The value of design

Effective design can make an important contribution to business success. Treat design as an integral part of your business strategy and it can add measurable value to the bottom line and create a more sustainable business for the future - a view supported by research from the Design Council (Design in Britain 2004-5):

  • 45% of companies that don’t use design compete mainly on price. Where design is significant, only 21% have to compete on price.
  • The UK’s most successful businesses rate design as the second most important factor (after financial management) for success.
  • Design opened new markets for 39% of companies where design is integral to their business.
  • 67% of companies where design is integral introduced a new product or service in the last 3 years, compared to a UK average of just 32%.

See the full report at

Achieve measurable returns

Effective design can be measured in terms of its return to the business. These are just some examples.
Target Precision diversified into new engineering sectors, increasing turnover from £30,000 to £450,000. A professionally-designed company image helped them gain credibility and communicate effectively in a new marketplace. Read Case Study

Layer Marney Tower achieved a 60% increase in event bookings and a £200,000 increase in turnover following an architect’s conversion of part of a 500 year old building to event facilities. Read Case Study
Meditech launched new products, increased turnover from £95,000 to £1 million and attracted global distributors, using a strong company image to differentiate itself in the fiercely-competitive medical equipment market. Read Case Study

Visit our case studies to find out how other companies have achieved measurable benefits from design.

Improve competitiveness

Design can be used to improve different aspects of business performance. Some of these can help to make your company more successful:

  • Better communication with your customers
  • Faster time to market for your new products
  • Products that outperform your competitors
  • Packaging that gives you greater impact in retail outlets
  • Product improvements that reduce your production or maintenance costs
  • A more productive working environment for your employees
  • A stronger image that reflects your company’s real capabilities

Achieve stronger differentiation

With increasing competition from around the world, companies must innovate and add value to succeed. Competing on price alone is no guarantee of long-term success. Effective design can turn ordinary products and services into market leaders. Designers do this by helping you to identify real customer needs and ensuring that your company and your products meet and exceed customer expectations. In a crowded marketplace, that can be a real differentiator.

Turn ideas into reality

Design helps to turn your ideas and visions into real world products and services. You’ve got a vision of market leadership - design can help you develop winning products or communicate effectively with tough decision makers. You’ve got a great idea for a new product - design can help you turn that into a truly innovative product that offers your customers real added value. You know how you want to be seen by your customers - design can help you create a powerful identity or targeted communications that get the right messages to the right people.

Compete above your size

Design isn’t just for large corporations. Smaller companies can use design to compete above their size. Often, it’s the smaller companies who are more innovative, but lack the weight to dominate a market. Bringing in external designers with the right experience can boost the firm’s own resources and add an extra competitive edge that translates into sales and greater market share. And, with high levels of collaboration and partnership now a common feature of many industries, size is no longer a barrier to success. A reputation for good design can help smaller companies to attract the right business partners and build a “virtual organisation” to compete with the major players.

Build design into your business

These are important benefits for any size of company. To achieve measurable results, it’s important to include the process of design in the earliest stages of your planning, and integrate it at a strategic level within your business. When it is properly controlled and managed, design can be an important tool for achieving your goals.