For a very long time, design was nothing more than a visual accessory. Something that looks good and makes the brand owners feel good. Does it really matter whether or not your brand design is well thought out? Or if your sales deck is pixel perfect? The answer is yes. It matters. It matters a whole lot. With technology enabling brands to do business beyond borders, competition is on the rise. With everyone offering a myriad of services from full-suite done-for-you teams to SaaS businesses automating your business, it’s really hard to stand out in this busy marketplace. That’s where great design shines through. It’s a differentiator, a business tool and ultimately a brand communication tool.
With the rise of technology comes the bombardment of advertising and design on all our devices, wherever we go. It’s no surprise that design is pervasive of every facet of our lives. While so-so design could still cut it back in the 90s, 2021 is a whole different ball game. According to an October McKinsey report from 2018, companies that invested in good design had 32% more revenue and 56% more total returns to shareholders.
On top of that, a report by InVision from early 2019 mentioned that organizations with highly developed design maturity placed high priority on design as a requirement across the entire business, with 92 percent of them saying they could draw a straight line between their design teams' efforts to their company's revenue. Out of those same companies, 84% of them said design had improved their ability to get products to market, while 85% said that good design saved them money. The bottom line? If you care about your bottom line, you need to care about great design.
Before jumping in to inspirations and examples, let’s get down to the hard numbers. Wait.. are you really going to use something as analytical as numbers to justify something as creative as design? Well, yes. If our argument here is that good design is fiscally beneficial, it makes perfect sense to back that fact up with data.
Back in 2005, the Design Council studied a sample size of 63 portfolio companies that traded on the FTSE (Foreign Times Stock Exchange) over a course of a decade. They found that the companies that concentrated more on good design also did better than those that didn’t, outperforming their counterparts by a whopping 200%. The Design Council determined that “every £100 a design alert business spends on design increases turnover by £225”. If you’re looking to more than double your returns, it’s time to focus on great design.
More recently in October 2018, the McKinsey team released a study aiming to “study the design actions that leaders can make to unlock business value.”. The study focused on understanding the design practices used by 300+ companies over a period of 5 years, across multiple industries from various countries. From the data they collated (over 2 million pieces of financial data and 100,000 design actions), they identified 12 key actions that would have a greatest correlation with improved financial performance. These actions were then segmented into 4 main categories, forming the basis of the McKinsey design index (MDI). The data points from this index provides a metric to rate companies’ design capabilities and link them to their financial performance.
Their findings showed that high quality designs were always connected with stellar business performance over all industries. There is a direct correlation between great design and the bottom line, no matter what industry they were in. The results were the same whether your company deals in “physical goods, digital products, services, or some combination of these.”. The top quartile MDI scorers manage to boost their revenue and total returns to shareholders within every industry, getting 32$ revenue growth and a 56% higher TRS growth for that time period.
Presentation is everything. Whether it’s a website, packaging or flyer, design plays a pivotal role in decision making. Carefully thought out designs can be captivating and help your brand build credibility. Don’t believe me? A study from 2011 showed that badly designed websites are often not read, trusted or even visited, “Poor interface design was particularly associated with rapid rejection and mistrust of a website,”. When you land on a page that looks like it could be from the 80s, what do you do? Hit the back button or smash that “X” button to close the tab of course! Bad design tends to be associated with scams and spam. If you want to look credible, it’s time to brush up on your brand design.
What do businesses like Uber, Apple and Airbnb have in common? They know how to use design to stand out. It’s no coincidence that the world’s leading brands tend to be design leaders. In the highly connected world we live in today, everything is accessible at a click or tap of your finger. Consumers care about and want to associate with products that look good. Studies have shown that visual appeal can be assessed within as little as 50 milliseconds. That’s how quickly you’ll need to make good on your first impression. By understanding what you want to communicate with your consumer upon the first touch point, you’ll be able to craft a journey with your design that can keep them coming back for more.
Let’s face it. Design is more than a visual accessory and we’re constantly influenced by it. Good design gives you a competitive edge, helping you stand out and drive up revenue and boost your marketing efforts. Good design gives your consumers an amazing experience and with that experience comes a lasting relationship that withstands the test of time.
If you’re interested in finding new ways to implement good design in your workplace, get in touch with us today to start making design a central part of your business.