Should You Care About Aesthetics?

Are you more concerned about aesthetics or your bottom line when contracting design services?

Designers – good ones – always care about how something looks. This is bred into us from day one at art college. But we also care very deeply about how design functions. This is also bred into use at art college. We understand that good design is a marriage of both form and function, and that the form (how something looks) facilitates its function (how something works).

But when you work with a designer, you don’t ask him to make something look pretty. You want him to create something that will help build your business.

I’m one of those designers who cares very much about the quality of my work and whether or not it’s aesthetically sound. I’ll make something look as good as I can get it to look because I’m concerned about beauty and excellence. But more importantly, my work has become known for how it serves to build my clients’  enterprises and achieve their goals. Over the years I have helped a variety of businesses and organizations become more visible, build more influence and become more profitable through the visual communications I created for them.

Good Looks Increases Perceived Value

No one would value a diamond unless everyone considered it valuable. We humans tend to value beauty. Aesthetics is about beauty (visual appeal). I’ve written elsewhere that beauty and pretty are not the same. Pretty is superficial while beauty is a core concern and as such, it mightily affects function. Properly understood, beauty supports function rather than replaces it.

You should care about aesthetics because your customers care.

You hear me talk a lot about aesthetics and what makes for good design in terms of visual appeal. But I also talk about how design is valued by your customers not only because of its appeal but also for how they can use it. I will make you aware of color (a form) and its role in communication (a function). I will make you aware of typography, layout, and composition (forms) in communicating (a function) properly. I’ll inform you about hierarchy and order, economy and white space. I’ll counsel you on how to use your graphic assets – those visual designs that I create for you – to build integrity and authenticity so that you can build loyalty and responsiveness in your customer base.

Aesthetics Are Good for Business

You need design to do business. You have a choice of designers. We are myriad. Because you have a choice you will want to choose well in order to achieve success over the long term. You will also want to work with somebody who understands how looks and purpose blend for success. Not all designers have the knowledge and insight.

As a client you want to work with somebody who can explain things in terms that you can understand, who can understand your purpose, who can explain why one option is better than another and who acknowledges that you have a budgets and schedules. You want to work with a designer who has as much at stake in the game as you do, don’t you?

I will remain passionate about good design and visual appeal because nobody really likes ugly. Aesthetics are important because they’re the structure and foundation of the universal visual language of design. If you, the client, are concerned about the standard of communications you engage in with your customers, you will care about aesthetics. Your customers care, and that’s reason enough, let alone what I think.

Alvalyn Lundgren

Alvalyn Lundgren is the founder and principal of Alvalyn Creative, an independent consultancy providing brand strategy design and bespoke illustration for more than 30 years. She is the creator of Freelance Road Trip — a business school and podcast for creative freelancers. She teaches design and design practice on the college level with design schools and programs.