“Increase profit,” “reduce overhead,” “limit spending,” “grow the company” are words we’ve all heard quite often in the business world from people in charge. “We need more white space,” “the spading in our headers is off,” or “the logo takes up too much of the page” are things we hardly hear, if ever.
Why is good design not on the top of the mind of most decision makers? I think it’s because they can’t see the value of good design. I would say they are correct. You see I believe that if a design is good it is harder to tell it was designed. The worse something looks the easier it is to point out its flaws. Let’s examine some bad design.
In this example, we see a sink that looks to function normally but the pattern might lend itself to appearing dirtier than it really is.
This mug has a very cute small handle but unfortunately, the maker of this mug thinks that peoples fingers are half the size they actually are in reality.
Which direction do you think this door swings open? Away from you or toward you? I’ve removed something from this door handle for you to use your instinct and past experience to inform yourself on how to operate this door. Let’s add the text back on to the handle and let’s see if we needed extra instruction to use this door.
Yep. Looks like the design of the handle does not automatically inform us how to use the door. We now have to be told how to operate the door and fight our instinct to pull the door open with the handle. Don’t believe me that we have to fight ourselves to understand bad design? Take a look at the next example.
“Hey, hun, could you pass me the cooking spray?” Yikes! One small oversight could lead to a night you’ll never forget or never wake up from. Yeah, this one is a bit extreme as far as the consequences go but it proves a point. Bad design is bad. It can be really really bad.
How does this matter to people in business? Well if you don’t do a good job designing your products and services the customers might become confused when trying to use them. It is pretty obvious from the last photo but I’m going to say it anyway. Your customers might get hurt, encounter pain, or really suffer if they use your product or service that is poorly designed. A bad design might come back to bite you in the butt with a legal battle. Your customers will trust you less and less when you don’t think about them when designing products and services for them. I bet I could go on and on about the negatives of putting our products and services that are poorly designed and you get the picture. Ok, we are on the same page as far as trying to avoid bad design in your business. You know it’s bad for you but how do we accomplish “good design?” What even is “good design?” Let’s find out.
Here comes the hard part. Let’s break apart the two words good and design to help us a little bit and take the first word, good. You might be thinking “I already know what that means.” Yes, you do, and that’s the problem. Everyone has their own standard of “good” and what that means to them. Good is a subjective term and if you ask 100 people what good means they might all have different answers. This is the problem with ‘good’ but also the answer. In all the answers from the 100 theoretical people, we questioned will lie commonalities that most or all of the people can agree upon. It’s in these common answers that we can establish the concept of good among a group of people. This is what we strive for at WunderTRE when designing a logo or website or digital marketing campaign. We look for the unifying strands that bring people together around a topic, product, or service.
The second word ‘design’ means “to create, fashion, execute or construct according to plan” per good old Webster’s dictionary. The word plan is the key. You see almost anyone can create, fashion, execute, or construct almost anything but without a plan will it be any good? It might be! Probably? Yeah, it probably won’t be any good, especially in a business setting. If your business model is planned, financial goals planned, building project planned, and even the process of restocking your snack bar planned but have no visual strategy for your company, then not only are you not leveraging good design but the first impressions of your business are being left up to chance by bad design. At the core of WunderTRE, we plan for our customer. We provide the visual strategy they need to be able to put their best foot forward when meeting new customers online.
Now it’s time to look at good design!
You might be picking up on the theme here. Good design means that the person using it will have a good experience and might even be delightfully surprised by a feature they discover while using it. When a design communicates clearly what it is and what it does while having a helpful hidden message then you know you have created something with good design in mind. The evacuation plan is nice at eye level but when you really need it and there is smoke at eye level you will thank the installer for placing it on the floor where you are crawling to get out alive. How about the wet floor sign that doubles as a banana peel? Fun and informative! Or what about the packaging of O’Keeffe’s Hand Cream? The packaging tells you exactly what you need to know AND the rubber around the lid helps you open when your hands are extremely dry and can’t typically open tight containers.
These last two are more about graphic design than product design or user experience design. These two are graphics that you would either see as an advertisement or in a meeting where you are deciding who to hire. Making your graphic design stand out to be noticed and remembered is what we do here at WunderTRE. We have a team of designers both young and old who have the experience and excitement to help you stand out from your competition.
To wrap up here we’ve seen the good the bad the awful and the awesome when it comes to design. Good and bad designs are out there. Your products and services are either suffering from bad design or benefiting from good design right now. Do you know which one it is? Hit me up in the comment section and let’s talk design.
If you want some more laughs and maybe cringe a bit take a look at a bit more bad design before you go. See you in the next one!
Ok, wasn’t that fun! I know these are cherry-picked and the worst of the worst but through this post I hope I’m able to help show that bad design leads to less profit, efficiency, and trust with your customers.