14th August 2020

The importance of design

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Marc Swarbrick

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We all know that design is important, but more important than that is understanding what design really is.

Design has become a muddied word recently. Many people perceive it to be aesthetic or tactile and while this can be the case, it is usually only skin deep. At Abstrakt, the way we look at design is from a functional point of view, ie. does it work? Of course we have to stay on-brand and provide a visual representation that ties in with all of that but there are usually—and more often than not—deeper issues that must be addressed.

I’ve recently had the pleasure (and pain) of renovating an old house which has brought a few things to my attention. My findings are twofold. First is that good design never ages. Second is that bad design can cause unbelievable damage.

Let me qualify that. If you design something that is cheap to make, easy to install and looks ok you might think you’re on to a winner. This is not the case. I have spent an inordinate amount of time and money putting right bad design decisions made by previous owners.

As a different example, our local shop tried to enforce social distancing by “designing” a one way system. Unfortunately, this “design” ended with people being herded into a back corner leaving no way to get to the till without turning back and passing other people, and in the process invalidating the whole point of a one way system. The signage looked great and all the aisles had beautifully designed promotional material but the design had failed, I’m stuck in the corner with no way to get out.

As an agency, this is the kind of outcome we try to avoid. It is imperative to us that we understand the fundamental goals of a project and plan to ensure that we deliver on all fronts and not just make something “look pretty”. Don’t get me wrong though. Of course we know that a brand, product or service has to look good to be well received and successful, but that success will be short lived if the underlying plan and the quality of the design of that plan is underestimated or ignored.

We revel in planning phases. It’s when we really get to know the client along with their needs, goals and ambitions. We will challenge them, ask awkward questions and push to get to the core of their particular requirements.

That’s how we look at “design”. Not a fancy flourish, overused stock photography or the latest trend of filters. We create solutions that answer the brief and provide long-lasting, tangible benefits for whatever challenge is presented to us.

To find out how our process can benefit your business, get in touch for a chat with our team today.

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