On strategic design

Written by Carl Nas & 

When practising mindfulness, you can learn how to take a deep breath, enhance the moment and fully become who you are. The same approach could benefit your business. In our fast-paced world, where consultants are offering their services ever more speedily to avoid lagging behind, it’s even more important to stop and ask the right questions.

Digital brands can always update their primary visual assets in a cost-effective way, but a side effect of this is that they all look and feel the same. They tend to follow either established leaders or rising stars. They look anxiously at new trends and technologies, and the questions they ask themselves are too simple — which colours and typefaces are used by competitors? Which UX style is currently on trend? How can we avoid making any mistakes? How can we look like a digital start-up? (The worst one…)

Using design in this way is fine, but it will probably remain at the level of decoration or wayfinding. You then get a sign by the road, and your consumers will maybe find out that you exist and where to find you. But it won´t tell anyone why you exist, who you exist for and what your unique offering is. These are the kind of questions strategic design should answer. A kind of design that serves a purpose and creates real business value. A kind of design that is impossible to copy, showing fully who you are. That is strategic design.