There’s no doubt that design can be fun and whimsical. When it’s used effectively, design touches us on a visceral, emotional level and can even inspire us to take action.
But from a pragmatic standpoint, you may be wondering if design can have a direct impact on your brand’s bottom line. Is good design valuable enough that you should make it a business priority?
The design and branding experts at MDG Advertising studied the research, and the answer is yes. Check out the latest infographic, Why Good Design Matters for Businesses, to find out why.
How Design Impacts Business
In an effort to determine whether design can have a positive impact on a brand’s bottom line, we examined McKinsey & Company’s research, which studied the performance of 300 publicly traded companies over a span of five years.
The analysis showed that the firms ranking in the top 25% in terms of design practices surpassed their peers by a significant margin.
The research showed that firms that prioritized design outperformed their peers by 32% in revenue growth, and by 56% in terms of shareholder return.
The analysis also showed that this increase in performance held true across a wide range of verticals, including medical technology, retail banking, and consumer packaged goods.
How Does Design Relate to Business Performance?
It’s clear that design-focused firms tend to outperform their competitors, but what’s the connection? What makes design so important? While good design has many advantages, the following benefits are particularly relevant for understanding how design impacts a brand’s bottom line.
Design Serves as the Cornerstone of Your Brand
A clear brand is the foundation of your corporate identity and is what sets you apart from your competitors. Design is the foundation upon which all of the other elements of your brand are built. To be effective, your brand’s design must be original, targeted to your desired consumer—and consistent.
A look at the brand value of some of the major global companies shows the immense business value of a well-designed and executed brand:
- Coca-Cola: $66 billion
- Microsoft: $93 billion
- Amazon: $101 billion
- Google: $156 billion
- Apple: $214 billion
Good Design Conveys Quality and Trustworthiness
Regardless of your industry, you want consumers to perceive your brand as being competent, professional, and detailed-oriented. One way that these attributes are conveyed is through the design elements of your brand, such as your logo.
With an increasing number of consumer engagements taking place online, your design must communicate your desired message quickly. Here’s why:
- Three-quarters of consumers judge a brand by its website design.
- The average consumer spends fewer than 15 seconds on a site.
- Most consumers assess and create their impression of a website within 50 milliseconds.
All Products, Services, and Consumer Experiences Can Benefit from Good Design
Good design has the power to go beyond simple aesthetics to enhance the entire consumer experience. The late Steve Jobs transformed Apple into one of the most valuable and well-known brands in the world, and once said, “It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
Don Norman, the highly regarded director of the Design Lab at the University of California San Diego, theorizes that effective design should influence consumers on three levels:
- The design should affect the consumer on a visceral level by instantly creating a favorable first impression.
- The design should make the consumer happy on a behavioral level by creating an interaction that is both pleasurable and intuitive.
- Good design should also be consistent with and reflect the larger message or story being conveyed.
What Are the Essentials of Good Design?
What are the common best practices used by businesses that excel in branding design? McKinsey identified the following tactics that are closely tied to design and branding success:
- The most successful firms have clearly defined design goals that can be objectively measured to evaluate performance and they adjust their strategies as necessary based on those metrics.
- The top-performing companies spread the responsibility for design development and incorporation across all departments and functions.
- The most successful brands continually assess, rethink, and fine-tune the design elements of their brand.
- Good design goes beyond aesthetics and considers the needs, wants, and preferences of the consumer.
It’s ultimately the consumer focus of good design that makes a company better and creates value that’s reflected in the bottom line.
Written by Anthony Del Gigante
Anthony Del Gigante is chief creative officer at MDG Advertising, a full-service ad agency in Brooklyn, New York and Boca Raton, Florida. Over the years, his unique talents in brand strategy, visual identity development, and brand activation have consistently delivered measurable results for a wide range of world-renowned clients, including American Express, Verizon, AbbVie, and Cushman Wakefield. A brand specialist, Anthony leads MDG’s creative development, working with clients to develop creative, strategic, and functional solutions for their brands.