Good Design Won't Solve All Your Problems

Wrote a new, short article. Enjoy.

Comments welcome.

As designers, we often get stuck in the trap of thinking that Design (capital “D”) can solve every problem > and “Good Design” is the secret to product, brand and financial success. Make it attractive, make it work, make it right for your target market and you will win.

The truth is more complicated…

Design can’t fix everything.

While it’s tempting to sell Design to a client or management as a solution for everything that is broken (sales, margins, brand position, etc.), the reality is that if the product or brand isn’t working and you only change Design, you are set up to fail.

Good Design isn’t a bandaid- it must be well integrated if it has a chance to help

Full article below…

1 Like

I might be in a nit-picky mood today, and anyway we are ostensibly all here to help each other. I think I get what you are trying to communicate but it could be more clear.

I got hung up on the ‘Capital D’ and the notion of ‘Good’, since you started with that. Who is your audience - other designers? Or people who want you to design a shoe, a brand, a business?

The overall tone sounds negative. There’s a lot of moralizing here, a lot of don’ts, won’ts, can’ts, and fails.

“Asking for Design when when you need a solution is good.” when when?

Visually I want more white space/margin on the right side of the copy. The copy is running into the ‘Latest Posts’ column and shorter lines make better reading.


Thanks for the feedback and taking time to read the article @slippyfish

Audience for the post is all you mention. Designers, potential clients (who may be founders, brand people or designers), etc.

The tone I was going for was not negative per se, but critical. Setting up the article with the expectation of a negative my intention is the highlight a very real and honest approach based on my own experience of the limits of Design. Counter to most articles that talk about how design is so great, can fix everything, etc. and how designers tend to do marketing that builds on this (“we can make your product/brand awesome” … “you need more design”), my tact is to level a realistic expectation of what deign can and can’t do and the circumstances in which design needs to operate.

As mentioned, this comes from my own experience. I hope to do more specific content on this in the future, but suffice to say I’ve certainly been in situations where I’ve thought “wow, the design is so bad, I can fix everything with good design” only to later realize the bad design is a symptom, not a cause and changing only design is impossible to effect a positive outcome. Change in approach, thinking, sales support, marketing, etc. is needed to realize Good Design.

Good eyes on the margin. I’ve added more padding to the page.

PS. Design vs. design I didn’t really explain, but intended to highlight to separate the difference between design as an act and Design as and outcome/evaluation. Not sure if that makes sense.