The Impact of Design in Business
Design is one aspect in business that is often overlooked, underestimated and undervalued. Businesses usually run on a limited set of resources and some aren’t always willing to spend for designs at a professional rate. Often an employee with little knowledge or none at all will be assigned the daunting task of redefining a brand’s logo or creating engaging marketing collaterals for the company. Businesses go around their need for design with this or some other form of DIY solution. Most probably, the business owner might not even be satisfied with the overall output from this method. But probably the reason why businesses undervalue design so much is that they simply don’t realize how and where it impacts their venture overall.

Design impacts the customer’s perception of a brand’s legitimacy and trustworthiness. Consistent and quality design reassures, whereas ones that are all over the place annoys and sends mixed messages.

Great design makes a great first impression

As they say, a person only has one chance at making a good impression. The same goes with any brand, for when a potential customer encounters them for the first time. The design of either the brand’s packaging, website or business card serve as a visual cue of how a potential client will initially perceive it. Quality, professional-grade design gives credibility to any brand or business and first-time customers value that when deciding to buy into the business or not.

Design influences perception of quality and trust

In a study by Derek Helpern of Social Triggers entitled “Trust and Mistrust of Online Health Sites,” 94% of the factors mentioned for rejecting or mistrusting a website were design-related. Participants rambled about the poor color choices, layouts being too busy and complex, lack of navigational aids, too much text and plenty more. Delving into the past, brands can gain further insight as well from Louis Cheskin’s concept of sensation transference. The idea is that customers’ perception of a product or service is directly related to its package design; that customers see the product as a combination of both itself and its packaging. The aesthetic value of packaging can impact even the customer’s perception of the product’s quality and overall experience. This is rooted on the point of the first impression. Design impacts the customer’s perception of a brand’s legitimacy and trustworthiness. Consistent and quality design reassures, whereas ones that are all over the place annoys and sends mixed messages.

Photo uploaded by Natalie Baty to Pinterest

Design can tell a story

As best-selling author and marketing consultant Simon Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Through design, brands have the opportunity to tell their story and purpose in a way that gives the audience the right idea of what they’re about, appeals to their senses, and evokes a lasting emotional connection. This can be achieved with a well-thought brand identity, logo or packaging design. One can take for instance the current Unilever logo. A closer look at it shows that it contains 25 icons, each of which carrying a rich meaning and signifying something that matters to the company. Together, these icons express Unilever’s core values and represents its commitment to make sustainable living a standard.


Creative design stands out


Although there are many ways for a brand to differentiate itself from competition –  be it through better customer service, cheaper prices, higher product quality etc – one should consider the role design plays in visual communication. Clever, creative and unique designs help businesses stand out and be distinguished from competition. Such designs will catch the attention of potential customers, and draw them into engaging with the brand over its competitors.


Quality design helps you save money


Bad and cheap design will cost you in the long run. Businesses who don’t take design seriously early on might will most likely undergo tons of rebrands and redesigns. This costs manpower and so much time, and the constant change in designs will likely confuse customers as well. Professional-grade designs have the capacity to be nearly timeless and helps save costs in the long run.

Great design sells!

It is clear that design creates an impact with various facets of any business. With great design, a brand stands out amongst competition. It has reeled in the right customer with a wonderful introduction, told a compelling brand story, and cemented the customer’s trust and belief in them.   Sounds like the deal is in the bag. Hook, line, and sinker!   But at the end of the day, nothing appeals more to the businessman than how the bottom line benefits from remarkable design. Well-thought design converts – it makes customers spend more time browsing the catalogue, decidedly click on “Purchase” and stay loyal to the brand for as long as they’re immersively satisfied with the brand experience. So how is design fiscally beneficial?   In a study by Forrester Research Consulting, commissioned by Adobe, they explored how design practices could produce tangible, measurable results and evaluate its (design) use in terms of marketing, production and customer experience. The study resulted in differentiating companies that are led by design; they integrate design principles in virtually everything they do.   Moreso, according to the dmi: Design Value Index report by the Design Management Institute and MVI Strategies, these design-driven companies have consistently outperformed the S&P 500 index* by 211%. They have maintained a significant stock market advantage over 10 years, as of the report’s publication in 2015. Design-led companies have also reported 41% higher market share, 46% competitive advantage overall and 50% more loyal customers.

Information from the Design Management Institute’s 2015 dmi:Design Value Index Results and Commentary, found on
These numbers don’t lie, and design definitely sells. Design’s impact is company-wide and externally vast. Businesses need to think nowadays not only of what design and materials they need to pursue, but how design will dictate how they will pursue everything. This goes beyond just the aesthetic offerings of design; it’s now about transforming a business altogether through design. Lead with design, and you lead with great results.
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