Business and design have not always been the best of friends. Design was often seen as the visual flare added to make your business look nice.
It is an industry where opinion about colour or a particular style can be subjective. You might feel that what the designer has provided doesn’t suit your business, but have been unable to express that verbally ,or even that you could do better, as it seems pretty easy to make a logo, or create a website these days, or simply just not understood the value design could bring to your business.
However, recently designs place in business has began to change and is now better understood as a tool that can help your business grow.
Simply put, design is a method of problem solving. Whether it is an architectural blueprint, a brochure, the signage system on the roads, furniture, or a better way to streamline production in a warehouse , design helps solve a problem.
Many of the world’s most innovative companies have one thing in common. They use design as a resource to innovate more efficiently and successfully.
In a study carried out by the Design Council, they created what they called the ‘Design Index’, an index of 61 design-led businesses. From this report it was evident that the design-led businesses had outperformed the FTSE 100 by more than 200% over a ten-year period (1995–2004).
This showed, for the first time, the efficiency on the long-term that design can have on businesses and was clear evidence of a relationship between investment in design and business performance.
Yet many businesses don’t prioritise investment in design because the value of is hard to measure and define as a business strategy.
To understand the value of design to your business, it often needs to be measured over longer term goals as it’s immediate impact cannot always be easily defined by pre existent business methods or practises.
In terms of small businesses, design thinking employed at the outset of project, can create more robust growth over the long term.
Increasing productivity through design.
In a fact finding report that The UK Design Council commissioned they found that of the 1,500 businesses they interviewed almost half believed design contributes to some extent to increased market share (46%) and turnover (44%).
So, putting design at the centre of your businesse strategy can really help increase not only the market share of your business, but also have a measured and real effect on your turnover and productivty.
Perhaps the most archetypal design-led company Airbnb, which was founded by two designer graduates, showed that through their principals of putting design first in their business the company grew at an astronomical rate.
It was last valued at $13 billion.
Investing in Design
Whatever stage your business is at, design is a resource that adds value. Whether it be in creating a meaningful brand, an functional online store, a social media strategy or a business plan, design can help add real value to your business. Not as a afterthought once you have created your everything, but a real and proven value that can help your business get where you want it to be.
Is it time you invested in Design?