For a long time, the founding team of a startup consisted of executives and engineers. Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple all started out with a handful of computer engineers and executives producing and selling a product. Today, these companies have realized the value of acquiring designers who take on much larger roles in the development end of a product or service. Even today’s tech startups are using design to market the appeal of their latest innovations and impress audiences enough to lure them into a purchase. It’s becoming all the more apparent that design is the ultimate differentiator for companies trying to acquire investors, customers, and credibility.
If you’re a tech startup weighing the pros and cons of putting a rockstar designer on your team, here’s what you should know:
It’s All About First Impressions
First impressions aren’t easy to shake off. Whether it’s your website, your logo on a business card, or the way a product is packaged, potential customers will always form an opinion about your business based on the way it is visually presented to them. A quality design will give a business credibility and push customers to start thinking of a product and brand as one and the same.
The totality of your brand’s image starts with a great logo and extends to every other aspect of your business. As such, the designs you create for it have to be characterized by their cohesion. What’s more, they must target your audience in a way that is functional, appealing, and authoritative. Achieve this for your target audience to understand your product as practical, qualitative, and a cut above the rest of its competitors. The design has to create an instant connection to the quality products that you offer and only a well thought out and well-researched design is capable of forging such a connection.
Design Is a Research Project
Designers are imperative to even the earliest stages of conceptualizing for a business. Having a designer on board from the get-go means you’ll have an opportunity to design a solution for the problem your product seeks to solve— not just the one you believe exists. That’s because designers spend time researching a brand’s target market and work to understand the ways in which they use competing products and tools in their daily lives. Their time studying a product will also help them to spot out the shortcomings of your idea and map out solutions for it so that you can come out with a better and more refined product with a higher conversion rate.
Consider Apple’s MacBook Air. It certainly wasn’t a new product for the tech giant, and while it was marketed as the world’s first subcompact notebook, it wasn’t the first time the company had offered a thin laptop. In fact, just three years before MacBook Air’s release, PowerBook G4 had been discontinued due to quality issues with the design. The hinges on the PowerBook G4 were notorious for breaking under typical use and the display screen often made viewing difficult for users. After three years on the market, the product was shelved. When Apple came back with their streamlined Air product they were hailed for its thin light structure and functionality. In the end, design was part of the process of sifting out product quality issues as much as it was creating a product.
Loyal employees are the backbone of every startup. They’re the ones who will ride out financial storms and lend you new ideas to help innovate your products and business. To maintain a healthy, productive and happy workplace, providing your office with a strong sense of pride in their work as well as unity all starts with a design. Remember, employees relate their position at a company as a reflection of their own success. If they’re not impressed by the look of your company’s logo, website or product they’ll be less likely to promote them to their social network of potential customers because of how they reflect on their own success. Similarly, they’re more likely to start looking for a company that makes them feel more accomplished and prideful of their work. Good designs can strengthen the sense of commitment, startups need from their employees which in turn fortifies a company’s identity.