharpened our expertise of the how and why of the luxury world – and we’ve gathered a few learnings along the way on how to navigate it…

Luxury has always been about more than product. A Louis Vuitton bag would have value because of the extraordinary craft, heritage and exclusivity it brought up. Today, that same bag is even more valuable because it is created as a conversation with culture – just as a piece of art would be.

Luxury brands have embraced the role of culture-steerers. They’re opening museums, planning exhibitions, launching NFT pieces… Seeking to be known for what they curate more than for what they sell. And their influence is now measured by the impact they have on culture: their ability to tune into it and to shape it. This is a fascinating shift for a category that used to be defined by material rarity and prestige. But it does present challenges for creative agencies. The main one lies in understanding a world defined by culture. Because – as culture itself – it moves at lightning speed.

This is where the link with art comes in: art can connect to culture – but is never limited by it. It mirrors, questions and provokes our modern world. And most importantly – it moves the dial away from material rarity towards creative exclusivity.

As in the art world, we believe success for luxury brands will be in connecting with consumers as collectors over traditional consumers. We call them ‘collectors’ for their similarities to art fanatics. Indeed, they seek more than status symbols when engaging with luxury. What collectors crave are experiences rich in emotion, artistry, creativity. In these, they find the depth needed for real value; they find meaning and continuity.

Designing well for them requires genuine craft mastery: collectors are discerning and highly knowledgeable. But they are also curious and open to new experiences that will enrich their lives. They engage with the head – but choose with heart.

To seduce them, brands need to start thinking of themselves as storytellers. In this context, design becomes a tool to tell stories in which heroes and worlds are created, and where finding the right story is essential.

Our role as design partners is tell that right story. No two stories are the same, but there are some of our winning rules…

  • Richness over opulence. Think sensory richness. Lavishness isn’t forbidden, but it should come with imagination and surprise.
  • Bold creativity is rewarded. Find inspiration in the art world to create real impact.
  • Embrace playfulness. The era of serious, solemn luxury is gone. From vibrant colour palettes to pop-inspired drops – remember joy is in.

These three guiding principles help us captive collectors; they frame how we tell stories. But most importantly, they speak about culture and art – as much as luxury.