By Rounak Guharoy posted Aug 9th 2013 at 6:00AM
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In an ideal scenario, all businesses, no matter what they make or sell, should recognise the power and financial value of a good design. It's said that design is an important tool of innovation; every new innovation comes with a new design. In the last decade and a half, every new technology has been complemented with a new design, whether it is a new laptop or a new headphone. Design has literally become the other name of innovation in technology. If one looks at history, it won't be wrong to say that it all started with Steve Jobs.
Jobs had once said, "Everything around you was made up by people who were no smarter than you. And you can change it. You can influence it. You can build your own things that people can use." And since then, Apple became the synonym of new design and new technology. Thanks to this man, the tablets, touchscreen smartphones, PCs became ubiquitous.
Many say that Jobs definitely practised what he preached. At a time when all other technology firms were busy infusing the wow factor in their products, Jobs and his Apple Inc. were working on innovations; something that brought a revolution and redefined the technology world.
Having said that, today, design has become an integral part of a product's blueprint. Whether it's a sleek or heavily-muscled headphone, it's the design that attracts any potential user. Great designs are no longer a thing of elites; rather it has reached out to the masses, and hence, today there is a great demand for good designs which are affordable, intuitive, simplified and elegant at the same time. One can easily say that today, design has finally become democratised, and the makers find themselves with new standards to meet. To understand the importance of design, let's take the example of Microsoft and Apple. When it comes to the industry, both Microsoft and Apple belong to the same category, but, the latter is considered as the epitome of a design-led organisation with a market capitalisation of USD 570 billion (approximately); more than the GDP of some countries.
But now, even Microsoft has realized the importance of design and is focusing on it heavily. This is reinforced when you see the Microsoft Windows interface. Microsoft is a brand which was synonymous with computers till early 2000, in India. Windows for the longest period didn't bother to change its interface, but, with the arrival of Apple in India officially, Microsoft soon realised the importance of design and hence, a series of new user interfaces were launched. First came Windows Vista followed by Windows 7 and now Windows 8; each came with a new and improved design.
Today, companies like Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Beats Audio are investing a considerable amount of time and money in getting the right design keeping their audience in mind.
But why have people become so design sensitive? Perhaps, Apple's global dominance has elevated our design expectations or the fact that great design is available at affordable prices. At the end of the day, it's the design that emerges as the common string. A strong design along with strong technological values defines the opinion for a particular brand. To illustrate, the white headphones by Apple (although, today, there are many brands offering the same style) are the perfect example, as they became symbolic of the brand. In a similar vein, when you see the cruiser bike, you always think of Harley Davidson. Even the screens to which we glue ourselves, be it a computer or a television, have gone through a lot of design changes in the past one and a half decade. Remember the monitors which were heavy, bulky and sometimes even ugly to look at? It was a design revolution that led to the emergence of plasmas-sleek, stylish and light. And as the decade moved ahead, in came LEDs, which are even better and come with an overall, better design.
Today, when we have moved into a digital world where almost everyone has access to a screen, thinking of a life without these gadgets is impossible. The power of design is so strong that today, it transcends the brand's identity in the market.
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