Design is not a shallow, brainless construct for art school sell-outs or Marcel Breuer wannabes. When done right, it’s problem-solving. Within graphic design you have psychology of color, typographic hierarchy, and grids, among numerous other considerations; in industrial and web design a well-designed user interface could make or break a project or platform; and in product design the engineer must often solve potential ergonomical concerns before production.
Good design is a must for any respectable, successful company or product. A lot of the time the less apparent it is the more validated and longstanding it becomes. More often than not, the opposite is true, too. Think of good design as being a warm shower. There becomes a certain level of comfort in the expectation that when you step in the shower it will, in fact, be warm. It isn’t until the water temperature spontaneously drops to freezing cold that you realize how much you value that warm water.
A good example of this is Coke’s most recent, seasonally-appropriate instance of a design faux pas:
While the design aesthetic was sound and the cause noble, Coke Classic forfeited their identity and alienated their audience by making their cans white. To most consumers the jarring change in color was unfamiliar and confusing at first. After all, you almost solely expect a white can to be a diet cola variety. But to some, the effects were more physiological. To them, the white cans actually tasted like Diet Coke, thus betraying their brand loyalty. It wasn’t long before Coke listened to the public outcry and reverted to their traditional red cans.
Sometimes all you need to get your brand back on track is a small fix. Other times it is a much, much larger task. But what we can all take from Coke’s blunder is that the importance of good design, well-thought and well-executed, is undeniable.