The design process is much more than creating visuals and adapting to trendy aesthetics. In its most real sense, designing includes all the nuances of creation, planning, and problem-solving. This is why every business must consider design as a way to improve the user experience directly.
The best part about the designing process is that it proves useful for each stage of a business. If you are a startup, website designing will help you make the perfect first impression on your target audience. Similarly, if you are a well-established brand, rethinking your outlook on design through modifications in graphics or properties can ensure there is a sync between your mission statement and brand image.
What is business design?
Business design or the design of the business is nothing but an approach to innovation. When business leaders apply design thinking strategically and practically, a unique design for that business comes into existence.
If you're anything like me, you're probably clueless about design thinking or encapsulating the design process. So what is design? Designing includes all the concepts, processes, and outcomes that arise from constructing an object or system. Simply put, anything that adds value to your business and its related stakeholders most certainly holds the principles of design within it.
Here are a few examples of what design means for a business: a blueprint for your office, your company logo, a project roadmap, daily workflows, product prototypes, and feedback loops.
So design can mean anything from a simple outline of a task you are working on to a more structured Key Performance Indicator (KPI) framework. As long as you're building something with your business, you design at every step, from the ground up. For any business to be successful and add value to its customers and the industry, its design value must be strengthened to create more meaningful human-centred working methodologies.
How can design help your business perform better?
Since the design aims to bring innovation to life, it can help turn your ideas into suitable products for the market. Additionally, you can use design principles to make your business processes more effective and improve your sales and marketing strategies.
Here are seven benefits your business can gain by incorporating design into your operational activities:
Improved product life cycle
A product is a business's life-line. If your product doesn't work, no cold calls, glitzy marketing campaigns, or investors can save your business. When you pay attention to your product and what it can be leveraged for, it will become clear that design is central to its life cycle. For your business to be relevant, the product must be high on design value right from its conception to the packaging to create a lasting first impression. Leading companies such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft have understood that design thinking is necessary to optimize product innovation.
A long product life cycle is only attainable when your product's design makes some part of the customer's life easier. Product design revolves around providing solutions and visualizing the needs of your consumer.
Good design also plays an essential role in how many customers you can convert through your sales pitches, innovation, and consumer reach. As the sales cycle continues to become complicated, providing a personalized experience must be at the forefront of every sales pitch. Focus on the smallest of things, customize communications using email templates, create visually appealing brochures, and embrace business design into the sales discovery process.
Businesses that perceive issues in isolation and without empathizing with the customer's requirements end up wasting time and money investing in unqualified sales leads. For example, Salesforce achieved 100% revenue growth by incorporating design principles into its selling process. Prepare your sales team with relevant information about the product, such as key features, use cases, and benefits offered to the customer for better sales performance.
Higher returns on marketing
Business design always revolves around the user. Many businesses fail to notice that design planning can make the content look good and stand out and lead to increased marketing ROI with fewer efforts.
Design in marketing does not just mean running your regular marketing campaigns with glamorous edited images; it is entirely consumer-centric. Intense design usage in your marketing activities can help target the right audience without spending money on a different marketing strategy.
Stronger customer relationships
Regardless of what your product or service is, focusing on user-friendly design is necessary. When your customers can find an easy-to-navigate call to action (CTA) or enjoy the colour scheme, they are more likely to continue using your product. Better design attracts more usage, which in turn leads to higher customer satisfaction and retention.
Better social engagement
Social media runs on aesthetics and thoughtful, creative visuals. For a business to be successful online, it's essential to invest in a good design team. Creating engaging posts for social platforms includes several design elements.
Some of these are:
- Size and Scale
When creating images or infographics, the part of the business design you will want to focus on is graphic designing. Effective graphic design can have large and positive impacts on brand recognition and brand association. When you can engage your audience through visuals more than lengthy product descriptions, it becomes easier for them to absorb the content you are putting out.
Once you have curated a solid graphic for your social channels, map out your design pipelines in the same way that you would create an editorial calendar. Keep handy design references to understand what kind of designs get the most engagement. Visual stimuli are the number one reason for the coveted 'million likes and followers.' Don't believe me? Ask Twitter.
Refined business USP
When you look at a cup with anything resembling a mermaid, what is the first thought that comes to your mind? Starbucks! Now in the most real sense, a mermaid has nothing to do with a cup of coffee. But that particular design is etched in your head to symbolize a brand and its unique selling point. In this case, and many others, the design, be it the logo, or a concept, becomes an added USP for the business.
A robust design can become more than just a part of a campaign or a slogan. It can virtually back your claims to what makes you truly unique and different from your competitors. If you're a small business, investing time and energy into creating a good design plan can essentially provide more value to customers preventing them from swaying to alternatives.
Sustained business relevance
Consumer behaviour and preferences can change overnight. To best cope with the continually evolving purchasing patterns and customer journeys, it helps to have something to rely on. Any business that has a design department can capitalize on shifting trends. Think about it; you can't only change your entire product because it doesn't fit into the existing trends. By changing your brand design to keep up with world happenings, you can ensure that your business is viewed as relevant and relatable.
What designers should be part of your design department?
Great, you've decided to invest more time and effort into a full-fledged design department for your business. It is essential to understand why design can benefit you immensely. It is equally or somewhat more necessary to build a design department with designers who can follow through with your vision.
Design is a vast field; it consists of varying niches such as product, user interface, fashion, etc. Several types of designers are adept at specific design work. It can be confusing and challenging to navigate through the niches without understanding the actual work involved.
These are the four types of designers you should hire for your business design department:
Since a product is at the core of any business' operations, a product designer is the first designer you should hire. Most product designers can help you with product-user interfaces (UI), user experience design (UX), programming, and problem-solving.
They typically receive inputs and work with the product management team to understand the specific product's problem. While their primary concern rests in visuals, product designers can often build up their data architecture and system design.
User experience (UX) designer
Once your product is created, you must turn your attention to optimizing it for your users. A UX designer will most definitely do that for you.
UX designers extensively focus on customer satisfaction and guarantee that your product can meet the user's specific needs. As is apparent, they enhance user experience to help your business refine the product's usability and accessibility.
To achieve this, UX designers start at the basics of the design thinking process, right from researching what works and what does not, forming a concrete and usable idea, and finally, ensuring that the concept is driven by how its customer will use it. For most UX designers, the customer's mindset is their mindset and involves much more than just user testing and prototyping.
User interface (UI) designer
If you are confused about how a UX and UI designer differ from one another, here is a quick tip: A UX designer is in charge of the overall product-user interaction, whereas a UI designer is responsible for creating the interface the user can interact with your product.
User interface designers focus on two things:
- Visual appeal
- Ease of use
How many times have you deleted an app or clicked another website simply because the interface didn't look good enough or was difficult to navigate through?
All visual elements such as understanding user touch-points and their interactive movements are part of UI design. Furthermore, making sure that the user can easily tap a button (online shopping) or swipe through pictures (Instagram) are all responsibilities of a user interface designer. UI designers are also the ones who make the user experience sophisticated through visual elements such as dashboards or VR interfaces.
- Architectural Designer
The pandemic has shifted the conventional views of what an office or even a small cubicle should look like. The future of work and workplaces is going to be all about the principles of design and innovation. An architectural designer is not just a person who lays-out building and office plans. Architectural designers are different from architects in that they are responsible for designing drawings and models based on the concepts decided by the architect. They produce sketches and renderings based on specific design forms and compile the data in different layouts such as colour boards.
Although they may not have the same skills in bringing out the fundamental idea, architectural designers have thorough knowledge about design, building, and construction and have an eye for detail. If you're looking to revamp your office spaces, invest in an architectural designer to help you plan out the nitty-gritty of the building process.
Design thinking is the way forward.
Design is most easily one of the most important factors when building a business and its brand. It's a fundamental part of all business activities: product research, market surveys, and even boosting customer satisfaction.
Your business design is what will truly set you apart from your competition and eventually increase growth and revenue. Simultaneously, not investing enough time and money into strategic design thinking can result in an unsuccessful business.