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Designers Must Translate Design Value into Business Value/



Michael is a software engineer and startup growth expert with 10+ years of software engineering and machine learning experience.

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Designers Must Translate Design Value into Business Value
Designers Must Translate Design Value into Business Value

Design is the driving force behind the digital age, and business leaders understand its importance. However, many of these leaders struggle to understand the principles and processes that govern design. Therefore, it is the responsibility of designers to convey the value of design and how it can benefit a business. It’s not enough to present shiny deliverables; designers must be able to demonstrate how design can create value for the business.

What’s the Relationship Between Business and Design?

Designers are passionate about creating intuitive experiences and compelling products, but they must also be business-minded. Design isn’t just about creating aesthetically pleasing designs; it’s also about serving customers and helping businesses differentiate themselves from their competitors. To be successful, designers must acknowledge that design is not just a pursuit unto itself, but a commitment to serving customers and driving profits.

Design Serves Users and Customers

Design Serves Users and Customers

Designers often focus on users, while companies prioritize customers. However, designers must find a balance between the two to be successful. While usability is important, if conversion rates are not taken into account, profits will suffer. On the other hand, if conversion rates are prioritized over usability, sales will stagnate. Designers must show how focusing on users can lead to paying customers and ultimately drive profits.

Design Exists to Drive Sales

Design departments exist to help companies generate sales and stand out from their competitors. Business leaders invest in design to gain a competitive edge, not because of an appreciation for creative excellence. Therefore, designers must be able to explain how their ideas will increase profits, or risk being viewed with suspicion.

Design Presentations Must Demonstrate Business Impact

Designers often focus too much on the details of their work, which can lead to wasted effort. Rather than solely focusing on creating polished deliverables, designers must also focus on building relationships with internal and external stakeholders, meeting with non-design teams to understand their problems and priorities, and staying up-to-date on company goals, values, and policies. By doing so, designers can demonstrate how their work meets the needs of their organizations and how it can create value for the business.

Business and Design: A Symbiotic Relationship

Business and design are two sides of the same coin. While business is focused on profits and growth, design is focused on creating intuitive and compelling experiences. However, to succeed in the modern era, businesses need to recognize the value of design and work hand-in-hand with designers to achieve their goals. In this article, we will explore the relationship between business and design and how designers can elevate their value within an organization.

The Importance of Collaboration

Successful organizations are built on collaboration between different teams and functions. Salespeople, marketers, and engineers all rely on each other to achieve their goals. The same is true for designers. In the past, Design was often an afterthought in the business world, but this is changing. Designers now have a seat at the table, and it is essential that they work closely with other functions to achieve success.

Breaking Down Silos

One of the biggest threats to collaboration is siloed teams. When teams become isolated, they become focused on their own performance metrics and lose sight of the bigger picture. This can be disastrous for businesses, as it can lead to inefficiencies, missed opportunities, and a lack of innovation.

To avoid silos, designers must be willing to work with other functions, understand their priorities, and align their work with the overall strategic vision of the organization. This requires communication, empathy, and a willingness to learn from others.

Elevating Designer Value

Elevating Designer Value

To succeed in the modern business world, designers need to elevate their value within organizations. Here are five ways designers can do this:

  1. Ask Questions Often: Designers need to be willing to ask questions regularly, especially in large organizations where different functions may have divergent priorities. By asking questions, designers can ensure that their work aligns with the overall strategic vision of the organization.
  2. Look for Gaps to Fill: Designers should be proactive, looking for problems to solve within their organizations. By identifying inefficiencies and pain points, designers can create solutions that benefit the organization as a whole.
  3. Practice Workplace Diplomacy: Designers need to be able to navigate interpersonal relationships within organizations. This requires soft skills such as active listening, humility, and collaboration.
  4. Find an Advocate: Designers should seek out senior managers who are willing to invest in their progress and advocate for them within the organization. An advocate can help designers navigate bureaucracy and convince decision-makers of the value of their ideas.
  5. Join a Startup: Startups are an excellent opportunity for designers to gain experience and learn lasting business lessons. Startups provide opportunities to perform multiple roles and contribute to high-impact projects.

Advocating for the Business Value of Design

In the coming decades, Design will become even more important to business success. Design principles will drive customer satisfaction, design processes will dictate company success, and designers will be more influential than ever. However, to achieve this, designers must advocate for the business value of design.

Designers need to demonstrate how their work contributes to business goals, such as increasing profits, expanding customer bases, and differentiating companies from their rivals. By doing so, designers can bridge the knowledge gap and build trust with non-design stakeholders.


In conclusion, design and business are intertwined and dependent on each other for success. Designers must understand the business goals and demonstrate how their work can contribute to the bottom line. Likewise, business leaders should appreciate the value of design and involve designers early in the product development process. Elevating designer value involves asking questions, proactively looking for gaps to fill, practicing workplace diplomacy, finding an advocate, and joining a startup. Ultimately, designers must advocate for the business value of design and show how design principles can drive customer satisfaction and company success