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Companies like Apple are making design impossible for startups to ignore. Startups like Path, Airbnb, Square, and Massive Health have design at the core of their business, and they’re doing phenomenal work. But what is ‘design’ actually? Is it a logo? A WordPress theme? An innovative UI?
It’s so much more than that. It’s a state of mind. It’s an approach to a problem. It’s how you’re going to kick your competitor’s ass. This handy guide will help you understand design and provide resources to help you find awesome design talent.
- makes a product useful
- makes a product understandable
- environmentally friendly
- as little design as possible
“We designers, we don’t work in a vacuum. We need business people. We are not the fine artists we are often confused with. Today you find few companies that take design seriously, as I see it.” — Dieter Rams
Good design can’t be achieved with glossy buttons or masterful wireframes alone. It’s a merger of all these principles into something that is meaningful and deliberate. Just like a great business plan is nothing without expert execution, a great Photoshop mockup is nothing, for example, without careful consideration to UI or the user’s needs.
Take a look at your current product – is design contributing in an innovative way? Does it make the product useful, understandable, and aesthetic? Is it long-lasting, or will it look outdated or break in a few years? These are really hard questions to answer. Designers enable you to work within these constraints to create a product customers will fall in love with. Love is a really strong emotion. Dieter Rams and his contemporaries started a movement in 20th Century towards simple and beautiful products. Design was a strongly valued aspect of business, even 60 years ago. It totally has a place in business today – it’s a proven method.