Is Good Design Good Enough?

I make a point of regularly browsing the wine department at my local supermarket. And it doesn’t look good. At first glance all the wine bottles look the same. Hundreds of brands displayed like sardines in a can, lost in a sea of packaging and marketing desperation and confusion. 

So what’s the point of spending thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of your marketing budget on design? Do consumers even notice? Is wine marketing different to any other product on the shelf? Should you be throwing more time and money at design? And what’s your payback or ROI on design? Do you even know?

According to industry expert Paul Scrivens the best designs don’t always win, but they win more often than not. His recently posted Did we ever remember design? discusses this very point and makes for interesting reading. Here are a few of his gems that apply equally to the wine industry:

“When it comes to design, every year is the same. You will see articles upon articles extolling the virtues of design and how companies can benefit by putting more emphasis behind it and what happens? The same companies innovate while other companies think they can overpower the competition through features and marketshare.”

“When will every company begin to realize that if you are going to compete at least make design one of the categories you trump the competition in? You might not be able to compete on the size of your audience reach. You might not be able to compete when it comes to how many zeroes are in the bank account. However, losing because your design is not as good as the competition means your chances of success are slim to none.”

“We live in a world where so many things are grabbing for our attention that we do not have the time to sort through all the mess. We do not have the time to waste on ugly. We want to have pleasant experiences with everything that we use and that all begins with the design of things.”

In many products design plays an important part in the consumers overall experience. Take Apple for example. So perhaps the answer is to see design as one of the more important parts of the marketing mix. Or maybe raise the bar by taking your product design from mediocre to excellent. Certainly a better and potentially more rewarding strategy than trying to compete on price alone.

By Mike Carter.