Are You Wasting Money on Design?

Guest Post by Jenn David Connolly

Our business card design received some press recently, which is interesting because I designed this card back in 2005 and have been using it since. That’s almost a decade, and the design is still effective, relevant and fresh. (Our business card always evokes conversation.)

Design can be incredibly powerful. When you witness the strength of a design over the long term, you can see how valuable it truly is as a craft. Below I’ve shared some insights into why it’s important to invest in good design from the start of a project and how this practice can save you money in the long term, generating longevity for your investment.

1. Integrate design within your brand, not just on the surface.

Seems like everyone from copy shops to someone’s relative is designing on the side these days. It might be tempting to go this route, but is the result really coming from within your brand, or are you just applying a surface treatment? Solid design grows from your brand goals, vision, mission and core values. Only then can design can leverage power as it connects deeper with your consumer. Your brand’s roots shape the design, as opposed to the design just being an external application.  A quote from Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead sums this up: “Nothing can be reasonable or beautiful unless it’s made by one central idea, and the idea sets every detail.”

2. Strategic design connects product and audience.

Design is about more than just looking good—it communicates and builds trust with your audience. It must first catch the eye and then engage, communicate, entice and convince the consumer. When design is effectively integrated within your brand it can encourage specific actions as a selling tool — what the consumer should feel and what actions to take. How well is your brand communicating with your audience? What value does it deliver?

3. Skimping on design can cost you a lot more in the long run.

When you take the cheap route on design, not only do you end up spending more on a redesign down the line, but your product is missing out on sales by not performing as well as it could. We have seen many clients who have experienced unsatisfactory design firsthand before turning to us, an expert in their industry, ready to do it right. Predictably, these clients regret the time and money they wasted when they were just looking for a quick fix that wasn’t effective. By learning the hard way that poor design doesn’t work, they became believers in the value of truly investing in design. Save yourself time, money and hassle by committing to value from the start.

4. For design to be timeless, it must remain relevant and pertinent as the brand grows.

It’s good to be aware of design trends, but most likely you’ll want to steer clear of them. A trendy design will soon look dated when the trend expires, forcing an unplanned redesign. Moreover, by following what others are doing, your product is blending in as opposed to standing out. Note that timeless design does not necessarily mean classic or traditional. Much to the contrary, fresh and groundbreaking design can be lasting as well. Superior design continues to connect with your audience and elicit the desired feelings and trust that it did from the start, even over the long term. You may hone your messaging from time to time as consumers seek specific information in brands and products, even as your design remains unchanged.

5. Cultivate brand loyalty with lasting design.

Brand consistency over long periods of time creates a solid following among your audience compared to weaker design that is often changed. Your brand will be viewed as strong, reliable and trustworthy among your audience. Consumers will be loyal fans, a constant—just like your design. We have created many packaging designs that have remained unchanged in concept over the years since we first developed them. Have a look at these iconic designs that have stood the test of time and are still going strong.

la-tourangelleLa Tourangelle Artisan Oils—11 years

Williams-Sonoma Soaps & Lotions—10 years

Meadowcroft Wine—8 years

Mitsubishi Ace of Diamonds—8 years

Pepper Creek Farms Sprinkles—6 years

What do you think about design as an investment? Leave your comments below!