• Design is Everything… Everything!

Paul Rand said those words a couple of years ago and they shaped my perception of the creative thinking process forever. Take a couple of moments to look around you and observe everything you see. Gadgets, furniture, clothing, buildings, automobiles, even the space you’re currently in (except you’re reading this in a forest, on a mountain top or underwater) was designed by someone or some group of people to solve a particular problem.
Whatever you see around you that isn’t specifically solving a problem is either a piece of junk you need to throw away or a painting hung up on the wall that just looks good.

Design essentially is any setup created through a process to either provide a solution or solve a problem.

For your business to still be alive in five (5) years’ time, you have to have a design structure built from scratch based on an in-depth research that’s tailored to your brand.
And when I’m talking about design, I’m not just talking about the logo only or the website’s layout, I’m talking about the core elements that are anchored on your brand’s message. I may write about brand messaging sometime soon but today I want you to understand that even down to tempo of the music choice for your TV advertising campaign, a misalignment in choice of sound design can have a negative impact on how your audience perceives your company.

I think I’m talking too much… Let me show you three poor designs that have projected a rather negative image and affected sales and public perception.

1. Locum. A Swedish property management company
I’m of the opinion that whatever designer was hired to create this logo, he/she never intended to pass across whatever message you might be interpreting the above text as.
I just hope that foreign investors with interests in Swedish Real Estate don’t take them for a joke. But If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, I for one have already dismissed them as an unserious organization with no intentions of making profit.

2. Tropicana Rebrand
After their package redesign in 2009, sales of the Tropicana Pure Premium line dropped by 20% between Jan. 1 and Feb. 22, costing them hundreds of millions of dollars. On Feb. 23, the company announced it would bow to consumer demand and scrap the new packaging.
Even though new “design” created by Peter Arnell looked more visually appealing, a few core concepts of design were neglected and this led to a catastrophic failure.

For a design to be considered successful, it must fulfill the following requirements;
1. It must be Functional.
2. It must be Reliable.
3. It must be Usable.
4. It must be Proficient.
5. It must be Creative.
6. It must be Visually Pleasant.

The first being the most important and the last being the least, Peter ignored the fact that the majority of the market relied on seeing the straw dipped in the orange and threw away the whole familiar organic look and feel to settle for a mechanical and unnatural look in typography and brand imagery.

Consumers didn’t trust the new packaging and thought it was some other generic brand and not their beloved orange juice.

That poor design decision cost them close to $133M in loss in just two months. Don’t lets also forget that the design cost $35M.

3. Clinica Dental
I’m a very innocent minded person and so all I see here is a nice guy getting his teeth fixed up. But a lot of people don’t seem to agree with what I see. And that’s why I keep educating clients that a logo doesn’t have to necessary describe what you do. It just has to uniquely identify your brand. Maybe the Board of Directors at Clinica Dental were also told the same thing, but stubbornly just wanted a depiction of what they do. And they got just what they wanted.

I don’t have a toothache right now, but if I know anyone who does, I’ll definitely not recommend them going over to Clinica Dental after seeing their logo because right now, I think I’m starting to see what I didn’t see initially.

As a business you don’t want to have terrible impressions based on a poorly designed identity or product. It could spell doom if not now, but progressively and eventually, losses will be recorded.