What is design? There are several different definitions for “Design” available, but the one I find the most apt is:
“It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs
What this statement focuses on is that the design is not a decoration for your product but the product itself. To understand this, let’s take an example of a car. Let’s say there is a beautiful Porsche with a really nice metallic paint job and chromium finished accessories but it has an interior of really cheap plastic, deploys an awful sound system and has an engine of an old Maruti 800. The point of this is that this product won’t feel complete. It’s because this is not how design works. One cannot simply use design as a decoration for one’s product. It's more than that.
Okay, so what design actually is? The answer to it is really simple. If you think of your product as a person, the design would be its personality and personality is nothing but the overall characteristics of that person. It’s a person’s identity. Now, consider this scenario: You are in for an interview, competing with hundreds of applicants who possess similar experience, intelligence quotient and some even are better than you in some aspects. In times like these, The ultimate decision for the HR comes down to your personality.
A very similar thing goes on with your startup. Before your customer experiences how good your product is, your customer must be willing to use your product and in present time, there are usually hundreds of startups whose products are similar to yours. The major question that now arises is, in this crowd of hundreds, how will your product stand out? How can you make a statement out there, in the market?
You must’ve guessed the answer already. ‘Design’ or you can say the personality of your product, is what makes it stand out. ‘Design’ is no secret ingredient which will make your startup an overnight success but it certainly is one of the factors affecting the success of your product. Remember! Design can be only as good as it’s product.
Let’s talk about how design builds a personality or an identity for your product.
Key factors which influence the personality of your product:
1. First Impression (Idea):
We all know how important ‘first impression’ is. You have to be loud and clear in what you’re presenting to the outside world. It should be easy to understand and should convey what your company stands for, what its vision is.
The first impression can be anything from a simple creative to a dedicated landing page. Whenever you’re working on creating that first impression, keep in mind that this is maybe the first your user is getting to know what your company does. Try to maintain a proper balance of what you are revealing and what you’re not to your end consumer.
The first impression is all about your brand. It should focus more on your what your company envisions rather than what your product is. Remember! You do not sell your product, you sell your idea, your vision, reflected by your product.
Have a look at how beautifully this has been implemented by Slack, Apple and Tumbler.
All of these websites are clear in what they are selling to the consumer. They are having a perfect balance of content and design.When building your landing page, keep in mind that it’s the first interaction between you and your customer. It has to be short and concise.
2. Communication (Product | UI | UX)
After a solid first impression, it’s time to create a bond with your users. The best tool for that is communication. Your product should be able to communicate with your users.
A few pointers to consider while communicating through your product:
3. Consistency (Brand)
Consistency is the most important factor for any startup or even for an individual(Personal Branding). Consistency is the key. It makes you who you are. It establishes a brand. Consistency focuses on the overall image and tone of your product. Your product should visually and functionally consistent.
Something you should primarily focus on is the visual consistency of your product. It means that you should follow a certain set of guidelines for the visuals (includes color schemes, themes, graphics style) and for tone (the overall style of content should not change) for your product. Consistency does not mean that the branding for your product will get boring. You can always bend the consistency, but not break it. When you’re introducing something new or different, you can always change your visual style and tone but only till a certain point, beyond which the consistency ceases to exist.
Remember! Your product should have its own identity. An Identity which you build by creating impact, by communicating with your consumer and by being consistent.