"All businesses, no matter what they make or sell, should recognize the power and financial value of good design.
Obviously, there are many different types of design: graphic, brand, packaging, product, process, interior, interaction/user experience, Web and service design, to name but a few. ...
You see, expecting great design is no longer the preserve of a picky design-obsessed urban elite - that aesthetically sensitive clique who'd never dare leave the house without their Philippe Starck eyewear and turtleneck sweaters and buy only the right kind of Scandinavian furniture. Instead, there's a new, mass expectation of good design: that products and services will be better thought through, simplified, made more intuitive, elegant and more enjoyable to use.
Design has finally become democratized, and we marketers find ourselves with new standards to meet in this new 'era of design.' To illustrate, Apple, the epitome of a design-led organization, now has a market capitalization of $570 billion, larger than the GDP of Switzerland. Its revenue is double Microsoft's, a similar type of technology organization but one not truly led by design (just compare Microsoft Windows with Apple's Lion operating system)."
(Adam Swann, 5/03/2012, Forbes)
Fig.1 "Mille Miglia" bicycle by VIVA [http://www.vivabikes.com/].
"Alan Penn, director of the Virtual Reality Centre for the Built Environment at University College London, has come to a conclusion that Ikea stores are 'designed just like a maze'. In doing so he's given scholarly validation to a feeling that will have occurred to many shoppers as they blunder around the blue and yellow hangar looking for a new TV unit only to emerge with two candles, a wok and a bottle of lingonberry cordial.
Penn went on to suggest that it was Ikea's strategy to keep customers inside the store for the maximum time possible. They achieve this by setting a route round the store from which it's difficult to deviate. Taking the shortcuts (which are only there to conform with fire regulations) often leaves you adrift in a sea of lampshades.
The effect is to boost impulse purchases. See a coathanger, and you might buy 'because the layout is so confusing you know you won't be able to go back and get it later'."
(Ian Tucker, 30 January 2011, The Observer, Guardian News and Media Limited)
"Information design, also known as communication design, is a rapidly growing discipline that draws on typography, graphic design, applied linguistics, applied psychology, applied ergonomics, computing, and other fields. It emerged as a response to people's need to understand and use such things as forms, legal documents, signs, computer interfaces, technical information and operating/assembly instructions. Information designers responding to these needs have achieved major economic and social improvements in information use.
Today information design is engaged in most complex projects which involve communication with customers, suppliers, partners and citizens - particularly where the costs of misunderstanding are large. Some examples of bad information design might include: forms that are incorrectly completed and costly to process; instructions that cause frustration and even danger and that may damage the reputation of the provider; education materials that fail to promote learning; scientific and technical data that is easily to misinterpret; command and control displays that fail to alert operators to potentially dangerous situations; and websites that are difficult to navigate and unpleasant to look at.
Information design is user-centred. Usually, it is iterative - design solutions are tested and modified repeatedly. Sometimes the testing is local and informal; sometimes a project justifies formal and extensive usability testing and evaluation.
Information designers serve the needs of both information providers and information users. They consider the selection, structuring and presentation of the information provider's message in relation to the purposes, skills, experience, preferences and circumstances of the intended users. To do this they draw on specialist knowledge and skills in a number of fundamental areas."
(Sue Walker and Mark Barratt)