Magazine article Marketing

The Measure of Success: Design Means So Many Things to So Many People That It Is Important to Assess the Benefits

Magazine article Marketing

The Measure of Success: Design Means So Many Things to So Many People That It Is Important to Assess the Benefits

Article excerpt

THE MEASURE OF SUCCESS

Effectiveness has graduated from advertising to design. Yet design effectiveness, in its infancy, is still a phenomenon. What is it? Where and how do you buy it? Next week's Design Effectiveness Awards, organised by the Design Business Association in association with Marketing, will reveal a selection of design projects which have been deemed to be effective by a jury of hard-nosed businessmen and women. Aesthetics, in this arena, are out and hard evidence in.

Design is not an end in itself. It's a means to an end. If you accept the idea that design should please the visual sense, then you have to go on to ask the question: What is it meant to achieve? And that's when we start talking about design effectiveness. Effective design, as well as looking good, achieves a purpose.

A popular view of design effectiveness is that its purpose is to help a client make more money. But design can also help children understand an idea by making that idea more accessible to them. Design can improve the way a product works as well as the way it looks. Design can improve people's working conditions and contribute to increased productivity. It can be a catalyst for change, make you feel better and, of course, it can help increase your market share, help you move into new markets and improve the bottom line.

When you can apply statistical measures - for example, sales or market share figures in the case of packaging design - the evidence for design effectiveness is persuasive.

But the fact is, some design disciplines will never be susceptible to purely financial evaluation. In the area of corporate identity, consultancies are dealing with issues, ideas and perceptions that cannot easily be quantified. You can measure levels of recognition through tracking surveys but this will only serve to tackle part of the issue.

A successful corporate identity programme works from the inside outwards. The first effect is on the people working inside the company - it helps to clarify the company's direction, it provides a rallying point, a means to motivate staff. It affects performance by improving company morale and sense of purpose. …

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