Design Is Not Just About Making Things Look Good

…it is a powerful tool for change, not just a tool for styling products and communications.

–Marty Neumeier, The Designful Company

Marty Neumeier is a famous designer and author of The Brand Gap. He says that design is not just about making things look good. Instead, it is a powerful tool for change, not just a tool for styling products. When we begin to look at it this way, we begin to think about incorporating design into our work. A tool for change? If you could use design to help change hearts, aren’t you interested in finding out how?

chart comparing companies that value, don't value design

A certain letter to the editor from Fast Company talks about a study in England which compared companies that systemically valued design with the average stock market price. The blue line represents the companies that systemically valued design, including Audi, Apple and others. Companies which valued design were perceived by people as worth more, an indicated by the graph that people paid more for stock in design-conscious companies. By bringing in good design, it creates a higher-perceived value for what we’re offering. People will say, “We want that, we choose that, we’re going to fund that.” It is an important point because every advantage counts.

Some people think, “I’m not a designer,” and that’s okay! You don’t need to be a highly-trained designer to incorporate great design. You can incorporate a few design principals and still gain the advantage of a higher perceived value.

When we think about design it can be a scary word. Oh no, design! Is it some sort of magic? Are people born with this talent? If we look at the root word for design, it’s the same root for the word designate. We designate things all of the time. We designate when we come to a meeting or what we’re going to do next. Design is just designating. That’s not as scary. We can do that! You can use your same designating engine and put some new rules in place, and be designing your presentations and achieving the same higher perceived value as companies we associate with great design.