Design is not only something seen but something experienced. The designer’s challenge is to create meaningful experiences for the end user. In other words, the design should be significant, relevant and heartfelt.
The designer uses aesthetic elements including type, color and texture as triggers to create meaning, achieve a positive audience experience and build brand loyalty.
The designer’s challenge is to create meaningful experiences for the end user.
The idea of building loyalty through meaningful experience is the foundation for design strategy. It should be considered in the design brief before any concept is developed. The design cannot be developed on the basis of price and performance if it is intended to create a meaningful experience. A greater understanding is necessary.
To be meaningful, design needs to connect on five successive levels of significance:
- The first of these deals with basic information: “What is it and how does it work?” The design is being identified and categorized by the customer. Their attention is captured.
- The second is: “How much does it cost? Is it within my reach?” Here the customer is forming an opinion and considering the value of the design.
- The third stage is: “How will it benefit me? How does is make me feel?” This is the emotional, try-it-out level. You’ve at least made a sale. The customer is seeking an experience but has not made a commitment.
- The fourth is, “Does it suit me? Can I see myself using it? Does it fit my values?” This is a subconscious level centering around the customer’s values and sense of identity within their culture; most brand decisions are made or broken at this level. The seeds of loyalty have been planted.
- At the final stage the customer asks, “Does this fit my world as I perceive it; is it comfortable with my paradigms?” The customer remains loyal as long as it seems right to do so.
Given the job of creating meaningful experiences, designers function in a role far more complex than that of a mere production artist or decorator. They need the freedom to develop concept within the prescribed guidelines and the permission to suggest “what if”.
Clients do well when they let go of personal preferences and traditions and allow the designer to do what he is asked to do (create a successful design experience for the customer), and be open to consider other possibilities the designer might conceive.