Driving Home Design
If customers can read your values at a glance, you're in good company
What could your business possibly have in common with a 24-hour news
network, an athletic shoe manufacturer and Tupperware? Plenty, if you value
good design as much as business plans and bottom lines.
A recent article in I.D. magazine recognized North America's best design-driven
companies, those that communicate corporate values with thoughtfully designed
goods and services, time-tested brands and innovative distribution. These
are companies that make a commitment to research and development to keep
customers coming back for the products' ease of use, innovation and appeal.
Some have unmistakable, yet freely morphing logos: cable network Nickelodeon's
all-caps name printed against orange slime blotches, dog bones or ice cream
bars, for instance, or publisher Alfred A. Knopf's stick-figure dog mascot
that grew an extra leg on a novel about a genetically experimental family.
Some have skirted tradition to design products in ways that would change
their categories the way Apple pioneered the compact, plastic-shelled
personal computer or Gillette rethought razors and toothbrushes.
Forty companies, including Martha Stewart Omnimedia and
Gillette, got a nod from I.D. magazine for integrating smart design into
Still others were so pervasive in the office and home they became a way
of life. "FedEx became a verb. Martha Stewart became an adjective.
And Airstream became a subculture," the article says.
The magazine also honored Tiffany & Co., whose commitment to design
was set forth as follows by the company's president, Walter Hoving, in 1955:
"Aesthetics, if properly understood, will almost always increase sales."
Among Tiffany's great design achievements are its six-prong engagement
ring setting that enhances a diamond's sparkle; the simple, elegant jewelry
of designers Elsa Peretti and Paloma Picasso; the world-famous windows of
Gene Moore; and its well-known blue boxes and bags.
Even more notable, the article says, is how democratic the store is,
selling its $60 silver pendants wrapped in blue boxes that "can make
anything look expensive."
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.