As we navigate the intricate world of design and business, one truth becomes increasingly clear: our expertise in creative expression must be matched by our ability to articulate its business value.
In this article I want to share some tips on how to progressively evolve from artists who speak through visuals to strategic thinkers who articulate the business significance of our designs.
Table of Contents Hide
- Understanding the Communication Gap in Design
- Bridging the Gap: Speaking the Language of Business
- Resources for Mastering Business Communication in Design
Understanding the Communication Gap in Design
The Struggle to Convey Design’s Importance
Let’s face it, as part of the design community, we’ve all experienced the challenge of communicating the importance or results of our work. This issue is common among us. We are creative spirits, adept at making things look good and enjoyable, yet sometimes we falter in explaining the why or what of our designs. This communication gap is where the difficulty in demonstrating the value of our work originates. We are not just artists; our creations have significant business and user experience impacts.
The Evolution from Creatives to Strategic Thinkers
Historically, we have been viewed as a unique breed of professionals. Our conversations could meander for hours about the aesthetics of a Call To Action (CTA) button, often without reaching a definitive conclusion. But with the development of areas like User Research and the application of theoretical methods, our perspective shifted. We began to see design not just as a form of art but as a crucial element in strategic decision-making. This evolution meant recognising the importance of personalised experiences, acknowledging that design isn’t one-size-fits-all.
Bridging the Gap: Speaking the Language of Business
The Importance of Business Acumen in Design
We, as designers, are no longer just creative minds; we are increasingly required to think from a business strategic perspective. This change is a golden opportunity for us to make a significant impact in any business. However, to seize this opportunity, we must learn to speak the language of business.
Translating Design into Business Results
It’s time to move beyond simple explanations like changing a CTA’s color because “green appeals more than blue.” We need to articulate our decisions in terms of business outcomes, such as “increased user engagement by 5% through user research techniques.” Similarly, instead of saying “we implemented a dark theme because it’s better for night reading,” we should say “we increased app usage by 30% by implementing accessibility features.”
The Role of Storytelling and Business Knowledge
To truly excel in design leadership, we must be proficient storytellers and have a solid understanding of business language. Without these skills, entering the field of design leadership effectively is challenging. Speaking a different language means not being taken seriously in business circles.
Resources for Mastering Business Communication in Design
Recommended Reading and Viewing
To further explore this topic, here are some invaluable resources:
- Books List:
- YouTube Videos:
- “How to speak so that people want to listen” – a TEDx Talk by Julian Treasure
- “The Easiest Way to Explain UX Design and Research to Stakeholders “ by vaexperience
- “Growth Through Design and Business Strategy” by Dan Kraemer
By mastering the language of business, we as designers can transform our creative visions into compelling business strategies, ensuring our ideas are not just heard but valued. This shift isn’t just about survival in a competitive industry; it’s about thriving and leading.