Design =Value + Values

Anuj Prasad, founder and CEO of Desmania Design, shares his views on how the value of various designs is estimated through various representations

07 Aug 2018 | By PrintWeek India

Anuj Prasad, CEO of Desmania Design

Design is genesis! Design is the blending of art and science. The value of design has always been difficult to understand. The design thought process is a preparation for creating something tangible. As the process evolves, there is a wholesome body that emerges and if developed, interacts with millions of human beings.

Design is to represent, to perceive and to respond. Representation is through aesthetics, perception is created through value and an eventual response is through values. Through most of the design practices, all the three elements play a vital role in establishing a brand.  The most difficult aspect of a design is communicating its value in a quantifiable way.

A lot has been talked about aesthetics and perhaps, one of the key virtues of designers is the aesthetic representation. The industry also recognises designers as the resources who can create differentiation, primarily through aesthetics.

The other two elements (Value & Values) which create a brand are often sidetracked. 99% of the human population buys value. A value could be represented in an equation form:

Value = (What you get) - (what you pay)

Who decides on the value? Designers and marketers who use their intellect to integrate features as a recipe for creating value. The recipe is best co-created but converting it into a desired and palatable dish is done by the designers. Design thinking provides a systematic way to further understand the customer’s problems and needs, discovering the opportunity to create new value for the customer and build a better future for society.

As intelligent & cultural beings, we believe in value systems. We trust people who have a strong value system. Same is with brands. They are trusted if they manifest their value system through consumer engagements. Values are inculcated in a brand through a strategy that is followed by the brand custodians. Who passes on the brand values to the users/consumers? Designers! Values are best represented through this equation:

Values = (What you get) + (What you expected)

What you get = Experience
What you pay = Price
What you expect = Honesty

Designers have a huge responsibility in providing the best of above. They do it without asking. The genesis of a product idea leads to design. Like a child can be groomed well at its birth and during his/ her early years, design really helps in grooming the product with brand values in the initial stages of the design process. Values of a product represent the thought and philosophy of the brand. Values are not visible but are experienced through product interaction.

It is often said that customer is more interested in the value of a product as compared to its price. Value can be more definitive. It is the roll-on investment by the consumer. It is not an expense. If you sell a product at a certain price point and deliver much more than what the consumer expects, the product has true value. Value has a soft texture that can be only felt by the consumer.

What ascertains values and value in a product? Without debate it is design!  Both values and value are only felt, and they help in creating an emotional connection with the consumer.

Design, if understood for its true worth, induces exactly that. It is detrimental to the success of businesses. The DNA of a company is largely manifested by its products and services. They need to be designed with an empathy towards the consumer/ user.

A good and honest designer works precisely to get these two in a design. But the buyer of design (the client) seldom recognises this. For them, the designer is an artist who beautifies the product for visual sense. Only if the buyer of design can understand that brand perception is derived through a multi-sensorial experience from a sum of (value+values).

Unfortunately, a design is misinterpreted as pure aesthetics by the buyers of design (read clients). So, they negotiate, and they negotiate hard. They forget that the RoI they would derive out of a meaningful design is inexplicable. A superior design comes at a certain price and that price is much lesser compared to bigger investments in product development and launch. The value that it delivers is much more than tooling and advertising.

Quality of creative delivery is directly proportional to the happiness of creators. Clients, please decide as to how to keep your designers happy to get an abundance of (value + values): the real mantra of product success.