Design as a Competitive Advantage

We’ve become accustomed to taking the path of least resistance. Need groceries or dinner. Order it on your phone. Need to stave off boredom? Scroll through social media. Everything can be done with just a tap or a click.

And design is no different. Want a website, logo, or brand? There’s an app for that. Often with dozens of designs to choose from. Once you find the one you like, download the template and you’re done.

It’s quick, safe, and efficient, saving time and money. And the result often looks pretty good.

But here’s the thing. In today’s economy, design has become a competitive advantage. If we want to stand out, attract more people, and have higher engagement, we need design. Not the templated kind, but the kind that’s developed through research and understanding a brand’s narrative.

When we use templates, standing out, attracting more people, and increasing engagement all become exponentially harder. How do we show people what makes us unique when what’s unique looks exactly like everybody else?

Instead of taking the path of least resistance, we should ask ourselves what would be gained by taking the path less travelled. Sure, we may not see an immediate short-term gain, but we’re not after that. We’re after long-term growth. And long-term growth will always outweigh short-term any gain.

In today’s world of instant access, sometimes the quickest way to stand out is to do things that take a little bit longer.

Tanner Garniss-Marsh, RGD, is a brand strategist and designer working with business owners to bring their envisioned brand to life with strategic and practical solutions.

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