The true value of design

21.09.15

We all think we know what design is. It’s the way things look, what we see and the visual world around us, right? That’s true, but it’s not the whole story. It goes so much further than just placing your logo on a letterhead and making sure everything is in the right font.

At ifour we like to think of Design as what links creativity and innovation. What shapes ideas to become practical and attractive propositions for users or customers.

In fact, we’d go as far as saying that design is fundamental to your business success.

Perhaps it’s no wonder that the creative industries in the UK are worth a staggering £76.9 billion per year, contributing a whopping £8.8 million to the UK economy every hour.

Still need convincing? Here are a few keys points to remember when it comes to design.

Develop a strong identity and a loyal following

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of great design is brand awareness. The Design Council frequently cites that every £1 invested in design leads to £20 in net turnover.

A knock on impact of a strong brand is loyalty. Ultimately every company wants to gain the trust of its customers and one of the key ways to do that is through consistency. A great experience supported by consistently great design, will reassure your customers that you are a professional business that knows what you’re doing.

Get your team on board

When you think design, we mostly think of customers, but don’t forget that your own staff are your internal brand ambassadors and potential customers. The most effective brands are lived and owned by the people that work there.

Take a look at some of the most awesome office designs, to see how businesses are using design innovation to embed the brand into their working culture. Be warned, you will get office envy!

This strong internal identity will help you weather the storms of change, too. If you acquire additional staff, take on a new market or seek to diversify, having that clear sense of who you are and what your business stands for will provide the strong foundations you need for growth.

By having a culture where everyone is encouraged to think creatively will also allow the company to be more resilient and adaptable to change.

Innovate like never before

There is actual evidence to suggest that design can help you solve all sorts of problems and not just those that require a new Pantone colour and typeface. In his inaugural Design in Tech presentation, John Maeda, Design Partner at KPCB cited countless cases of design being used to enhance innovation and solve problems.

A case in point is the design-grad founders of Airbnb. When the pair started out, no one was interested in investing in a web-based company that took design as seriously as functionality. The pair were clearly ahead of the game and certainly had the last laugh as their company is now valued at pretty sweet $24 billion. And it’s not just Airbnb who can testify to the importance of design. According the Design Council, rapidly growing businesses are three times more likely than other to consider design crucial to success.

Making sense of the digital world

With the digitisation of absolutely everything, you may be forgiven for thinking that design is playing second fiddle to technology. Not so. It’s within the limitations imposed by a digital world that design really shines. It’s quite a challenge to meet a customers every need on a pixelated screen that’s a mere 10cm x 6cm.

But great design, takes a problem and thinks outside the constraints to find a beautiful solution. The rewards are well worth it, by giving the customer that consistent, seamless experience both on and offline will help to build the trust and loyalty – the Holy Grail for any company.

So, where do you start?

Sometimes it’s tough to see the wood for the trees within a business. You live and breathe your brand all day long, so what’s crystal clear to you may be as thick as mud to someone else. This is where an agency can step in to the rescue. Not only will an agency have that outside perspective, they’ll also have their creative types sitting side by side with their techy guys, so they can help you look at your greatest challenges and seek practical and beautiful solutions together.

As parting thought, perhaps it’s worth remembering that, on average, a design alert business will generally increase their market share by 6.3%. Now we don’t think that’s to be sniffed at. Do you?

If you’d like to find out more about how design can add value to your business, give us a call on 01892 541111, email hello@ifour.co.uk or check out our agency credentials on RAR.