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Guest the sea cabbage

Design And Business

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Guest the sea cabbage

Hi all,

 

I would like to gauge people’s opinions on the relationship between design and business. There are a number of different viewpoints that I have picked up on and would like people to feel free to criticise or agree with them according to their opinions.

 

 

A Business doesn’t value design; Design is a tool for business to use to make money.

 

 

Orange cinema advert

 

 

 

B Designers can and should direct business in an ethically justifiable way.

 

 

Richard Seymour from Seymour Powell

 

 

 

C Business truly values design and needs it to progress and be more successful commercially.

 

 

Lynx Bullet advert

 

http://www.seymourpowell.com/#/case_studies/13/

 

Seymour Powells re-branding of lynx for unilever

 

 

 

D Business is completely different from design and they should be kept apart to each be able to progress.

 

http://www.droog.com/

 

http://www.studioball.co.uk/

 

Critical design agencies websites

 

 

 

 

I am aware that peoples design or business disciplines are different but I welcome any comments or opinions.

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Guest the sea cabbage

It may help if I define the terms business and design;

 

 

According to Collins English Dictionary

 

Business is a commercial establishment concerned with the purchase and sale of goods and services also a trade or a profession.

 

To design is to work out the structure or form of something by making a sketch or plans also to plan to make artistically and intended for a specific purpose.

 

With the majority of the readers being from a design background I am trying to understand what views designers have about working with business, working for business and whether business cares about design.

 

 

 

Any comments welcome

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Guest the sea cabbage

In layman terms

 

Should design get involved with business and why?

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In layman terms

 

Should design get involved with business and why?

 

Hi

Why because paper drawings don't make a full belly.

 

btw i can see nothing with safari browser may you should post simple jpg files

BR

Peter

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Guest the sea cabbage
In layman terms

 

Should design get involved with business and why?

 

Hi

Why because paper drawings don't make a full belly.

 

btw i can see nothing with safari browser may you should post simple jpg files

BR

Peter

 

Hello Peter,

 

So I would be right in saying that you get involved in business to pay the bills and put food on the table.

 

What type of design work do you do?

 

Do you design purely for commercial success?

 

 

I have added the links so you can watch the videos if you like.

 

Thanks

Ben

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Youtube is blocked in China :P and RPS is based in China.

In my point of view, in short: design=business and vice versa. Business and design are interdependent.

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Guest the sea cabbage

Thank you Waikit

 

Can business not muddy the water of a clear design message? What about the bean counters and accountants working in business when they get their hands on a design concept?

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The goal of the Industrial Designer is to combine the purity of their design with the needs of the customer and the realistic expections of the business. That includes understanding the impact to production, product cost, and the businesses bottom line.

 

If your job is to design a $15 trash can for Rubbermaid, and you come back with an all Carbon-Fiber molded bucket with Titanium handles, and then try to convince your marketing group that you need Carbon fiber so the pail will be light enough, you've probably failed at your goal.

 

As much as our purist sides hate the bean counters - they're the reason that most of us have jobs. Because they're the ones who make sure that there is enough money going to the company to allow them to pay for designers.

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Guest the sea cabbage

I really like your point Cyberdemon. That is the challenge of being a designer after all and overcomming the tight restrictions is incredibly fulfilling.

 

But what about industrial designers that want to dirrect business, not content to be told to design a £15 rubbish bin for homebase. They want to get their titainium self emptying rubbish bin into production because it will save everyone time.

 

Thanks

 

Ben

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But what about industrial designers that want to dirrect business, not content to be told to design a £15 rubbish bin for homebase. They want to get their titainium self emptying rubbish bin into production because it will save everyone time.

 

The same applys for a self employed designer. You ARE the business. Assuming you have the capital, you certainly can BUILD a self emptying titanium garbage can. But will people buy it? Will you produce enough of a profit margin to keep yourself in business and pay your bills? What happens if someone comes out with a steel version of your trash can at half the price? The saavy designer and business needs to be ready to adapt to that to serve the bottom line - cash.

 

There certainly is a sector of "high end" design that focuses 100% of the purity of design. But typically those companies and products don't exist very long unless they A: Have a section of the business that can bring in more profits to keep the high end afloat or B: Have a product that is high end, but in so much demand that the sales justify it.

 

Case in points:

 

Bugatti is company A. The Veyron is an ultra high end product whos development and production costs basically outweigh any profits brought in. But Volkswagen is what keeps Bugatti afloat by selling Polos, Jettas, and Golfs.

 

Apple is company B: They are able to sell products that command a massive premium but the demand keeps up with it.

 

The third option is what I call "Sky Mall" syndrome. Companies that make nicknack gadgets and crap that don't stay alive for very long or sell very well.

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Hi Ben,

Actually I'm at this very moment entering the final two weeks of my master programme, and during the last year, I've had a lot of focus on how this design vs business issue can be used with benefits for both designers and companies.

 

I.e. as a designer, having a deeper understanding of how a business works, understanding their strategy and understanding their business setup, will help you make decisions that correspond with your clients needs and values - thereby making products that are in tune with the company. So you don't spend a lot of time and money developing products that will never be realized by your client.

 

This is a very commercial view on the designers job. That they only have to do exactly what the company asks for. Of course that isn't always the case. Often, I presume, the designer also wants to give the client the solutions that they didn't know they needed.

 

By being aware of the business setup from a designers point of view, if you are trying to drive the company forward by designing something new, you will also be able to identify where the new design proposal could conflict with their existing setup.

 

However the business approach can also be kind of an idea killer if it isn't used with caution. It's very easy to get sucked in to just doing what they want, and not coming up with innovative solutions.

 

But it's a difficult situation. Some clients won't even reveal their strategy - making it quite difficult to design for it...

 

And your question about the rubbish bin. You would have to consider: Do you want to make a product that doesn't sell or do you want to earn 5% of 10.000 pcs. x 15£ by designing a well designed cheap consumer product. Cheap design doesn't equal bad design - actually the opposite is often the case.

 

I'm out of time for now, but it's a very interesting discussion.

 

/tbroen

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......

But what about industrial designers that want to dirrect business, not content to be told to design a £15 rubbish bin for homebase. They want to get their titainium self emptying rubbish bin into production because it will save everyone time.

 

Thanks

 

Ben

 

Hi in that case you need balls, money and good ideas and after all a bit of luck it is really hard. For me personal i split my way to work to 3 pice 1 is just design in order (mostly just face liftings) 2 design free and sell ( getting some percentage out of the running products profit) and 3 design free and realize the whole product on own expense (tooling, marketing shipments and so on. it is time and energy consuming )

Big problem is not to design or produce it the challenge is to sell it and often you fail if you design free your personal taste affect the product but this doesn't means your taste match the taste of a market out there. so without the whole system of sales and marketing product management it will be really a big challenge. Latest at the point any purchasing guy from a big chain store group want his part of the cake and you have not consider the pice in you calculation you will fail last minute with your product to enter the market.

BR

Peter

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Guest Buff

I think this is fairly well answered, especially by Dick Seymore

 

I can honestly say I have never designed anything for the sake of 'design' not even for my own amusement.

 

I can say with even more ceratainty, if I did not consider the business need in every single step of the design I would be out of work quickly.

 

One current projcet is being so hard driven from a comercial aspect, that the staring point is a outline concept, some historical precidence and a retail price point... the price being the biggest driver.

 

Breaking that down, more emphasis is being place on the packaging desing than the actual product

 

And the marketing is unconventional to say the least...but it WILL work like a charm.

 

Id go so far as to say, if you want to 'design' but not do business.... then become a sculptor.

 

That said, a good friend of mine is a noted sculptor... you wouldnt belive how he tweaks what he'd like to do with what he know will sell.

 

Design is there because business needs a creative element.. but ive seen many good products sit on a shelf because there is no business case... whilst i've also seen total crap sell by the countless millons of units

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Hai all,

My point is business survives by good design and vice versa... A business entity uses that to advantage with a acute marketing flair is able to make success of their product. There are several business models that focus entirely with design as a theme or a statement for their business goals for success or success mantra. They are making a statement tot eh market that their focus is so. They may say so with their price tags and limited editions or custom designs to solve a specific user group or profile.

There are also models where designer himself plays the role of a business entrepreneur and marketeer to bring products that he has a passion for. The success lies in his role for the same as a businessman and his understanding of the experienced markets.. If you have to tools to do it such a model can bring rich dividends,money and fame.. several case studies exist to prove the same..

Then there are a group of businesses that rely on duplicating success firm a existing market model and would like to use design as tool to achieve the means and they are the ones to use tried and tested models and duplicate product success models by bring in variants that address or refine user perceptions. It is classic case where success leads to mutation and mutation in every form of business, design and markets to gain a share of the pie.

 

Very limited are cases when design innovation and new ideas become the core to market success as a business model and invariable funds or finance becomes the issue that can hamper the progress or success. But in certain markets that could be the way for survival to compensate for competition and market share...

 

These were certain issues that came as I read this.

 

Thanks

JAGS

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Guest Ryan Matchett

Hi all.

 

It is all good and well weighing up everyones opinion as to weather or not design and business acuatually compliment eachother or not but the fact of the matter remains. Design is part of business, like it or not.

I own a small product design studio in South Africa we design and manufacture driftwood furniture. Having qualified as an industrial designer I am finding it hard to draw the line between running the business and designing. The company is not in a financial possition to employ business men to take care of that side so I am finding myself contributing to many roles in the company even though I want to be the designer.

The point I am trying to make is that without the business side (marketing, accounts and management) of the company the design side woould not be sustainable. How would the products make it into the market... and keep them there.

Maintaining market share is a little easier once the products have been accepted by the market, tweaking the design and constantly upgrading them will only better peoples opinion of your design but impressing them from the initial stages is quite different. Marketing and brand awareness (business) is responsible for this. Obviously price plays a huge roll, designers work at keeping it low and business work on educating the market as to why the price is better than any other... We as designers need business, without business there would be no market but without design(in any form) there would be no business.

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