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Design is…

As humans, we speak through languages, while things or inanimate objects speak through designs. It seems today that nobody claims to speak a foreign language they haven’t studied, but everybody thinks they know design.

 

If you do an image search on google of “design”, will probably get you these results: explosions of paint, illegible typography, patterns of many colours, and images that poorly represent what design is.

 

The word design is trendy and is typically used to refer to the physical or visual appearance of objects. Design is not just about making things look attractive, or about usability, or even just delight…design is much more.

 

Design is about taking products from being usable to delightful and then beyond that — to meaningful.

 

Design is so powerful that it can influence the experience a user has with all of a company’s touchpoints. Ultimately, all these touchpoints and product experiences culminate in the overarching perception of a company’s brand — and design impacts all of this.

 

Design is also a way for us to deliver deep meaning to our customers through the experiences we craft. Forbes Agency Council described design as beyond aesthetics and transformative.

 

Design can influence the experience a user has with all of a company’s touchpoints.

 

Beyond Aesthetics

Beyond just the way something looks, design is a plan in and of itself. Creating a good design for the right company at the right time involves thorough research that gets to the core of how a brand needs to engage with its market. In our experience, uncovering the ideal design strategy for a company begins by understanding the deeper roots of a business, it’s core beliefs, founding vision, differentiating factors, user personas, and company goals to name a few.

 

Whether by a marketing team, an in-house design or an outside agency, the process must involve defining the communication challenges and developing solutions around it. For instance, the question can be asked: why do customers use our services or buy our products? Answers to this simple question can help reveal the fundamental reason(s) why users are drawn to your brand, which can then translate into a sales-boosting campaign.

 

 

Transformative Design

Companies in the technology, healthcare, economics, entertainment and transportation segments are leaning on and investing in optimized design strategies to support their next phase of growth because they realized that design could be such a powerful conversion tool with the ability to turn strategy into tangible business results.

 

According to Adobe State of Create 2016 report, 59% will choose to do business with a company over one of its competitors based on good design, and 45% have even paid more for a product or service with good design within the year leading up to the study.

 

Considering design as a fundamental part of the success of business needs more than just curating creative assets. Successful design begins with an overall strategy that communicates messaging and usability to the users and the brand’s community. This integration of all aspects of a company’s DNA makes better design an investment that will deliver sustainable results.

 

 

The Consequence Of Bad Design

A top reason for implementing a strategic design initiative, where research and measurement are involved, is to avoid bad design.

 

Consider a newly launching company, eager to get a website up and running to drive sales. Common pitfalls include underdeveloped content, poorly taken photography (or no visuals at all) and little or no thought about the customer journey. When a design is put together that lacks clarity and direction, it is unable to represent the brand or company adequately and leaves no room for engagement.

 

In Adobe’s report, 46% of people responded, “I will not purchase from a brand if its website or mobile experience is poorly designed,” and 50% admitted to judging companies based on their marketing material’s design quality.

 

From content to visual design, the strength of audience engagement is directly related to the power of good design, as these efforts work to define a credible, trustworthy brand through consistency, predictability, and visibility.

 

 

Measuring Success

While it may seem the ROI of design is hard to measure, while it’s all too easy to see the costs involved to create it, consider the organic and far-reaching, positive effects. From bolstering market share to generating jobs, we have witnessed good design solidify a company’s standing in the marketplace. Following a Design In Business report from Accenture Strategy, “‘Design-alert’ businesses achieve a 125% return on their design-related investments.”

 

The fact is, good design should function. Known for his innovative automobile designs for BMW and other iconic brands, Henrik Fisker put it well by saying, “If a design isn’t profitable, then it’s art.” Regardless of size, investing at scale in this critical element is essential to compete with visible companies that have design-driven values.

 

Through research, questioning, and implementation, a strategy can be developed with which to build an aligning design process for scalable engagement.

 

The focus has shifted. We should understand that design is not merely about creating usable components and product designs; design is about creating works that impact the perception of an entire brand and customer experiences.

 

Do you want to start a design project? Get in touch.

Yinka Babajide
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