Joe Gebbia, a co-founder of AirBnb claims that the company’s secret sauce is design. He states that the main reason they disrupted an almost unbreakable super-industry was simply well thought out design.
We all know how great AirBnB is, I don’t need to go in depth here, but they essentially designed a system that instantaneously built trust between strangers; enough trust to allow a stranger to stay the night - craziness! The process in which they enabled this unprecedented movement was designed so simply, user-centric and tied together with beautiful branding. In January this year, about 11 years on from AirBnB’s launch, the company was valued at $3.8 Billion. Is that the power of good design?
I think so.
It tells us that investing in design can bring immense value, even in sectors that don’t sit within creative fields. Before AirBnB, the world of booking hotel rooms could be difficult and overwhelming with many companies competing for your attention. As AirBnB entered the market, they worked on a seriously slick and stunningly simple interface built around the user experience. Pairing this with the right branding, you were assured you were in the right hands. And then they dominated.
So, why is this relevant for brands and clothing lines?
Consumers are now used to design-led user experiences without necessarily knowing it. They are used to these experiences whilst scrolling on Instagram and only stopping their thumb at the most well-thought out sponsored post. They are used to only visiting the eCommerce sites that took the time to figure out the most user-centric navigation system. And they are used to receiving and unboxing the parcel from the brand that went the extra mile to design a sustainable packaging experience. The companies investing in design are winning us over.
Looking at many of today's social brands, there are too many that aren’t differentiating themselves with designed-led experiences. Starting from the branding, make it different and think about the bigger picture. Keep it simple whilst not forgetting about your consumer. The market is cluttered with low-quality design, to cut through you have to think differently. Invest in design, keep working on it and keep simplifying it.
For us, this has been our ideology from the start. Being a design-led company has allowed us to build brands that simply resonate with global audiences and endure the test of time.