Design matters. More than ever.

Posted by Mänga in Design

Design Matters

“Good design is
good business”.

— Thomas J. Watson Jr, IBM CEO

Good design is good business
“Good design is good business” famously declared IBM’s legendary CEO Thomas J. Watson Jr, to MBA students at Wharton Business School—in 1973. Today that phrase won’t rise many eyebrows, since design-led companies like Apple, Ikea or Canada Goose have transformed it into an axiom, but back then, the idea was more a prophecy than reality, so it seemed frivolous, silly even. To many people, design was the superficial polish of decoration. But Watson was a believer, having grown the company tenfold by transforming its signature line of cog-and-spring cash registers to computer mainframes. Along the way, the perception of a grimed IBM had changed irrevocably and it became the Big Blue—the face of a new computer age.

It’s only now—decades later—that Watson is being proved right. Design has become a decisive advantage in scores of industries and the crucial tool to ward-off commoditization. Moreover design has become a bottom line investment as confirmed by a long study done by the Design Council Research, which shows that design-led businesses on the FTSE 100 out-performed the index by 200%, consistently for the past decade. Finally, business leaders have come to the realization that good design not only creates value but it can be an important driver in generating revenues and delivering profits.

We all talk about design, but what exactly is design and how does it work?

I like it—what is it?
Design is a noun, a verb, and a problem-solving process. It’s a specialized business discipline that integrates an enormous amount of knowledge, from the interconnected fields of visual communication, graphic design, learning theory, cognitive psychology, consumer psychology and neuroscience, with critical thinking and creative and technical skill, to achieve a specific business result.

Design seeks to clarify the message and craft it into an emotional response that can do many things: seduce, persuade, brand, inform, motivate, enhance, organize, engage, carry and convey many levels of meanings. A design solution can be so effective that it influences people’s feelings and beliefs about your product or company, and changes their behaviour.

Great design tells your brand story in a way that attracts an audience and creates a memorable experience that incites a strong emotional connection. Graphic design helps frame what that connection is and when applied consistently, it transforms it into a meaningful, long-term relationship that customers reward with their loyalty.

Design sells
For the most part, design continues to be about finely crafted visual artifacts. They carry a lot of meaning. They also create a lot of value. If they didn’t, cars would look the same every year, cereal would come in plain brown boxes and every annual report would only be available online.

MängaDesign believes that regardless of the application, the role of design—no matter how creative—reduced to its essence is ultimately to sell. Or as legendary David Ogilvy put it: “if it doesn’t sell it’s not creative”.

But creative design is not happenstance. Behind every great design, there is great intent and to profit most from creative thinking, the designer has to be brought on early, at the start of a project—not at the end as marketing afterthought and a superficial aesthetic solution.

The design economy
At the dawn of the twenty-first century, design is not only the propeller of companies’ fortunes, but design thinking has become an emerging field in business and its methods and strategies has been been extended to solve today’s complex business challenges.

As product-parity increases and markets become overly crowded, it is imperative to your business that design and design thinking is embraced at every level of your company, in order to help it build innovative products and systems and enhance customer experiences.

For most businesses today, design and innovation is the sure path to unprecedented growth and prosperity. The conclusion is simple: If you want long-term profits start with design.

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20 Jun 2013