Design in business is an essential component of success. When I refer to design, I am talking about the entire business not just the business cards, letterhead and website! Design touches every aspect of business, or at least it should do. In reality I should really be saying that lack of design touches most businesses. When I talk about design in business I am looking far beyond tangible branding collateral, far beyond the product and packaging design, although they are all very important elements to the picture as a whole.

Every aspect of your business you can think of , event the processes and procedures, need to be designed to be a reflection of the image you want to transmit internally and externally. The design should be a reflection of your vision, mission and most importantly perhaps your values.

For some reason or other this level of design is only demonstrated in a few businesses, design at this level doesn’t seem to be taken that seriously by the majority. However, at the same time as investing no time into design those same businesses look with some degree of envy at the results obtained by the few that do!

I could argue that design is at the epicentre of business in the same way that Vision, mission and values are, or should be. Too many businesses see design as a cost centre, when in fact they should see it as an asset, albeit intangible in many cases. Design in fact can be a revenue generator.

In the ideal, every business owner, director, CEO would be actively involved in, or take a significant interest in the design of their business, overtly guard and protect their designs and image at all costs. So for the record I am not saying you should not outsource design, we can’t all be creative engineers of design! I am saying we should take responsibility for design in our businesses.

Here are a few things you might want to consider renting to how you place design at the centre of of your business:

  • Make sure design is on the agenda for all your business, product planning, and strategic meetings.
  • Ensure that your projects have someone taking responsibility for design elements.
  • Don’t just design your marketing and product, design your surrounding too. Make people think, wow!
  • Include design and design ideas into your review process.
  • Measure the external impact your new emphasis on design has.
  • Always think people and needs, one size never fits all. Think things through, sleep on them first.
  • Feature design as a subject in training and coaching.
  • Use emotional language when discussing design in your business. We can learn much form the late Steve Jobs in that regard.
  • Forget the fashion police, being in the design police.
  • Create a design committee from internal and external people you trust.
  • Bring design and the promotion of design into the culture of the business.
  • Make sure design features on your organisational charts.
  • Make the Cho the CDO too.
  • Make design part of the character of your business.