Written By Jon Thai
One of the most common design misconceptions is that designers aim to “make things look pretty.” People mistakenly think of design as a back-end or decorative portion when in reality, it’s the tip of the spear. It is a process that involves enormous empathy and creative and strategic thinking to better-fit customers’ needs. Incorporating design and design strategy is essential to any company’s success. Design can intrinsically raise the valuation of a business, helps promote downstream savings, and contribute to brand proliferation.
Increasing Profitability With Design
First and foremost, design helps elevate the value of a business. In a 2015 study conducted by The Design Management Institute, the data provided over a ten-year period emphasized how some of the world’s top companies expanded their reach by 211 percent by becoming more “design-centric.” Design-thinking is strategic and understands how to incorporate what has already been built and accepted while considering future innovation. It is about observing and gaining insight into what people need and focusing on solutions for the consumer/customer. Businesses centered around design will have an easier time innovating, and as a result, provide more growth and profitability to their companies.
When we designed Robin Healthcare’s scribe, for instance, we fully immersed ourselves in the world of healthcare. We kept our learnings in mind throughout our design process through observation, speaking with doctors and patients, and understanding Robin Healthcare’s purpose. They wanted their product to solve the problem of clinical documentation for doctors, which would humanize the doctor-patient relationship. Robin underwent multiple design iterations to fine-tune solutions such as compatibility in a medical environment and patient confidentiality. The result was a trusty device that would soon become a doctor’s favorite sidekick: an approachable AI assistant that allows doctors to prioritize and give patients their undivided attention without completing tedious paperwork. Our design-centered process contributed to a positive, lasting impact on the medical industry. In fact, within the first year of its official launch, practices that utilized Robin reportedly saved 460 hours per year, fulfilling administrative duties. Ultimately, our design process played a role in Robin’s Series A funding of $11.5 million, eventually leading to a Series B of $50 million.
Our team also collaborated and contributed to evolving Rizse’s DragunFly drone platform into a commercialized design ready for fleet production and deployment. Because Rizse aims to streamline the future of aircraft inspection, our team emphasized that along with aesthetics, the product had to fly and maintain a prolonged flight time for a complete inspection. We went through countless design iterations to reduce the drone’s weight. As a business-to-business (B2B) product in an enterprise setting, we took a different approach from the typical consumer aesthetics. While acknowledging this was a more industrial environment (airplane hangars), we wanted Rizse’s drone to stand out from the crowd, especially if purchased in fleets. The airline market is a $209 Billion industry, and Rizse is already in talks with a few of the largest commercial airlines for fleet orders. Our design process helped propel Rizse to a position where they could more easily receive more funding, gain critical advisors, and garner key relationships from major commercial airlines to engage with their fleets and technology.
You Get What You Pay For
Why is the investment in good design such a “high” price? You get what you pay for: high-quality design teams ensure fewer revisions and management because they already have the tools they need from the start to help make a brand memorable. Essentially, hiring a quality design team can provide cost savings.
In Jeneanne Rae’s report, “What is the Value of Design?” she exemplifies Procter & Gamble household products, stating that their design teams have found ways to use new technology that could “save the company up to $1B a year.” She continues, “…companies that harness design to curb costs can thus double design’s financial impacts by managing the bottom line while simultaneously growing the top line” (Rae, 2014). Rae emphasizes that companies should consider design as an investment rather than a cost. Often, it is poor design early on, which leads to more downstream expenses and costly changes at the manufacturing level.
Design teams consist of talented, creative individuals that not only “make things look nice” but venture focused ones like ours understand the business/economics side of thinking beyond the product. Hiring a design team that understands the importance of seeking high-quality materials for a reasonable price and quick problem-solving in the manufacturing stage will save a company money in future ventures.
Business Of Design
Design permeates throughout the entirety of a brand. Anything from website experience to the point of purchase and packaging plays an essential role in brand development; it is no longer just the sole product experience that will help your business stand out.
For example, marketing is everywhere: anything from commercials, billboards, and, more recently, social media; small businesses are craving attention now more than ever. The quality of photos and videos has become the driving force to spark conversation amongst an audience, and ultimately, its design will keep them around. It all starts with design to help everything run together smoothly and lays the foundation for future branding.
The NEA’s report, “Industrial Design: A Competitive Edge for U.S. Manufacturing Success in the Global Economy,” discusses the importance of industrial design, stating, “Industrial design can help companies develop new and innovative products and processes, resulting in greater economic gains.” As a design-driven business with firsthand experiences within the startup realm, we understand how crucial it is to make a memorable first impression on consumers. Integrating a consistent design process and business thinking produces consistent results. To illustrate, when we designed our first company, Aggregate, from the ground up, we aimed to communicate the idea of sophisticated and unique products for the fashion-conscious. Reappropriating concrete in our watches soon paved the way for us to give fresh remixes to our following line of products: our fidget spinner-inspired Radius Carabiner (our first collaboration with Bay Area brand Adapt), the Tyvek backpack, and our STEM Touch Tool, which doubles as a bottle opener. Combining unconventional materials, meaningful design, and crafted details have allowed us to sustain consistent results throughout our entire brand.
On the other hand, let’s look at other prominent design-centric brands. Why do you think Apple has so much success in marketing their products? Apple understands human needs; their clean and straightforward aesthetic attracts potential buyers, and more than that, they offer fantastic quality. Like any great brand, what Apple used to be, isn’t what it is now. They had to innovate by using design and user experience as the driving force behind their products. Gavin Ivester, the first Apple PowerBook designer, emphasizes the value of good design in the Curiosity Habits podcast episode, “Why Design Matters.” He states, “When it (a product) streamlines your ability to get something big done and makes it easy, and even fun because you feel so powerful doing it, and all those good things happen, that’s where the real value is: it’s design.” When a great product is designed and works well, these aspects will eventually market themselves. Just hearing of a new product drop from Apple receives millions of pre-orders because people have learned to believe they “need” the latest Apple product to stand out.
Any business, large or small, can benefit from design and design strategies. As consumers, we all crave products that will simplify our lives. We instantly decide if the product will fit into our lifestyle with one glance. Design can create a line of brilliant products and help them stand out amongst the crowd for future branding.
Design For Purpose
At Hatch Duo, what we offer goes beyond “just the product.” We believe in building for a brand’s sustainability and creating products with layers of storytelling. Competition is ever-changing, so we strive to design any product idea with relevance. Our passion stems from understanding the fundamental human need for a brand, and as creatives, we also understand that brand-building begins and ends with design at the forefront.
Good design doesn’t just happen overnight, but a good design strategy can help businesses stand out among their competitors. It takes many hours of sketching, rendering, and prototyping to execute the “right” design strategy. Still, when we see those products hit the shelves, those hours of brainstorming and collaboration are worth it. Because we now live in a world becoming more dependent on the visual and UX aspects of things, design is more vital than ever for small businesses to thrive. Not only will experienced design teams help with cutting down market costs, but a group of talented individuals who understand the cause and effect of using certain materials will help save time with engineering the wrong parts of the product.
Design attracts and retains an audience from the start, and it will be the foundation for innovation in the end. With this in mind, what is stopping you from hiring an experienced design team to help elevate your business? If you’d like to get in touch and learn more about how Hatch Duo can help your business needs with design, get in contact with us at email@example.com .