Great Design is Good Business
Many organizations see design as mere window dressing, but great design is much more then that. Great design drives results and increases positive returns on your investment.
The biggest mistake that most organizations make is to let their personal opinions determine design choices instead of using their customers’ perspective. This approach typically results in the highest ranking manager imposing their personal design sensibilities on a project with little consideration for the effect it may have for the customer or company. They might think they are considering the perspective of their customers, but they simply don’t have the experience that a designer does. Designers are trained to balance the needs of the customer with the company’s goals.
The correct approach is to consider every design decision from the perspective of your customers, not your personal taste. Ask potential customers what they think, or use analytics and KPIs to determine problem areas in your business. Then bring in a designer to help you interpret the customers’ feedback and data, determine why those problems may exist, and create concrete solutions to solve those issues. A good designer will take time to understand your business so they can leverage design to increase your bottom line.
“A good designer will take time to understand your business, so they can leverage design to improve your bottom line.”
No two businesses are exactly alike, but many have similar opportunities to improve their business with great design. Here are some of the most common opportunities I encounter.
Brand equity is built on consistency. At bare minimum you should be using the same visual language (logo, typography, colors, photo treatments) across all touchpoints. Often times, this is easier said than done — especially if you have multiple divisions or designers creating assets. Creating a style guide and an asset management system will keep your brand consistent as your company grows.
On average, it takes seven or more touchpoints for a lead to convert to a paying customer. Too often, companies try to communicate all of their information at once — it’s overwhelming and often scares away potential clients. All of the touchpoints along your customer’s journey should be different. As a customer progresses through your sales funnel, they should learn a little more about who you are and how you can help them.
Use design to work smarter, not harder. While at Noble International, we doubled our revenue by simply changing our design process. Another area of opportunity for many organizations is creating well-designed document templates to increase efficiencies in internal and client communications. It may seem odd at first to have a designer review business processes, but it’s a quick exercise that can provide big returns.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Each page on a website should have one main action that you’d like visitors to take, whether that’s making a purchase, contacting you, or sharing an article with their social network. Content and messaging are king, but using conversion-centered design principles will be the difference between a poorly performing site and a high converting one.
Customer Experience (CX)
The biggest reason customers trust websites is the site’s visual design. Most customers will quickly bounce if they don’t trust your design. You’re likely asking visitors to trust you with their information (email address, credit card info, etc.). A high quality visual design will instill trust with your user that you’re a legitimate company that will not be spamming them or sharing your information with others.
Proposals and Stationary
Succinctly communicating key information is half the battle in creating a great presentation or proposal. As the Director of Design at a Noble International, I was a key member of creating multi-million dollar design and manufacturing proposals. Most of our competitors compiled 40–50 pages of bland text, so we used beautiful formatting and simple charts. That strategy won us a lot of contracts, even though we weren’t always the most qualified.
By looking out for opportunities like these, your company can get great business results courtesy of great design. That’s much more than mere window dressing — that’s design that impacts the bottom line.
Originally published at greygorilla.com on July 6, 2016.