Good Design. Is Good Business.

by John Murinye

Most Zimbabwean brands don’t see the value in good design. They jump for the nearest and cheapest alternative. This is bad for business and growth.

Steve Jobs, the previous Apple founder and CEO, is famously known for coining the phrase, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

Whether we are referring to a product, a service, a logo, a film or communications. Design permeates through the entire fabric of a company. In this article, we will discuss how good design — is good business.

Some Big Stats And Data

In a study conducted by the Design Management Institute, design-led companies — over a 10-year period, consistently outperformed the S&P by 219%.

Another study commissioned by Adobe revealed that, design-led companies reported:

  • 41% higher market share
  • 46% competitive advantage overall
  • 50% more loyal customers
  • 70% digital experiences beat competitors

Many companies have become incredibly successful by embracing design. Consider the likes of Google, Apple, Nike and more. These are global brands. McKinsey & Company found that the most design-mature companies are growing twice as fast as their competitors and see 32% higher revenue.

Why Does This Matter For Brands In Zimbabwe?

Some brands in Zimbabwe enjoy monopolies. This often results in very poor design choices of both product, service and visual communications. The impetus is, since we have large market-share, our brand commands demand that is very in-elastic. We have no close alternatives. Our customers get whatever we give them.

However, the short-sightedness of this thinking is ignorant of the fact that — monopolies don’t last.

The Sitari Private Estate in Greendale, Harare saw that cluster homes around them were very basic and merely functional. They came and built a superior experience that was modern and convenient. They took over the market — attracting wealthy individuals and diplomats.

There is a clear difference between driving a Mercedes and a Honda Fit.

— Experience. Performance. Reputation.

The aforementioned cost money. Good design requires investment.

In user experience, good design means delightful experiences for your customers. When people feel good using your product or service. Not only will they return, they will share their experiences. This leads to repeat business, more customers, trust and ultimately brand loyalty.

In visual communications, a good design system eliminates repetitive tasks and creates familiarity of your brand with your audience. This saves you both time and money in the short and long term. However, a good design system comes from a good logo.

If you have a logo that’s difficult to read or has too many obscure elements, when producing that logo in different formats like digital versus print, and using different finishes like embroidery. You will have to significantly change the appearance of the logo to make it legible. Or worst case scenario, produce a terrible result because you don’t want to lose out on visual equity. All these are the symptoms of poor logo design.

Good Design Costs Money

Recently, we discovered that, ABC Auction, a large Zimbabwean company used crowdsourcing to design their logo. This is a legacy brand established in 1978. The logo cost US$300. This to some may sound like a lot, but it’s actually quite the opposite. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. The logo is not functional and is so similar to Nyaradzo, another large Zimbabwean brand. Going for the cheap option means sacrificing brand recognition and distinction in the marketplace. It costs more, to pay less.

In contrast, these are just some of the highest paid logos:

  • The City of Melbourne logo cost US$240,000
  • The Belfast Heart logo cost US$530,000
  • London 2012 Olympics logo cost US$645,645

A good logo is more than pictures and letters. A good logo is a symbol that represents the impressions that your brand leaves with the people they interact with. It represents the company’s core values and brand promise. It takes time to design and develop a good logo. Likewise, it costs money to develop good design.

The point is not to spend a lot of money to justify good design. The point is to be open and considerate of the power of good design. Research on the best agency or talent that help you achieve that. And delight your audience whilst growing revenue and market-share.

You can read more insightful articles here.