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The importance of design, and why design matters

A simple, white mug with a handle and concaved bottom, demonstrating the hidden nature of great design. Photo by Shirley Tittermay on Unsplash

We all know ‘good’ design when we see it. On the surface, design is subjective by nature. You may think that something looks ‘good’ because it’s your favourite shade of sky blue. You may think something else looks ‘good’ because the designer used Comic Sans. But ‘great’ design is usually found hiding in plain sight.

As a matter of fact, ‘great’ design is everywhere.

Take a look around your home or office. Every product you see was designed to fulfil a purpose. Take, for instance, that mug on your desk. I’d hazard a guess that it probably:

  • Has a handle, so that you don’t burn your hand when you lift it.
  • Has a thick wall, so that your tea stays hot for longer.
  • Has a concaved bottom, so as to reduce physical contact with your desk.
  • Is made out of something like porcelain or china, so that it doesn’t get too hot to handle.

All of this, without mentioning whatever cute artwork the mug has been tarted up with. That’s the aesthetic layer, and the bit that’s subjective. The ingenuity of the mug’s design lies not in whatever corporate logo some company’s slapped on it, but in its function and its form.

This is great design in action.

By now, you might be wondering what the handle of a mug has to do with you. ‘I don’t want you to design me a mug,’ you might say. ‘I just want you to design me a website and some business cards.’

But here’s the thing. Design is about more than just colours and pretty clip art. It’s only by understanding what differentiates ‘great’ design from ‘good’ design that we can create products that are truly fit for purpose. Ever heard of accessibility? User experience? What about A/B testing? Or personas? These aren’t just buzzwords, but a foundation for truly impactful, user-focused design.

That’s the kind of design that wins business.

When you hire me for a project, you aren’t just getting a pair of hands. I have over 16 years of experience in designing for both screen and print. Beyond the design phase, I’m also an experienced web developer, so you can consider me your one-stop shop if you’re so inclined. I come from an agency background, so if the job’s too big for me alone, and you’ve got budget, I’ll always know a team that’s up to the task.

As soon as your enquiry hits my in-tray, you’ll get:

  • A free, no-obligation quotation, so you can decide if I’m right for your budget.
  • Onboarding questionnaires, helping you to describe exactly what it is you’re looking for.
  • A schedule, telling you when I’ll be doing your work and when you’ll get it.

I’ve known too many tradespeople who skip those last two, diving headfirst into projects with no brief and no timeline. At o9 design, these are as important to me as they are to you.

Once your project’s kicked off, per the schedule, you’ll also get:

  • Daily updates on my progress.
  • Direct contact, so you can always hit me with your ideas and questions.
  • Access to any research I’ve undertaken.
  • Visuals and/or demos at every stage, as applicable.
  • Plenty of opportunities to feed back and input on my decisions.

As for what you’ll have upon project completion, that depends on the nature of the service I’m providing for you. For more information about that, please do visit my services page.

Getting started couldn't be simpler!

Just send me a message using my convenient online enquiry form, telling me roughly what it is you're after.

Then, I'll get back to you within 24 hours to assess your requirements more thoroughly.

A creative partner you can depend on…

Following a rather chaotic 2020, we're all looking ahead to a better 2021. You need a partner you can trust to get the job done, right.

Let's work together, and I'll be that partner.

A photograph of James Bruton, the creative freelancer behind o9 design.