The importance of strategy in design - Part 1 of 3
Design strategy is a concept that means different things to different people, including designers and clients. We all have our own visual languages or conceptual models, which means that we all experience the world differently in what we see, hear and interact with. We need to understand that we are all part of design strategy, albeit in different roles.
Although design strategy is part of the bigger picture of business strategy, it focuses mostly on the customer, their goals, challenges, and needs.
In this three-part article series, we’ll focus on understanding the importance of design strategy, working with it in a workshop space, and what designers need in order to implement a strategic design.
Understanding the importance of strategy in design
As designers, we often forget the significance of good strategy. Yes, when solving a design brief, the easier route would be to lay out the simplest creative design with little or no regard for its longevity. You want a website? Done. You want a web banner? Done. This is all well and good if we see ourselves only capable of making something look beautiful, but will it last? The short answer is, no. Design without strategy is like macaroni without cheese, it may still pass as food, but something about it feels off and the meal is definitely forgettable.
During our initial client meetings at Amazee Labs, our creative team spends a lot of time listening and expanding on how far we can take their brands. We offer so much more than pretty websites and animated buttons. Of course, our clients expect our design team to understand how to interpret good strategy but it’s up to us as a creative team to show how capable we are of actually creating it.
What our clients might not realise, is that before our creative team even opens up any design program, we immerse ourselves in a client’s business. We define the reasons behind the design, decide on what content is needed, and finally, we select which UI and development process would be appropriate based on the specific client and business model. The reason why we do all of this is that we understand every client needs a unique competitive edge and that every client has competition, whether they realise it or not.
Designing something amazing is becoming especially difficult. We’ve realised that only the best designs can cut it in this competitive world and it’s up to us to help a brand become unforgettable by consistently meeting the high expectations of consumers. The best way to achieve this is to, as part of a strategic workshop, partner directly with the client. It can be difficult to convince a client to work this way as it’s far easier to simply deliver a brief and send the designers off to make our pretty pictures. But if we can start to understand our clients and how they think, marvelous things can start to happen.
How do designers fit in?
Once we’ve determined the business goals and vision, we concentrate on developing a design that focusses on drawing customers in and delivering value through our strategic approach. Designers are part of a bigger picture, which, when complete, showcases the value of the product or service in its entirety. This is why we are so important. But if we don’t take the time to learn and understand what a business is trying to achieve, we might misrepresent the very heart of the brand and what the business is trying to communicate.
You can learn more about what a workshop entails in the upcoming part-two of our blog series.