Designers need to wake up and smell the good coffee

Designers need to wake up and smell the good coffee

You only need to look around at all the articles written to know there is a real shift happening in design. Businesses are all talking about Design Thinking and the importance of designers in the boardroom. Recently Design Week reported that “36% of the top 25 funded start-ups were co-founded by designers, up from 20% in 2015.”

Companies who are design led are making massive strides like Airbnb, Uber, Pinterest, Instagram and Slack.

So a designer can no longer hide away in the corner of the office to be left alone to ‘design’. We need to start looking at the bigger picture. Start getting involved in conversations happening at the top of the business so we can start to influence and start designing solutions that make a real difference to that business.

Designers need to understand a business in order to start shaping it.

Likewise, companies need designers who aren’t obsessed with pixel perfect designs. They need designers who understand the business problems, that understand what keeps the CEO up at night.

Designers need to understand a business in order to start shaping it.

It’s no longer good enough to take a back seat and let other people make the difficult decisions and just worry about whether we are using correct colour palette, or right advertising campaign. We need to start understanding the business we are working for to truly understand what’s needed from a design perspective. For a design or advertising agency, it’s about leveraging the design talent at their disposal to start creating solutions for the right problems that can make a huge difference to a company’s bottom line.

In particular, the advertising industry is in trouble. Businesses are starting to question the importance and value they bring. They are starting to think to themselves, ‘Why am I spending £5million pounds on advertising when I can use some of that money to create an awesome product, that people will use, and will advertise itself?'

A good example for this is Citymapper. I didn’t start using this app because I saw it advertised, I used it because it was recommended by a friend after a few beers in a random pub in East London. I had a specific need, and my friend offered me an answer, an app that had given him a good experience. I was spurred into immediate action, trusting my friends advice and 30 seconds later I was clicking on the ‘take me home button’.

It’s customer experience that drives this viral growth.

Businesses need a creative backbone to create more delightful, more differentiating experiences to set them apart from the competition. Not a glitzy ad campaign or shiny new logo. There is also a fundamental shift in user expectation of the experience people get from a company or product.

Only designers and agencies who have truly understood this shift, will be successful in helping companies deliver better products that will have more impact, and that people will love to use.

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About Nic Marucci

Nic has 10 years experience in graphic design, advertising, branding and business development. A master at crafting the stories of projects and products, Nic transforms the most basic and complex of concepts into beautiful, engaging and valuable creations. He loves bringing ideas to the table and getting stuck into creative jamming and strategic thinking for brands, UX and UI and overall website branding and design projects; adding a dash of charm to all his work.