How Design Helps Businesses Scaleby@FrederikBussler
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How Design Helps Businesses Scale

by Frederik BusslerJanuary 18th, 2023
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Apple isn't just a tech company; it's also a design company. 73% of companies use design to help their brand stand out from competitors. Startups should focus on creating a branding concept that resonates with customers. The key is to find the right balance between aesthetically pleasing and functional.

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Apple isn't just a tech company; it's also a design company. The sleek and intuitive design of its products is one of the key reasons why Apple has become one of the most valuable companies in the world. Steve Jobs' legacy is one of innovation, but it's also one of design.

Firms like Apple know that the majority of customers don’t return to businesses with bad branding and design. It’s no wonder, then, that 73% of companies use design to help their brand stand out from competitors. McDonald's golden arches, Nike's swoosh, and Starbucks’ siren have become iconic symbols of their respective industries.

The challenge with learning from giants like Nike is that their success is the result of world-class design talent, massive amounts of capital, and decades of refinement. Businesses that aren't worth billions of dollars don't have access to the same resources.

Fortunately, design and branding don't need to be expensive. Let's consider the key points that startups should focus on when they're starting out, illustrated with case studies.

Grow With a Branding Concept

Branding is about more than just creating a logo and a tagline; it's about creating an idea and a feeling that resonates with customers. A coffee shop doesn't just sell coffee. It sells an experience. It sells a feeling. Starbucks, for instance, has built its success on the concept of providing a “third place” — a place where people can hang out and socialize that's not home or work. 

When a business is starting out, it should think about what it stands for, what it's trying to achieve, and what values and principles it wants to embody.

That's why I was struck by the COMP re-brand case study, where the creative agency monopo – based in New York, London and Tokyo – helped with the rebranding, and the effort contributed to improved business results for COMP. After the launch of the new website, sales doubled.

monopo communicated a complex dual message: the functional attributes of the product and its emotional significance. To do this, they created a concept called “completely obsessed,” expressing the idea that COMP supports people who are devoted to their work and hobbies by providing easy and complete balanced nutrition.

This not only supports physical health, but also mental health for those who want to be more conscious about their diet. In Japan, busy people often eat on the go and unhealthy food such as Cup-ramen or convenience store food in front of their working desks. COMP provides a solution to this problem. 

Below, we can see how packaging can be designed to communicate a brand’s message. Initially, a busy look detracted from the idea of "completely obsessed." But an overhaul of the packaging made it much easier to understand and appreciate the brand’s message. 

From the brand concept, businesses can create an art direction and a visual identity that will help express their brand. This case study highlights an important point - don't ignore the power of branding to scale your business. Creative teams can use branding to convey an emotional message and activate end-consumer’s emotions.

Designing for User Experience

The aesthetics movement of the 19th century finally lifted design out of the realm of raw functionality and into an area of pure art and expression. Today, businesses need to balance the two — design needs to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

Good user experience design involves anticipating user needs and making sure that the product or website fulfills them. It involves making sure that the product is intuitive and easy to use. It also involves making sure that users get the most out of the product — that they make the most of its features and understand how to get the most out of it.

Another case study from monopo is their re-design of the Cellular Agriculture Society website. The website was designed to be a gateway to the world of cellular agriculture, and it needed to be both informative and engaging. The homepage was designed to work as a one-page introduction to the subject, and it was designed to be simple, accessible, and optimistic.

We can see that monopo was careful with the design elements they used to make the website inviting to the general public. They used round shapes and bright colors to reflect a friendly and optimistic tone, and to highlight the possibility of a bright future that cellular agriculture can bring. This turned the website into a gateway to an unknown and intimidating technology, making it easier to understand.

The design also featured subtle yet powerful animation elements. Animations can help to make a product or website more engaging and can help to create a feeling of movement and dynamism.

Finding the Right Balance

Design and branding can be expensive, but they don't have to be. The key is to find the right balance. Startups should focus on creating a branding concept that resonates with customers and designing for user experience.

Good design is an essential part of any business's success, and it's something that startups should invest in. By learning from the successes of giants like Apple and studying the work of designers, startups can create a design that is both aesthetically pleasing, emotional and functional.

Design can help businesses to scale and to stand out from the competition. It can make or break a product. By investing in design and branding, startups can create a powerful brand and an engaging user experience that will make them stand out from the competition.