Designing With a Purpose

by John Cloonan | May 16, 2022 | Behind the scenes, Blog, Design Inspiration, New Ideas

When I first started designing, I did it with the goal of creating beautiful works of art, products/services, etc. Although I still enjoy creating beautiful designs, I’ve realized the importance of creating designs with a purpose. Designing with a purpose, whether it’s art/music, a product/service, a marketing post, etc., is made to make the person consuming it feel a certain way, perform an action, or fulfill a need.  

When I started designing with a purpose, I also became more productive. I found myself creating drafts/prototypes quicker because I knew exactly what my end goal was. Once the draft was created, I would share and make modifications based on feedback and rinse and repeat until I accomplished my goal.  

I read somewhere when designing a product/service its best to follow Nike’s advice and “Just do it.” I especially believe it’s important when designing products/services because I’m biased. A few questions to ask are:  

What is the point of this product/service?  

How does this product/service help the client?  

What is the end goal?  

Once that is mapped out, I have a starting point. I create a prototype/draft that answers the basic questions I listed.   

I find when creating prototypes/drafts, you discover a lot of unknowns. The saying is ‘You don’t know what you don’t know.” Addressing those unknowns will decrease future issues that may arise and really take the product/service to the next level. From there, I’ll iterate and work with the client to “complete” the user experience for products/service. Even though we’ve reached an agreement the product is never “complete” because a user’s needs change, we’ll need to update and modify the product/service to meet them. Lastly, I’ll take that product/service and make it beautiful. A lot of those details depend on your target audience. Gender, culture, socioeconomic status, etc., all contribute to that.   

The designer who creates a Mercedes goes for a different look and feel than a designer who creates a Honda. The Mercedes design will be premium because they target an audience that expects that look and feel and is also willing to pay the extra price associated with the exquisite quality. The designer who creates a van/SUV vs. a sedan/coup provides their customer with the user experience they need. To keep it simple, customers who need space vs. ones that don’t.  

Purposeful design is everywhere; it solves problems and shapes the world and the future. 

Marketing Guy & Strategic Polymath | Website | + posts

John’s the founder of Audacity Marketing. When he’s not racing motorcycles, he’s building marketing strategies for Audacity clients and anyone else who’ll listen.

John’s worn all the marketing hats, from consultant to agency owner to executive to university professor. He’s held leadership roles in industries from staffing to behavioral health to capital-C consulting. He’s branded or rebranded over 100 companies.

John buttresses 25+ years in marketing with an MBA from Georgia State University.

John lives with his girlfriend Suzanne, his dog Seamus, and his daughter Annie when she shows up from college.