Welcome to the first post in Trulytell's three-part "Design Matters" series where we will be exploring the importance of design when it comes to your startup and pitch deck. Whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting out, you'll find valuable insights and tips in these posts. So let's get started!
Not every founder is a designer (nor do you need to be), but as a founder, you do need to understand the importance of design. It’s been proven that companies that prioritize design perform better than their peers. To help understand why, we created a list of the top four impacts design can have on your brand.
Perception is reality
Your design is how your customers see you, from the first impression to how long customers remember your brand.
Your customers are constantly interacting with thousands of brands, products, and businesses every day. Your design will help you stand out in a crowded marketplace and grab your customer's attention. Studies have shown that users can assess the visual appeal of a website within about 50 milliseconds of viewing which doesn’t leave your brand a lot of time to make a good first impression. With so much other noise in the crowd and such a short amount of time to make a good first impression, design is key to grabbing your customer's attention and holding it.
In addition to nailing that first impression, good design makes your brand memorable. While good customer service and quality products and services ultimately will make your business succeed, good design can ensure that your customers don’t forget about you.
We’ve all described a brand by its logo, color scheme, or packaging when we can’t remember the company name, that’s design doing the heavy lifting. Design tools like the use of selective colors can trigger memory and help make sure that your brand isn't easily forgotten.
Design Authenticates a Company
Good design helps customers judge a company's quality and demonstrates that a business is trustworthy by demonstrating that it is professional, competent, and detail-oriented.
We’ve already covered how quickly your customers will judge your business based on design quality, but this isn’t just about the first impression. 75% of consumers admit to making judgments about a company's credibility based on their website design and 85% of B2B customers search the web before making a purchase decision. Your design decisions have a direct impact on how reliable and trustworthy your customers view you as.
A study from scholars at the Universities of Northumbria and Sussex found that of all the factors that were mentioned for rejecting or mistrusting a website, 94% were design related; only 6% were content related. Meaning you can spend all the time in the world creating resources for your customers, but if it isn’t designed well, your customers won’t trust what you are saying.
Good design with the consistency of design, easy-to-navigate user interface, and clear branding can cement your business as one to be trusted.
Well-Designed = User-Friendly
Design isn’t only website design or a great brand logo, one of the tenants of graphic design is simply to make complex information easier to digest. As products and services become more powerful and complex, good design is needed to create an easy and welcoming experience for your customers.
Steve Jobs once said, “It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” In other words, design isn’t simply aesthetics; it’s about making the entire experience better.
While many founders thrive in the weeds of their products and services, your customers likely won’t. That’s where good design can come in and help guide your users through your product experience, your checkout flow, or even just your website. Design acts as the key for your customers to interact seamlessly with your product.
Numbers Don’t Lie: Design Sells
We’ve seen how good design can not only attract customers but help retain their business and create trust in your brand but does it actually help with the bottom line? (Spoiler alert: Yes.)
In a McKinsey design study looking at 300 publicly listed companies over the course of 5 years, it was clear that the companies that more heavily invested in good design outpaced the companies that did not. The research found three key findings:
- There is a strong correlation between a high design index and superior business performance. The top 25% of companies that scored high on a design index also increased their revenues and total returns to shareholders (TRS) substantially faster than their industry counterparts did over a five-year period—32 percentage points higher revenue growth and 56 percentage points higher TRS growth for the period as a whole.
- The results held true in all three industries: medical technology, consumer goods, and retail banking. This suggests that good design matters whether your company focuses on physical goods, digital products, services, or some combination of these.
- TRS and revenue differences between the fourth, third, and second quartiles were marginal. In other words, the market disproportionately rewarded companies that truly stood out from the crowd (Exhibit 2).
In lay-mans terms, the more you invest in your design the faster your company can grow regardless of what market you are breaking into. Investing in design may cost you a bit more time and money at the moment but, in the long term, these studies suggest that you’ll likely be glad you did.
Design is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it is also a good business decision. By investing in design, you are investing in your company's success.