Design is the silky smooth business card that you enjoy holding in your hand, it’s the whimsical illustration that helps you better understand a complex theory, it’s the clean pages of a well-organized magazine, and an intuitive app on your phone that makes some part of your day a bit easier. From an artistic standpoint, design is beautiful. From a practical standpoint, design is quite functional. But regardless of intention, design plays an integral part in our lives and has a real effect on the choices we make, both large and small.

Design is everywhere you look.

It’s impossible to go through your day and not be effected by design on some level, whether you’re aware of it or not.

Your alarm clock wakes you. On your way to work you’re bombarded with dozens of ads and signs. You arrive at the cafe and order your coffee in a simple white cup. You notice an event poster on the wall behind the half & half. You grab a newspaper, sit in a comfortable chair and enjoy this cozy space. All of these things were intentionally designed. The objects, the spaces, the shapes and letters, each the result of a designer agonizing over forms and fonts with the objective of enhancing your experience.

Think about how much design is a part of your typical morning before you even get to work. You see things and form instant opinions based on how they look and how they make you feel. You like things, and you don’t. Objects appeal to you, or not, whether it’s a cafe menu or a chair. And how things make you feel is arguably the number one determining factor that makes you choose one cafe over another, or one product over another. It’s an emotional connection to things. This is design.

Design is not the narrow application of formal skills, it is a way of thinking.

Why should you care about design?

Because your audience does. Your customers, your clients, your readers and your followers are all paying attention to the subtleties of design and they’re being influenced by them every day. Consider the effects that design had on you during your morning coffee ritual. If you run a small business, these are the same effects that design will have on the customers walking by your storefront. As they peak through the window, is the space inviting or cold? How does the sign look? Whats your message?

Maybe they saw your ad in a local publication, or found your website, or they received an email from you. How do these things look? Are they honest and engaging? All of these things hold equal value in terms of how they connect with your audience. It doesn’t matter if it’s a website or a napkin, if your name is on it, it’s important.

Everything has a brand.

A look, a feel, a defining style. From that vintage wooden sign over your local hardware store to the swoosh on your running shoes. It’s the logo and the menu, the font on your newsletter, your website, your emails, even the shelves in your shop are communicating to your customers who you are, whether they know it or not. So shouldn’t everybody care about design? If it’s this much a part of everyone’s life each day, shouldn’t everyone care more about it? Not everyone notices and not everyone cares, but those who do pay attention tend to stand out in the crowd. It’s no coincidence that some of the most successful companies also tend to have the most beautiful and effective designs. From ads to packaging, companies like Apple have impeccable design sense and it has undoubtedly contributed to their success. You don’t have to be Apple to have good design, you just have to think about it and care about it.

Great design will not sell an inferior product, but it will enable a great product
to achieve its maximum potential.

It’s all in the details.

Have you ever picked up a business card and said…Wow, what a cool card. Maybe it had a memorable design, or a nice soft texture. You remember these little things. Your audience remembers them too.

Business cards are a simple example, but take that same thoughtful attention and apply it to everything you design, everything with your name on it, and the outcomes are likely to be the same. Wow, what a cool business card becomes Wow, what a cool shop, or Wow, what a cool website. And who doesn’t want their customers to think wow about them?

This is why design matters. Design is what get’s you the wows in a world of so much competition and so many choices, and ultimately it’s the difference between someone coming though the doors for your cup of coffee versus continuing to walk on by.