Design Matters

by David Heitman

At a firm like ours, we believe in design.

Not design for design’s sake, but for a higher good.

We design logos, websites, video productions, billboards, product packaging…even a beer coaster or two. The point is for design to distill the essence of a brand and create an experience for the one viewing/using the design.

I’m at Neocon in Chicago today with one of our clients who exhibits here. It’s the interior design industry’s ultimate show where manufacturers show off some pretty amazing designs: furniture, fabrics, lighting and other elements that make up the spaces we all inhabit.

This show really demonstrates the role that design plays in all our lives, and the role it should play. One example is an educational chair manufacturer. Their research showed that by having a chair that little kids could use for working while either sitting or standing and which had the right ergonomics gave them a little wiggle room, and actually decreased the diagnosis of ADHD among students in the classroom. The chairs look cool, are incredibly comfortable and allow the kids to learn more effectively.

What an amazing connection. Better design leads to better behavior and learning.

Then there’s the big video monitor someone designed that also functions as a white board where you can draw and interact with the images on the screen bringing digital content and spontaneous creative brainstorming together. Brilliant!

What these and hundreds of other design-forward products here at Neocon have in common is that someone suspended asssumptions…challenged the status quo…and designed something better, something more beneficial as a result.

That’s a good mandate for any creative endeavor. And it is a mandate for success in any industry. Every year, as B2B decision-makers and B2C consumers arise from the most digitally literate, design-savvy generation in history, design will matter more than ever. Better design in products, services and how they are promoted will increasingly provide a competitive advantage. Those who assume that good design is a nice-to-have, not a must-have, will be left behind.

But to those who understand that design matters, there’s a blue ocean of opportunity waiting.