How Are You Incorporating Design Into Your Biz In 2010?

If you could improve on the visual communications of your company today, what area of your business would you most like to see improvements in?

From what I’ve observed so far this year, many clients and prospects of mine are ‘hitting the ground running’. If this is a trend (and I hope it is) among the majority of both large and small businesses alike, individuals are beginning to realize now – more than ever, is the time to strengthen their brand in the eye of their customer base.

Many businesses out there are making strides with great success – but there’s always room for improvement. Maybe they streamlined their business practices by trimming some of the fat; Maybe they’ve taken an entirely new approach to their day-to-day operations. For those out there that are stuck on what could be done to make improvements this year, exploring the many ways visual communications can positively influence business is certainly worth some consideration.

Over the next few weeks, I’m conducting another poll which raises the question: If you could improve on the visual communications of your company today, what area of your business would you most like to see improvements in? I know there are many things I’d like to do this new year myself, so I’m wondering what others out there plan to do this year to improve on their visual communications (if anything at all). If the poll doesn’t urge you to contact a creative professional about how you can start making some improvements, then my hope is to at the very least make you pause for a moment and consider how incorporating design into your current strategy just might be that missing piece of the puzzle.

Thanks in advance for participating and I’ll look forward to sharing some findings in a future post. For some findings from other polls I’ve conducted, check out the ‘Design Polls’ part of my blog.

Your Year In Review

Now that we’ve all managed to get through 2009 (sigh of relief), I suppose now it’s time for a little reflection and planning for the new year. If you’re anything like me, I often overshadow the successes I’ve had with what I’ve failed to or have not yet accomplished. Maybe my New Year’s resolution should be to start being a little more optimistic. In 2010, there’s a lot of things I’d like to personally do differently to bring more success and growth to my business as well as my personal life, so when I came across Peleg Top’s (Founder of Top Design & Co-Founder of Marketing Mentor) blog entry aptly titled Reflect, Review and Plan, I knew I had found a good stepping stone.

Peleg’s entry focuses primarily on reflecting on the year behind us, reviewing what went both good and bad in our personal and professional lives, and then planning for the year to come. Peleg challenges us to answer a variety of questions about the past year, including “What were my successes?”; “What did I accomplish that I am most proud of?” and “What mistakes did I make?”. Then, he asks us to create some intentions – not resolutions – to nurture growth in both our personal and professional lives through the new year.

I belive that if we’re to move forward, then we have to have an understanding of what we’ve left behind, and this piece by Peleg is a way to do just that. So, as you plan for the year ahead of you, make sure you take some time to both reflect and review the year behind you.

Good luck to everyone in the new year!

Peleg’s Blog entry Here

Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations & Inspires Innovations

Change By Design Book Cover

Tim Brown's new book, "Change By Design"

Good headline, right? Unfortunately, I can’t take the credit: it’s the title of a new book by Tim Brown, President & CEO of IDEO. I’m particularly excited about this book because of everything I’ve heard about it. It’s not only an exploration into the design thinking process, but a guide to start thinking on an innovative scale.

We all know that true innovations aren’t typically the results of a few minutes of deep thought. Rather, they’re the result of an intensive thought processes with the underlying purpose of bringing about progressive change. These innovations exist across multiple areas of design and they are known for making our lives better: in the cars we drive, the buildings we work or live in, the clothes we wear, and the different brands and messages we encounter day to day. In his new book Change by Design, Brown introduces the method and needs behind every design, and provides real world examples.

There are many reasons for to read this book. According to the IDEO website:

“Design thinking is not just applicable to so-called creative industries or people who work in the design field…This book is for creative business leaders who seek to infuse design thinking into every level of an organization, product, or service to drive new alternatives for business and society.”

If you’re a leader seeking to innovate through your business, product or service, I encourage you to look more into this book and see how you stand to benefit – I’m getting started today.

“Just as energy is the basis of life itself…so is innovation the vital spark of all human change, improvement and progress”
– Ted Levitt

More info on the book here.

Poll Results: Have You Ever Worked with a Freelance Designer, Studio or Agency?

In early December, I posted a new poll on my LinkedIn profile page. It raised the question Have you or the company you work for ever hired out work to a freelance graphic designer, studio or agency? While there wasn’t as much participation in this poll as I had hoped for, I was still able to gather some good information from the results.
The Predictions:

  • Participants from larger business/organization will most likely answer that they have worked with a design studio/agency.
  • Participants from smaller business/organizations will be somewhat split: some may have worked with a freelancer, some may have worked with a design studio/agency.
  • Most participants will reply that they have never worked with a freelance designer.

The Findings:

  • A majority of the respondents, ages 25-34, are women in a management position with a background in sales.
  • Half of the participants represent mid-size businesses and have never hired out work to a freelancer, studio or agency.
  • One quarter of the participants have hired out work to a design studio or agency in the past.

While the number of the participants in this poll wasn’t as large as I had hoped, it did point out some things worth mentioning and did reflect some of my predictions. I was surprised to find that a majority of participants had never worked with either a freelancer, design studio or larger agency. I wasn’t surprised to find that most of the participants hadn’t worked with a freelance designer, and that makes me wonder why. Is it because these businesses don’t feel comfortable working with a freelancer?, Is it because they’ve never been approached by one?, Did the thought ever cross their mind? Maybe it’s a combination of a variety of reasons.

Keep an eye out in the days ahead for more information about the advantages of working with freelancers as well as the value it can bring to your business.

Poll Results Here