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Importance of design for business success

  • Published on April 21, 2015
Importance of design for business success

Well-designed products play an important role in the success of a business. Product design, website design, and user experience design are all attracting interest from business observers, investors, and consumers. From low-tech to high-tech, design, function, and usability has become a critical factor in the success of both a product and a business. Design is important in the success of modern businesses, regardless of the product or service being offered. It's design that gets customers to stand in line and hope to buy a product on the first day it is offered, and continue to engage with a business year after year.

Whether evaluating the design of Apple’s watch, to designs from the Lilly Pulitzer fashion brand, aesthetics, form and function come together to create something that people enjoy. Understanding why these designs interest so many people, helps to explain both the importance of design and usability along with why they are in the news.

The Apple Watch, like most products Apple releases, gathers a great deal of interest. Even before the product was released, it is in the media and consumers are lining up to try or buy it. When the Apple Watch was released, it sold-out immediately. Exuberant customers were ready to buy this new product as soon as it was available within the stores. The design goes beyond the aesthetics, and includes the entire user experience, considering what a user will need, where they will be, and how they will interact with it. That user experience starts from the time a visitor evaluates the watch in an Apple store, which takes place through an appointment. Knowing that this product requires more time to understand, Apple makes certain the initial experience is positive, with staff dedicated to each person during their appointed time.

A more low-tech product line from Lilly Pulitzer also illustrates the importance of design in business. While a successful brand and series of stores on their own, they have been part of a larger distribution of select products they design through a discount retailer. The brand decided to distribute a line of fashion and home wares through the retailer Target. On the first day the products were available, lines were forming through parking lots. The scenes looked more like the launch of a new Apple iPhone, or Black Friday following Thanksgiving. Customers are willing to go out of their way for designs they enjoy.

Both companies have worked to design products that are easy to use, along with being easy to wear, while focusing on aesthetics. This functionality of design blended with appearance has created iconic brands. The consistent design has led to easily identifiable products, and created demand for new products the moment they are made available.

Much has been written about how Apple’s focus on design leads to success of their products. The same can be said of the heritage of the Lilly Pulitzer fashion brand. The bright colors and floral patterns are more often associated with popular style rather than usefulness. Yet these designs came from functionality, as Lilly Pulitzer was a real person who created clothing that would be suitable for her working at a farm stand on her citrus grove in Florida. The bright colored prints on clothing she made were successful at hiding stains from the oranges as they were juiced. She started making and selling her own clothes right at the farm stand. Her line of products has grown considerably, and like Steve Jobs, has outlived her.

At American Graphics Institute we see a variety of designers across all fields, and help them achieve their goals. Ranging from UX Design courses for web designers to Illustrator classes for fashion design, or Photoshop training for artists. Every day we see how design impacts businesses and helps them succeed.


About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics classes along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.