Design Drives Business Forward

If advertising is the avenue for commerce, then design is the vehicle of success. And while there are varying levels of design, from Honda Civic to Lamborghini, what matters is that you need a car, or you won’t be going very far, very fast. Jeneanne Rae, of the Harvard Business Review, stated, “…companies that use design strategically grow faster and have higher margins than their competitors.” Companies like Apple, Nike, and IBM are all on the DMI Design-Centric Index. They are among a growing number of companies that place design at the forefront of their business practices.

Chart of DMI Design-Centric Index
DMI Design-Centric Index

Based on the chart above, it’s easy to see that design plays a key role in creating value within a company. But how exactly does it do that? Ravi Sawhney, a past Bloomberg contributor, outlined the four basic areas in which design adds value to a business.

Understanding the Consumer

“[M]ost products that perform as promised are rejected in the marketplace. So designers must not only synthesize functionality and aesthetics, they must understand a consumer’s thought process and emotions in order to motivate behavior change.”

Risk Mitigation

“How often does corporate risk aversion result in lackluster offerings that are ultimately taken off the market? Design is a process of synthesizing insights into a tangible offering in a way that addresses the goals of the company and the desires of consumers.”

Boosting Marketing and Branding

“Design is a fundamental part of creating an image and experience of luxury, exclusivity, and tribal belonging. And yet the consumers who purchase these items often select them because they see a little bit of themselves (or who they would like to be) on the shelf. That’s great design.”


“How can brands retain their image and deliver a superior experience while reducing parts, waste, and carbon footprint? These are business challenges where design has an important role.”

Long story short, if you can’t figure out why your company isn’t growing, or isn’t growing as fast as you would like, it might be one of three things: Either you need a vehicle, or your vehicle needs some maintenance… or maybe it’s time to upgrade to the Lamborghini.

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