Design and Content: Right and Left brain at odds

I was reading a few blogs and article news earlier and I found upon some radical new thinking on design; in which marketing and businesses need to look upon design as a major component of both marketing your products, services and web as well as seeing it as an important business tool. This has probably led me to rethink that 'content is king' and design is actually a really important part of any businesses and marketing as well.

Ed Batista, Darrel Rhea and Malcolm Gladwell in his book: blink have all talked about how design influence people’s perceptions of products and services. Most viewers can not and do not distinguish between the content of the product or service, and the appearance or “packaging” of the site (made up of its graphics, navigational, and branding elements). Hundreds of studies have been done to confirmed this. Louis Cheskin and his concept of "sensation transference" was convinced that when people give an assessment of something they might buy in a supermarket or a department store, without realizing it, they transfer sensations or impressions they have about the packaging of the product to the product itself. To put it another way, Cheskin believed that most people don't make a distinction--on an unconscious level--between the package and the product. The product is the package and the product combined.

All these have led to the proclaiming of this is the decade of design. Bruce Nussbaum on Design Management Institute (DMI) Brand Design Conference says that: "We are moving from a knowledge economy that is dominated by technology to an economy that needs to understand and empathize with consumers. There is a need for focusing not solely on products or services but also on the experiences consumers have with them. Innovation is needed in how companies organize themselves in order to shape customer experiences in new ways." The 'old guard' Businessweek, P&G, General Electric (GE) have all touted that design innovation will be the next wave of change to sweep through businesses large and small. It is the critical competency for business and the primary tool of business growth.

There has been alot of debates where content and not the design is how people assess quality as well as the argument that design as a medium is the message. For me, I say, why argue?? Some people prefer content and some people prefer design. Just like our left brain which is more logical & rational, and our right more creative and subjective. We all work best with the use of both sides of our brain. So lets integrate both design and content into both marketing and the business. This reminds me of how my boss sometimes make strong discussions with our web designers in the issue of whether design or content is more important. Well, both have their own views; the left and the right at odds.

My experience? When I do buy something from the supermarkets; I normally just choose the one with the design (packaging) I like most. Very seldom, do I really look at the content unless it is a high involvement product or service. Lets talk about the web; a website with a good design gives me a good first impression that it is a professional site. One with good content but without a good design probably won't attract me as much as the well designed one (of course, not unless I am seriously trying to buy or research something faily important). If companies can spent big amount of money into design; we do have to strongly consider the importance of how design will impact the way we do our marketing. Maybe I can say that design is to do the job of attracting customers and considering buying from us while content is to make us sell and make our customer stay? Or the reverse is true as well? What say you?
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