Why Care About Good Design?


Sometimes, even as a designer, I overlook the importance of good design. It is a factor in almost every facet of life, even if we don’t realize it. Design is hidden in plain sight, guiding your decisions of what to eat, what books to read, car to buy…the list is infinite. That’s why in this week’s post, I’ve tried to outline four reasons why we should care about and ultimately strive for good design.

Good Design Simply Works Better

I’ve always been a supporter of the concept form follows function, as coined by the “prophet of modern architecture,” American architect, Louis Sullivan in 1896. However, that outlook may be a little narrow, because in many instances good form makes for better functionality.

In 1995, two Japanese researchers conducted a study that proves this theory. They crafted two ATMs, identical in function, but one featuring an unattractive set of buttons and screens, the other an attractive grouping. Not surprisingly, the more visually appealing ATMs were found to be easier to use. When the study was recreated in Israel years later, the proof was even stronger: attractive things work better.

It Also Puts Money in the Bank

The Design Management Institute (DMI) built the Design Value System to help assess the monetary value of design. In their findings, “Results show that over the last 10 years, design-led companies have maintained significant stock market advantage, outperforming the S&P by an extraordinary 228%.” The UK Design Council also found that for “£1 spent on design led to more than £20 in increased revenue, £4 in increased profit and £5 in increased exports.”

And Creates Order out of Data Chaos

There is no doubt that we are in an era of immense data. In fact, researchers at SINTEF found, “90% of all the data in the world has been generated over the last two years.” Analytics, impressions, polls, clicks—everything is being measured, tracked and categorized. That’s where design comes in, to help efficiently organize and decipher the percentages and stats into eye-catching visuals and compelling narrative.

All While Lowering Costs and Adding Value

Some of you may have seen how a middle school student proposed to save the U.S. Government millions by switching their font and lowering printing costs. Or if that doesn’t convince you, perhaps think about how Procter & Gamble’s redesign of it’s packaging will save them up to $1 Billion annually. These are just a few of the examples how good design can save money and add value to your company, but the underlying theme is good design offers unique solutions and perspectives for your business.

If you still need convincing for what design can do for you, check out the Design Council’s video or DMI’s presentation on their design value system.

How does good design impact you?

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