15 Feb 2017   webgap

Can Businesses Design For Success?

Strictly defined, design has always been about how a product looks and feels, whether it’s a Coke bottle, an iPad or a BMW i8. Designers tend to be secluded in hidden corners of businesses or they’re outsourced entirely. Does this lead to design success?

A sea change is underway, with more companies understanding that design is not just an aesthetic event but something which can be fundamental to the success of a business. Especially so when applied universally to business processes. Entrepreneurs are starting to think in terms of design-led businesses and in turn, are creating them.

In many ways, this trend has emerged from improved technology. Now that every company has access to faster processes and big data, how can they differentiate themselves from their competitors? The answer increasingly seems to be by being creative.

This however, isn’t just a question of product design. This differentiation means letting design – in the form of creative thinking – permeate every aspect of a business and make creative, design thinking a Key Result Area, rather than just an eccentric quirk.

Design has evolved and grown. From the product, to the packaging and entire user experience. All of these moments have been improved in instances where leaders allow design to change the way businesses are run.

Design is as much about taking away as it is about adding. This means designers have a role to play in simplifying industrial processes (to save money), and simplifying interactions with consumers (to make them happier). In this way, consumers understand that they matter – that what they see, hear and touch is as important to a company as the amount of money they are encouraged to spend.

As this trend has grown, companies have tried to place a value on design. Call it ‘ROI’ – return on innovation. This approach however, is limiting and removes emotion which is a key component of great design.

In design, the human aspect is vital. Design gives people choices, especially when people feel they can make decisions that will affect design outcomes. Brands that listen to their customers – that use design to stand out and tell authentic stories – are brands that will survive. In a generic world, almost everything has been reduced to compressed digital files, whether it’s music, movies or books. While this is undeniably convenient, it’s also a little soulless and doesn’t give consumers the choice or experience they are after.

People’s desire to own beautiful objects has never gone away. Just consider the renaissance of vinyl. A lack of design causes homogenisation but its presence promotes uniqueness and a willingness to learn and adapt. These changes in creative thinking mean businesses and designers must take a broader view of what design is and then apply this to every department and process.

Design is the great disruptor. It asks questions and can make people who are afraid of change, uncomfortable. However, the designers that are able to adapt to these new modes of thinking with these skills will be in great demand as design-led companies increasingly guide the way.

22 Feb 2017   webgap

Editorial design in a crisis

We’re all drowning in media and information but what seems to be lacking is perspective and filters. If we get our news and views from mainstream media (especially TV), what are we missing out on? Three things: objectivity, perspective and those ‘a-ha’ moments that happen when editorial design impacts your life in a meaningful way.Editorial design can be described as a combination of typography, layout design and compositions. This forms part of graphic design as a whole but focuses mainly on design for publications such as newspapers, magazines and books.Small publishing houses have car ...

11 Apr 2017   webgap

GDC’s Ssanyu Sematimba to Participate in Emerging Creatives Programme

Greenside Design Center wishes graphic design honours student Ssanyu Sematimba, big congratulations as she has been selected to participate in the second tier of this year’s Emerging Creatives Programme.Sematimba is a Ugandan-born visual artist now based in Johannesburg who believes design is an interconnected language. Dubbed a “creative chameleon”, the graphic design student is inspired by fashion, art and all things African. She is also experienced in photography. She’ll be taking part in the Johannesburg exhibition at the simulcast.The Emerging Creatives Programme is an initiative ...

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