"If you invest in nothing else this year, make design count for you." Deborah Dawton

Most competitive businesses today understand that if they want to stay ahead of the their competition, they have to continue to innovate and reinvent themselves. These businesses are also widely accepting of the fact that design makes the difference between success and failure after all, only one company can be the cheapest, the others must differentiate by some other means. But perhaps what they most businesses don’t appreciate is that design can deliver varying levels of success.

So what does real design success look like? How can Estonian businesses become more effective in commissioning design? How can we maximise our return on design investment?

The UK Design Business Association has been running the Design Effectiveness Awards for 25 years. The Awards measure the impact of design in the businesses that commission it. The following recommendations for achieving more in business from design are drawn from years of case study material:

  1. Design agencies that produce effective results talk about their work differently: they are able to rationalise what they do in terms of business metrics because they understand business despite usually being very small businesses themselves
  1. Design agencies that produce effective work have a wealth of experience which may not directly be related to your area of industry but their success in the household goods sector for example, is easily translated to the furniture sector – it’s all about the way in which they work – and that enables you to have confidence in your chosen designers
  1. Design agencies that produce the biggest business impact work hard on maintaining their client relationships – they will guide you through the process which can often feel very alien, particularly to entrepreneurs, enabling you to develop a relationship that will yield business results for years to come.

If you invest in nothing else this year, make design count for you.

Deborah Dawton

Chief Executive, UK Design Business Association

President, Bureau of European Design Associations