Of Design and Function
I have recently been involved in a great debate that essentially revolves around the presentation of a product to the market.
Like a-lot of things, this task was approached more than a little back to front and I am having to go back to the drawing board after the event – time and money being lost as a consequence, but this is not the lesson from this post (of course, don’t ignore it as a lesson though!).
Essentially the debate has revolved around a clever design over the functional requirement of what is being produced. The clever design and aesthetics won out on the first iteration at the expense of making the function clear. Why? Because the function was clear to those of us involved in what was being created.
What was completely ignored in the original iteration was that the people seeing it who counted i.e. the people who might buy the product!
How on earth did this happen when;
- There was a marketing person telling us we needed to make it clear.
- Other product marketing sites were looked out and they were spelling it out in black and white what was being sold.
- Potential customers had been asked what they would like to see.
Essentially, ego overtook everything and all the good advice that was given by people was ignored. This happened because the product was fully understood and this was translated, incorrectly, to being a case of the market being understood – a very different proposition. A desire to be different and unique was also at the forefront of the original design, but again, this should not have been at the cost of presenting a clear message.
No-one should have needed to ask “what is it you do?”.
Of course great design is an absolute must in helping project a concept into the market. Without great design even the most obvious messages will lose their impact. The key is to make sure that the design does not become primary objective but is used to ensure that the message that you are putting out there is read and is obvious.
What is the point in having pretty wrappings if you are not tempted to unwrap what’s inside? Some businesses intentionally do this to great effect, but for most of us we have to make it obvious to our customers what we are selling. K.I.S.S. definitely applies (Keep it simple stupid).
Have you ever let your ego over-rule what you should have done and suffered as a consequence?