In a competitive marketplace, great design is a fantastic way for brands to differentiate.

We can see this evidenced in brand heroes such as Apple, Airbnb and Google, whose strength in the market can be put down somewhat to having great design running throughout their DNA.

As a Creative Director the sense of how powerful design can be, not just in advertising terms, but in the broader business world too, has always been evident to me. I’ve also become accustomed to the fact that not everyone shares this view, so it was exciting to hear design take centre stage at this year’s Advertising Week Europe event.

The week-long assembly brought together brand, media, marketing, technology and broader cultural communities to look at the issues and conversations that shape our industry as well as business drivers.

The most compelling takeaway for me was a session on how we can apply human design principles in everything we do and the impact that can have.

Design for business

Moving away from the fact that design is ‘of the moment’ and has become a buzzword, more businesses are investing in design. There’s been a surge in rebranding, but it’s also being used to help them innovate and gain competitive edge.

Successful design-led brands are those that take this idea from start to end. This means that you take a design approach to creating products and services, it’s about thinking creatively, being brave, taking risks and thinking apart from your competitors – whatever they are doing consider the opposite!

Look outside your four walls too. Relationships with suppliers, your agencies, should be collaborative, working as a collective. Create a small family of people to work with who hold the same values and whom you can trust.

This approach isn’t simply a veneer; it’s an attitude to every part of your business.

Case study – Airbnb

Airbnb was a great example. Its founders are design school graduates, but not only did the business originate as an entirely unique concept, it’s continued to take a design-led approach as it grows and develops from branding to working environment and its understanding of data. You can watch an interview on how it’s applying design principles here

Design trends are changing the way we do business, the way we travel, eat and shop. Great design should be recognised and celebrated for the value it brings, not just to advertising success, but business achievements too.

We’d love to talk to you about how we can use design to build your business, please get in touch

Dorina, D’Ambrosio, Creative Director, The Market Creative