11 May Good design is good business
As any graphic designer would know, it’s a hard job convincing a client about the benefits of good design. But good design is good business.
And in all my experience I think It comes down to a lack of understanding about what is actually considered to be good design – and how to recognise it.
Most people in the general population don’t have an eye for good design. They can’t look at a design and see the balance, the hierarchy, the positive and negative space. They can’t see how the interplay of these principals make for a more appealing and effective presentation to the human eye. They can’t understand that people are more attracted to attractive things. And we can’t hold that against them.
Most people think that good design is something “frilly”, or it’s about aesthetics, or it’s adding a bevel and drop shadow to the headline! Of course, this is crazy but they don’t know any better and as a designer it’s part of your job to teach this to your clients.
They won’t always be willing students and they won’t always care but if you want to keep your passion ignited and not have your soul destroyed by years of bread and butter projects then the skill of communicating this is something you should hone.
Choosing whether to continue to work with a client who doesn’t appreciate your skills is dependant on whether you need urgent money to pay the bills. Most designers have a breaking point… and it usually starts at the moment the word PowerPoint is used.
There is more than enough evidence to show that good design, more than ever before, is good business. The rise of the importance of branding over the last 30 years is testimony to that. Well designed brands win. Because no one wants to be associated with ugly. It’s that simple.
Take the example above. They are virtually the same product at the same price point. But which one do you want sitting in your bathroom? Which brand will win?
For design to become a successful and ultimately and important part of society we have to help people overcome their ignorance. Just ok is not good enough when great doesn’t cost that much more.
The smart and successful clients around the world know this. They know investment in good design up front is the key to longevity. This is relevant across design in so many fields. Think web development and design, architecture, branding and product design.
The public expectation of high quality design in their homes and on their streets has never been higher… even if they can’t actually recognise it.
Graphic design is often disposable. Designs are created for campaigns or projects that have a finite lifespan then get thrown away. This does not mean that we as designers are not worth our value. Take these three principals:
- Good design does not cost more when measured across the lifetime of the design usage.
- Good design can only come from skilled designers and teams
- Good design begins with client commitment.
Good design is measurable and there are plenty of examples to prove this. Take a form on a website – good user-considered design can improve completion of the form. Which in turn, can lead to customer conversions. In this case we are not talking about pretty design, we are talking about effective design… and a good graphic designer needs to know the difference.
If you are a designer ask yourself is my design “Form follows function or function following form?”.
If you are a client answer this: would you tell your doctor how to perform surgery on you?
Design is about solving complex problems, in a visual way. Start with the problem not the solution and good design will follow.