A Better Jacksonville By Design-A Four Part Series on AIGA Jacksonville

by joey marchy
Apple. Google. Disney. Nike. Amazon. Starbucks.
Behind each of these amazing and enormously profitable global brands is an understanding of consumers, a passion for innovation, and perfectly executed and marketed solutions. The process? Design. We’re not talking about design in the (typically misunderstood) “prettying up” sense of the word, we’re talking complex, brilliant problem solving.
Design is an active process which brings ideas to life in their most appropriate form – be it product, communication, event or place. Many of today’s top designers don’t sit behind a computer formatting Word documents, they’re involved in strategy discussions alongside business decision makers and they’re playing a role in the way businesses interact with customers.
AIGA, the professional association for design, advocates the value of design to the business community, saying, “In today’s economy, scale, technology and even knowledge are no longer the unique competitive advantages they once were. The real advantage now comes from the ability to approach problems creatively, from a different perspective, proposing human-centered solutions that defy the expected.” …Or as Thomas Watson, CEO of IBM, simply put it, “Good design is good business.”
The process of design is often times hidden to both business leaders and consumers. CEOs request a logo, website or product and design agencies return with detailed sketches and prototypes. These solutions may never detail the countless hours, discarded ides and analytical structures that went into the process.
Many companies might not understand how the product is made, and, quite frankly, they don’t care – as long as it works. They are blind to the complicated process behind these big ideas. Defining the problem, setting clear objectives, developing a well-articulated strategy, researching and visualizing insights – all of these steps are components of the designer’s job and each of these steps forms a tiny thread in the fabric of the finished solution.
AIGA Jacksonville, the Northeast Florida area’s AIGA chapter, is strengthening its outreach initiative to help business leaders and the community understand the value and process of design and the importance of designers. Our business community already understands the importance of a professional appearance, strategy and quality product, yet all too often this understanding doesn’t translate to design. AIGA Jacksonville is hoping to change that and educate businesses on the value and process of design by creating better working partnerships.
In a recent interview Varick Rosete, AIGA Jacksonville chapter president, laid out the relationship between businesses and designers and explained how AIGA’s relationship with Jacksonville will evolve over the next 12 months.
“You have to insert the business’ culture into the design process”, Varick said. “The business culture must be communicated to the consumer, with a clear message, so they understand what your product or service is about.”
Designers help identify and target goals in order to communicate the business’ message. So, designers not only provide businesses with a full page ad, they arm them with the strategy behind the ad, making sure it communicates the proper message. Designers can bridge the gap and build the relationship between the brand and the product or service.
Varick also indicated that AIGA Jacksonville is moving towards being more involved in business outreach, educating businesses on how to work with designers and communicating the value design can bring to organizations. To do this, AIGA will be enhancing its programming over the coming months, providing more ways to connect businesses and designers. An essential component of this will be educating them on how to work with each other. AIGA wants to bring business and design together so designers understand what businesses need and business owners understand how to properly use designers to achieve their goals.
In doing this, the local chapter hopes to create a more symbiotic relationship between AIGA and local business. The challenge is proving design is more than just the end product, it’s the process. He feels like if they can show how you reach the goal is just as important as the end product then AIGA and the business community will be on the right path.