Design Factsheets

The over-riding reason for investment in design is to increase profit, while enhancing your relationships with customers and suppliers. It can also be gauged by an increase in the take-up of services, the creation of better products that enjoy better market share and a decrease in the number of customer complaints. For most businesses, though, this gain has to be commercial and evident in increased turnover, profit, or market share, as well as ensuring that existing customers do not switch to other suppliers.

Environment and objectives

For design to be effective, the designer and the project team must fully understand the business environment and design solutions which benefit the business objectives. This should include:

  • The business sector you are involved in and the markets you operate in.
  • The market position and the competitive advantages you are seeking – why customers are buying your products and services and how your products differ from the competition in terms of quality, performance, value, prestige, convenience and service.
  • How your customers perceive your brand values, and how these compare with those of your competitors.
  • The company’s growth and profit targets. This involves an understanding of where the company is going and how your customers’ requirements will develop in the future.

This will influence many of the elements a designer works with (and that directly affect a buying decision) such as:

  • Product/service uniqueness and consumer experience of it
  • Reliability
  • Appearance – is it appealing?
  • Ease of use – does it do what it needs to?
  • Environmental acceptability
  • Safety

Processes and specifications

Design also plays a key role in reducing your production costs. A designer can make a project more effective by understanding your manufacturing processes and giving clear specifications for production that save materials, time, or overall cost.

Effective management of the design process can reduce the time your project takes to get to market, for example, by ensuring that representatives of different departments work in a team on the product/service at the same time.

You can use design to improve your business through the products and services you offer, and you can double its effectiveness by planning for and using design strategically. By thinking the big design picture, rather than focussing on one single product, you can link all of the parts of your company that benefit from design and create a powerful business response that is irresistible to your customers.

For design advice in your region contact your local Business Link and visit the Design Council web site.

‘For design to be effective, the designer and the project team must fully understand the business environment and design solutions which benefit the business objectives.’

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