why design matters.

does design matter?

In all the articles, podcasts, blog posts, and tweets I’ve read about starting a business, one of the first questions you're asked to consider is always, “Why do you want to start your business?” It’s an important question for any budding entrepreneur to consider, and one that could easily be left undefined. When I think about why design is important to me, I realize why I wanted to head down this path: I want to help people accurately express the message they want to deliver in their business, their event, or even their lives. Design does just this.

It was hard to scale back from addressing a larger picture when writing this. All that I feel about graphic design also spills over into the realms of style, beauty, aesthetics, creativity, etc. There have been many things written on the topic of importance of good design, and I don't pretend that I invented these ideas; these are simply the ones I've determined mean the most to me.

1)      Design solves problems. Yes, design is artful. It’s about creating beauty, creating a feeling, creating a personality. But design is also a science. It has a grid, a plan, and measurements. When it’s done right, it delivers a message. It tells a consumer what information he or she needs to collect. Whether it is a poster telling the details of an upcoming concert, a sales graphic on a website’s homepage, or the packaging on a block of cheese, all are meant to tell you something. You might have a wonderful restaurant, but if someone sees your brochure or looks at your website and can’t figure out where you’re located, then inefficient design has affected your business. Bad design clouds or hides the message. Good design lets it ring through loud and clear.

2)      Design tells something before you even say a word. When a brand is well defined, a consumer feels something. Consider a bottle of Aveeno shampoo – it has muted, earthy colors and floral graphics, which instantly help you know they are all about all-natural products. Conversely, a bottle of L’Oreal kids shampoo has bright colors, illustrations, and an eyeball, all which indicate a juvenile and fun feeling.  The design tells you more than all the copy in the world. When you consider how quickly people look over products, skim through websites, or scan their favorite social media feeds, it is of utmost importance to send a clear signal who you are from the get-go.

3)      Design shows intention. Sure, anyone can snap a photo and lay some text over it. Anyone could pick a font, type the business name in that font, and call it a logo. But, design is so much more. A designer does thorough research to understand the market you are trying to reach. She considers color theory and what will resonate with your potential customers. She knows what makes a good typeface choice specific to your area, how to pair fonts, and how to keep things consistent. While the best design looks effortless in the final product, the process is anything but. The result for your brand is a thoughtful product, which shows your customer you are committed to their experience.

4)      Design is part of what makes us human. It is important to have food, clothing, and shelter. It is important to make a living. But what makes us feel and what gives us meaning are the emotions we feel, the conversations we have, and what we experience above an instinctual level. This is where design comes in: it brings your business, your event, and your life to the next level.  One of my favorite quotes is from designer Ingrid Fettel, who wrote, “Humans are the only creatures to be able to have significant control over our environment, and design is the mechanism by which we do it.” Design is part of our culture, a moment in history, and an act of storytelling. Why not make it something beautiful?

I’d love to hear what you think – how does design affect you? How is it important to your business? Your life?

PS If you’re considering hiring a designer for a project you have on the horizon, I’d be delighted to hear from you. Let’s create something meaningful together!