Save your business, hire designers.

Fluffy kittens in a basket by Pieter Lanser

Designers hear so many stupid things in their life: “Please do your magic, it only takes a minute”, or “I don’t like it and my wife doesn’t like it”, or “Make it pretty; add some sparkles and confetti”. Those great moments when you feel like a rabbit suddenly trapped in the blinding headlights of vacuous crap. Even if it very often is one of the most pragmatic options, a basket full of kittens might not be the only solution. Let’s not discuss here what beauty means. If design was only about creating good looking products, companies like Apple, Airbnb, Dyson or Ikea would have failed a long time ago. Unlike art, design has a purpose which can be measured, it’s about how things work and feel. It’s about the customers. It’s about the object and its functionalities, behavior, content, shape and production. And yes designing all of that is not easy. Maybe that’s why we call it a job.

Talk to the right designer

The vast majority of the designers I have met so far are deeply curious folks who feel rewarded by finding solutions. People with a sixth sense of noticing details and spotting patterns. Most of them do not make the mistake of considering design as a weapon for marketing or the even bigger mistake of designing for divas or techies. Fortunately, they very often design for the end users.

If your product is hampering your customer’s satisfaction and they lack commitment to your brand, provided your product has some potential, good design can help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, just ask the right designer, the right way. If your service is annoying as hell, or if your UX sucks, or if your UI is doomed, then meet with good service, UX and UI designers. If your visual language seems like having dyslexia, then talk to good graphic and visual designers.

Mindset over skillset

A specific skillset has a cost, the right mindset is almost priceless. Like any specialist, talented and experienced designers are rare and expensive people. Maybe you can’t afford to hire them. In this case, bet on potential and hire young designers. Designers love to learn, their job is to get into your customer’s shoes. The combination of your internal data and qualitative insights, coupled with the designer’s problem solving skills, can be just as valuable as an impressive resume.

If you lack both data and money, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re completely screwed. If you have time and interest in design, go for it. Auto-didacticism is nothing to be ashamed of; try the Six Thinking Hats system for instance. Show empathy and good sense, aim for simplicity, leverage users knowledge, be creative. It is not a designer specific thing, designers are just trained to it.

Sure, design won’t save the world. Even if some bold designers work on creating new systems and materials for us to build eco-responsible houses or for kids in remote regions to access knowledge and education. No it will not save the world. But it will save your business.