Design Factsheets

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

Overall understanding

As well as being involved in the first stage of a product/service lifecycle – the creation – the designer needs to be very familiar with many of your company’s other activities. Regardless of whether something is being undertaken in-house or sub-contracted, good design can help every department function more efficiently and more effectively. When working with you, a designer must have an understanding of:

  • Production
    Design is involved in all aspects of the production process. A designer must understand the constraints of your manufacturing process to be able to apply design to better that process, and to create solutions that can be delivered. This applies to the successful development of services too.
  • Sales
    Designers can help the sales team understand the benefits of a product or service, so that it is better placed to sell the product. Designers can also help the team understand what type of feedback to get from customers and how to act on it.
  • Marketing
    Design should be closely related to your marketing message. It must relate to the real needs of your customers and the needs of your business and thus help to communicate effectively with your target market.
  • Finance
    The impact of design on your bottom line comes in two forms. Firstly design can be used to cut costs, through design in manufacture, for instance. Secondly through increasing revenues and margins. Design, particularly product and graphic design, is a key source of differentiation in customers’ perception of quality and brand value.

Both of these are recognised as allowing a business to command higher margins. Evaluation of design investments in other areas, such as interior and communications design are more complex. They require you to think through how such investment impacts on factors, such as staff productivity, which can then be linked to financial profitability.

The Design Council has developed a tool to help finance managers begin to understand and work through these complex issues and prepare a business case for investment in design. For further information, refer to the Design Council web site.

Letting information flow to and from your designer is key to ensuring design works well as part of the overall business process. Remember: If you are concerned with sharing information with your designer, obtain a signed confidentiality agreement.

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

There are various other sources that support this fact sheet, which include /business-advice/sales-marketing/design-factsheets/briefing-a-designer.html“>briefing a designer.

‘Regardless of whether something is being undertaken in-house or being sub-contracted, good design can help every department function more efficiently and more effectively.’

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