Why Brands Should Care About Good Design

Design is a marriage between function and aesthetics. From the appearance of your website to your product packaging, your brand’s design should please the senses and spark emotions. If done right, design can even add value to your brand in terms of revenue, consumer loyalty, and shareholder value.

The folks at MDG Advertising have prepared an informative infographic, Why Good Design Matters for Businesses, which takes an in-depth look at the positive impact good design can have on a brand’s bottom line.

How Does Design Impact Performance?

McKinsey & Company recently reviewed the performance of 300 publicly traded companies to determine if brand design had any effect on a company’s bottom line. The answer was a resounding yes. The firms ranking in the top 25% for utilizing best design practices outperformed competitors by 32% in revenue growth and 56% in shareholder return.

The research also found that the positive impact of a well-thought-out design was not limited to a single industry or type of firm. McKinsey found that good design translated to above-average performance across a wide range of industries, such as retail banking, consumer packaged goods, medical technology.

What Makes Design So Important?

McKinsey clearly established that companies prioritizing good design perform better than their peers. The next logical question then is, “Why?” Although good design offers numerous benefits, the following seem to have the most impact on a company’s bottom line:

Design and Branding Establish Brand Identity: Design impacts every aspect of your brand and helps to set you apart from your competition and encourage customer engagement. When creating your brand design and identity, the following are just some of the design elements you need to consider:
  • Logo
  • Colors
  • Photography and illustrations
  • Typography
  • Video
  • Icons
  • Website layout and function
Certain companies have elevated brand design to an art. For example, simply seeing the Apple or McDonald’s logo instantly lets you know what to expect in terms of products, quality, and customer experience. A well-designed brand should be unique, consistent across all products and platforms, and targeted to the desired customer demographic.

These are the estimated business values of some of the most iconic global brands:
  • Coca-Cola: $66 billion
  • Microsoft: $93 billion
  • Amazon: $101 billion
  • Google: $156 billion
  • Apple: $214 billion
Good Design Conveys Quality and Authenticity: With a growing number of consumers using the Internet to make or research purchasing decisions, the amount of time you have to convey to the consumer that you can be trusted to solve their problem or fill a particular need is extremely limited. In fact, most consumers form their opinion of a website within 50 milliseconds. Seventy-five percent of consumers say that they judge a website by its layout and design. Approximately half of website visitors are on a site for 15 seconds or less.

Good Design Improves the Entire Customer Experience: Good design is about more than improving aesthetics. It is about making your product, service, and overall customer experience the best it can be. The late Steve Jobs summarized this concept very succinctly when he said, “It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

An effective, user-centered design takes into consideration the needs and preferences of the consumer at every stage of the interaction. According to Don Norman, who is considered one of the founders of modern design thinking, your brand design should inspire consumers on three basic levels:
  • Your branding and design should generate a visceral response by instantly creating a positive first impression.
  • On a behavioral level, your branding and design should create a consumer experience that is both intuitive and pleasurable.
  • Your design should also reflect the larger message or meaning that you are trying to convey. Your design must encapsulate everything you are trying to say to the consumer regarding how your brand looks, feels, sounds, smells, or even tastes.

How Do I Create a Good Brand Design?

An effective design must work for your internal team tasked with executing it and the consumers who will interact with it. The most effective brand designs include these elements:
  • Your design should be eye-catching and distinctive to help you stand out from your competitors.
  • Your design should be memorable. Some of the best brand designs are so memorable that you don’t even need the name, such as the Nike “swoosh.”
  • Your design should be scalable and flexible so that it can grow and evolve with your brand.
  • Every element of your design and branding should work together to reinforce your brand identity.
  • Your design should be intuitive and easy for designers, marketers, engineers, and others to implement and execute.
McKinsey & Company found several design best practices among top-performing companies:
  • The most successful firms set measurable design goals to track performance and readjust their strategies based on the results.
  • Top-performing companies make branding and design a multi-disciplinary process by eliminating silos and holding everyone accountable.
  • Branding design is a continuous process. The most successful companies continually evaluate and refine their branding and design.
  • Exceptional design caters to the needs and preferences of the consumer.
It is ultimately this consumer focus that creates value by improving every element of your business, from your marketing strategy to your products and services.

For more details, be sure to check out MDG’s full infographic, below.

Why Good Design Matters for Businesses

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