Do you capture design value for clients?

The business value of design comes from increasing revenue and customer satisfaction while decreasing costs.

Design can improve the perceived value of your clients’ products or services and enhance their brand image.
Problem is, perception is no longer enough

So, does your design solution deliver value?
If so, how much of the increased value do you capture?
And can you measure the increased value?

Design value

Value is not something a designer can simply assign and expect clients to recognise.

What designers can do is focus on the business value of design and master the skill of presenting themselves as value-driven professionals. They do this by using humanity-centred design; design that has results for the client and their customers.

The trends

Industrial manufacturers are using humanity centred design and shifting business models. They’re no longer selling products, they now sell outcome-based services, where the provider (manufacturer) guarantees to deliver the performance outcomes of products and services. The address the needs of their customer and focus on them. Think Miele where they sell direct through their stores and guarantee performance of their products. They run cooking demonstrations with hatted chefs to show the outcome of using their products.

Miele’s business model innovation requires a profound yet little understood shift in how value is created, delivered, and captured.

Another example is Apple. They provide something far smarter than good technology in a great design. Apple took good technology and wrapped it in a great business model. Its true innovation was to make downloading digital music easy and convenient. To do that, they built a groundbreaking business model combining hardware, software, and service. They looked at the outcome for their customers; a one stop shop for music.


Building a business model based on delivering design services is no longer enough. This involves going back to a design business model and revamping it to focus on client outcomes.

Selling an outcome is not the same as selling a service; it’s a totally different. The composition of the offer means the whole business model focused on clients must shift from selling services (website design etc) to selling an ability to deliver outcomes. That’s capturing design value.
It’s shifting your design business model to be results focused.

This doesn’t mean you have to be accountable for the sales success; but you need to show how your design can lead to sales success.

Greg Branson

Always happy to talk business models – contact me if you would like to learn more.

Design Business Council : business advice for creatives.
We help designers build better, stronger, more sustainable, businesses.

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Design Business Review is Australia’s only online design management magazine. It’s professional development information written specifically for Australian designers by Australian designers. Best of all, it’s free.


Greg Branson

Greg’s passion is the research and development of methods that improve design management and the role of design in business.

Greg has developed The Design Business School to help owners manage their business better along with showing designers how to get more involved in the studio and develop their career path. Contact Greg.

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