Does good design really matter for your business?
Spoiler alert... YES.
When a business decides that design is an integral part of its success, then innovation becomes the standard across everything it does. Apple is one of the more well known examples of the fundamental connection between design and business. They understood before other companies that design that creates customer desire can demand higher prices. An iPhone or iPad is more than just the technical capabilities it contains; it’s sleek, intuitive, and easy to use – all thanks to the design behind it. As Steve Jobs explained in a 2003 New York Times interview, “Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer – that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
Google is a brand that didn’t always understand how to make design a priority, but took a page from Apple’s playbook and transformed from a search engine with clunky interfaces to providing hardware and software that’s clean and easy to use. In 2012, on the heels of Apple’s failed map app release, Google released an iOS map app of its own. While it was expected that the app would be accurate, the big surprise was the design appeal. It was cleaner, easier to use, and less flashy than the Apple version. Once Google realized they could combine their technological strengths with a fresh, well-designed interface, they had a winning strategy that could rival Apple.
It’s not just the big tech brands that benefit from a focus on design. According to a British study by the Design Council, businesses that see design as integral are more than twice as likely as others to see rapid growth. The same study found that every pound spent on design earned a 125% return on investment.
It can be argued that money spent on design can be some of the hardest for which to calculate ROI, but it’s quite clear that it’s a hugely valuable component to attracting and retaining customers.
A well designed website can create a relationship between the viewer and the brand, even creating a sense of trust or mistrust based on the site. In a study of online health sites, the researchers found that 94% of the factors that led participants to reject or mistrust a website were design-based, and only 6% were due to irrelevant or inappropriate content. “The look and feel of the website was clearly important to the participants. Visual appeal, plus design issues relevant to site navigation appeared to exert a strong influence on people’s first impressions of the site. Poor interface design was particularly associated with rapid rejection and mistrust of a website. In cases where the participants did not like some aspect of the design the site was often not explored further than the homepage…”
This means that your site can have a great message and a top-notch product, but users won’t get past the bad design of the homepage to even see what you’re all about!
Design – through your logo, website, photography, signage, or any other visual representation of your brand – is hands down the most powerful way to communicate your brand’s values and highlight what’s special about your business. It’s able to make your ideas memorable in the mind of a customer and can give your company a competitive edge. I think we’ve all gotten a little misty-eyed at a well-made poignant dog food or chewing gum commercial at one time or another. Your competitors are embracing the power of good design, and you should too.
The bottom line: Good design is good for your bottom line.