Strategic branding

5 Ways to Design Like Apple

Sam Frentzel-Beyme Follow Managing Partner & Strategy Director

The Short of It

  • Existing organizations can provide a valuable guide to what does and doesn't work in the market.
  • Apple continues to provide useful insights in how to think about design, innovation and customers.
  • Asking five Apple-like questions about your organization can bring unique insights.

Apple is constantly used as a benchmark when it comes to design and branding and John Edson’s book Design Like Apple, presents some interesting insights and takeaways for organizations looking to better connect with their customers. Here are five questions from the book to get you started.

1. Even if you’re not a designer by training, do you have design taste? If you don’t have the time and inclination to do so, should you create a senior design role at your company to curate the output of the entire organization from a design point of view? Jobs and Ive have been the arbiters of taste at Apple; Smith facilitates good design at Herman Miller; and Shum is changing the design culture at Microsoft.

2. Do your products exude a confidence, intentionality, and consistency rooted in a clearly articulated design playbook? Do your products adhere to a unified design vision or philosophy that is spelled out as a actionable design philosophy for staff to keep in mind at all times? Follow Herman Miller’s example and create your own tenets of design.

3. Most modern companies have an awareness that design is important to the products and services they make. What’s the state of awareness at your company based on the scale, “Design is added on at the end of product development” at the low end to “We support design creativity at all levels and in everyone’s job” at the opposite end.

4. One metric for the design values of an organization is that everyone knows which behaviors are discouraged. Would cutting corners on a design be considered acceptable?

5. Finding the right design talent is essential to promoting design in your company. To design like Apple, you need creative people who can bridge liberal arts and technology. Do you seek people with diverse creative interests, even for positions that don’t directly require creativity thinking?

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