Should the impact of design be measured?

Last week a Design Council forum saw a majority crowd argue in favour of the statement: ‘Better evidence of the impact of design will drive up demand.’ Do you agree that it needs to be measured?

Matt Wade

I don’t think design is something that is measurable. The things we make and the way we communicate them to the world is incredibly chaotic and no one system can evaluate how it benefits society and culture. What saddens me more is that when we talk about understanding design, we have to link it to business, selling stuff and benefits to the economy. I also think once we start to try measuring it, we will change the way we do it to fit the measurement model.

Matt Wade, partner at Kin Design

Mike Hewett

Better evidence of the impact of design does not create a world full of commercially savvy designers, it just empowers those that compete on price instead of quality to win work. Talented agencies and designers are already communicating the value of their work to clients. In contrast, evidenced-based measurement is so alien to many designers that it risks marginalising creativity, is it good to drive up demand if the quality of work is broadly diminished? Right now, for me the most important thing we should be looking to measure is social impact; it is the single metric relevant to every strand of design.

Mike Hewett, lead designer, Sea Communications

Andrea Siodmok

When measuring the value of design I am with Einstein who said ‘Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.’ If design had an underlying formula, business success would be predictable.  Whilst this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to show impact it is important to get the balance right. At the European Commission this week we are discussing ‘How To Valorise Design ‘Made In Europe’ On The Global Scene’- unfortunately I had to look up valorise on Wikipedia.

Andrea Siodmok, innovation and design consultant

Ian Winterbottom

Surely the fundamental principle of design is to help achieve a given objective against a target audience – and in the majority of cases this is the approach we take and communicate the benefits to our clients. However I believe design is becoming more commoditised and clients are being exposed to and ‘all you can eat for a tenner’ mentality with brands/logos for £25 and websites for £500 driving down the value. Ultimately design by its very nature is subjective and over the years we’ve experienced clients throw out robust designs because they didn’t like the colour! Sometimes you just can’t win.

Ian Winterbottom, owner, Our Agency

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  • Raj November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Yes impact of design can be measured from its practicality, if you want to do so. But design is more than its practicality……. is one flower better than the other?

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