Service Design. Excuse me… what?

Mariel Macia
Aug 7, 2018 · 2 min read

“Service” and “Design” are both words with a long history of misunderstandings. This article aims to clarify that when we talk about design, we are not talking about visuals. And when we talk about services, well, it isn’t just about services.

Service Designers research, design, prototype and implement experiences and the mechanics in business to create these experiences.

In the front-stage, we design products and services for meaningful customer experiences. In the back-stage, we design processes, rituals and training to create outstanding employee engagement, cultural change and optimized tools.

Frontstage and Backstage are defined by what the customer sees.

Very important: we research! We do it to find out about customers’ real motivations, behaviors and pain points while they are discovering, deciding, using and enjoying. And we also do it to discover what the employees’ needs are to provide them and customers with the best experience.

We design everything that provides outstanding experiences. Products, spaces, apps, websites, print products, AI, VR, AR… the value is on the service they provide to customers in the front-stage, to employees in the back-stage and the positive impact on the business.

We are not only digital, we design across channels and across technologies to ensure a consistent rational and emotional connection with brands, services and products.

We don’t design on our own. We partner with clients to discover and co-create opportunities for innovation. We are coaches, facilitators, we respect the knowledge and the expertise of the people in their own business and we support them by challenging them and providing them with processes, tools and the context to explore problems and generate solutions together.

And most of all, we make it happen. We work in cross functional teams to make the solutions come to life.

Service Designers are curious, creative, driven by knowledge, emphatic and methodical. We strive to have perspective and focus at the same time; being able to zoom out, seeing the big picture and thinking about systems while zooming in, getting into the details and understanding human behavior.

This is my two minute contribution to a very exciting ongoing conversation. In following posts, I will get into some more topics and experiences working on service design projects.

If you have any comment or feedback please don’t hesitate to drop me a line here, on Linkedin or Twitter. Looking forward to it.


PS.: Many thanks to Manuel Bug for the artwork.


We are DKdL.