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What does design have anything to do with your business? Some people think that design is simply when something looks nice. However, design is so much more than that! Yes, the word design does bring to mind strong visual appeals. But what most businesses don’t realise is that design is about being ahead of your competitors. 

I really like this quote from Thomas Watson Jr., who was IBM’s Chairman and CEO, he once said: “good design is good business”. Such a simple quote but so true. It’s pretty hard to argue with a man who’s grown a company tenfold!

To put it simply, good design is a bottom line investment. Great design is about more than looking good. It’s what makes a product more than just the parts they’re made from. Good design gives your product character!

Think about it, why do people buy iPhones? There’s a lot of smartphones out there but the iPhone is a product that is so popular and loved. What sets the iPhone apart is Apple’s particular design language. The design of the iPhone is aesthetically pleasing but also straightforward and user-friendly. Businesses who don’t get design will fail. Design is crucial to your business, now more than ever!

So how can you use design to better your business?

Top-down approach

To really make a difference using design, those at the top of your company has to believe in it. Thanks to visionary leaders function-driven companies have turned into design-driven companies and it’s shown in their results! Design-driven companies get set apart from their competitors because good design gives you a competitive advantage in the market!

This is why it’s important that everyone in your business understands that design is vital and help to create a company culture that drives innovation.

Experience the product

Having appealing products is no longer enough – globalisation and the rise of technology mean that your customers aren’t just going to walk into their local store and pick up your product because it’s the only option. They can buy products from all over the world, often at much cheaper prices. If good design is doing the job it’s supposed to it will manage your perception of a product experience in multiple ways both consciously and subconsciously. How you feel about the product decides whether you will purchase or even engage with it. The experience and engagement (or lack of) of a product is what really matters when giving yourself a competitive advantage.

Design for your customers

Tony Driscoll, who has designed Walt Disney theme parks, says that good design is all about understanding your customer’s unmet needs. “It’s where business puts itself in the customer’s shoes, trying to understand what they value in the world and what they want to have a relationship with that brand.” Understanding and designing for those needs will bring your product (and your business) to its full potential.

Keep at it

Good design takes time and your creation will often go through several design iterations before you strike the perfect product. Knowing that it’s worth it and then sticking to it, is what will set you apart from your competitors. It’s easy to go back to purely functional, engineered products, but they’re not what will help your business grow and take its fair share of the marketplace.

As it has for a couple of decades now, good design will continue to dominate the business world. After all, in a world where you can buy almost any product imaginable online, we’ve gotten so used to good design that anything less just doesn’t cut it anymore.


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