Functional Design

Good design is continuing its quiet invasion of the mainstream. From Warby Parker’s affordable and stylish eye wear to Snowe’s home goods to Everlane’s progressive take on fashion, the access to design-forward products without a hefty luxury price tag is unprecedented.

This has at least two implications for marketers. 1) Bad design stands out more, and in the often snarky and reactionary digital world of instant feedback, that can mean significant backlash for missteps. 2) The bar is higher for good design — it has to be even more notable to stand out.

The good news is that combining good design with Consumer Experience best practices can yield clever, interesting and arresting results. Take for example the lost and found station at Vondel Park in Amsterdam (pictured). It combines a useful solution (a single area to place and retrieve lost items) with a creative and attractive aesthetic to create a functional crowdsourced art installation.

Brands and manufacturers have an opportunity to unite thoughtful design with smart shopper marketing to resonate on a powerful frequency. When done well, it can overcome even the strongest shopper barriers – autopilot, habit and apathy. When it comes to form and function, the whole is even greater than the sum of its parts.