Essential Product Design Makes The Difference

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Heather’s dream is to share with the world her success at becoming healthy after age 40. Heather lost over 88 pounds through changing her diet and incorporating exercise into her busy life. She would like to take what she has learned about becoming fit after 40, and using her Metabolic Training Certification to help others struggling with weight issues mid-life. Heather’s post day is Monday.
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Seth Godin is my favorite marketing guru, prolific author and entrepreneur. His honest and sometimes blunt observations make his books a painful experience at times, but only because he pushes you into growing.

At least that is how it worked for me, once I got over my shock.

I recently ran across this great editorial from Seth Godin that was originally included in one of my favorite online design magazines, Before & After. He brings up a great point.

Why is design left for last?

The editorial excerpted here is titled “When the tail wags the dog“, and argues that design should be up front and center in the product process. Why shouldn’t designers be at the table from day one?

Actually, it doesn’t matter one bit to me whether you’re any good at design.

If you’re reading this magazine, the odds are you are. You’re probably very good. It doesn’t matter.

What matters is whether you can sell design to your clients. What matters is that you’re able to implement the great ideas, instead of settling for the mediocre stuff that clients insist upon.

Have you ever seen an incompetent extension cord? An incorrectly mixed jar of mouthwash? An inferior gallon of gas?

Just about everyone thinks that we need to focus on the stuff we make. Just about everyone is wrong. The stuff we make is fine. We have everything we need, and everything is good enough.

On the other hand, have you ever been in a building where the architect did a bad job? Have you ever decided not to enter a restaurant because the lighting and look didn’t feel fun? Have you ever bypassed a magazine because it looked boring?

It turns out that design has too long been a poor stepsister. Design – (graphic design, product design, space design, interface design) the freelance work that you can get without a degree, that doesn’t pay enough, that has not nearly enough status – is no longer just a nice plus. Design is all we’ve got!

If you want someone to switch from a product they like, the only choice is to make a product they love – and that’s the work of the designer. Designers make things that create emotion. Designers create boxes and ads and brochures and buildings and steering wheels that we love.

So why do designers go last? Why aren’t you invited to chime in before the dies are cast (literally) and the budgets are set? Why doesn’t the board send the CEO to a design seminar at Parsons so she can understand how to make things people will love?

For too long, people who are passionate about design (that would be you, Before & After reader) have accepted their lot. They’ve assumed that they should shave their hours, discount their fees, do their work as journeymen and then move on.

Design and your dream

Are you looking to stay on target with your dream product launch? In my post “8 Ways To Apply Lessons From The Dip To Your Dream” I recommended Seth Godin’s book “The Dip” to all dreamers to help you keep that focus, even when it gets tedious.

What is your opinion on design? Does is drive your product launch ideas, or get pushed to the back burner?


Heather’s dream is to have multiple streams of income, starting with launching an e-commerce website that showcases her couture jewelry, which are crafted by her. You can find Heather online at For Your Adornment and Twitter And Beyond Dot Com. She also teaches Social Media tactics for business, besides being CEO of her own web design company. Heather’s post day is Friday.