Menu Close

Good design has a purpose

Good design isn’t just about visual appeal. A truly effective design not only captures our attention, but also has purpose and meaning. Purpose-driven design achieves the optimal balance between function and aesthetics. It not only looks good, but delivers the intended message effectively and clearly.

Let’s get started …

So, how does one design with a purpose? Well, to start off with, it’s not a rushed affair. It means taking the time to evaluate the story that must be told about a business, what it represents, the brand message, the clients the business has at present, and those it would like to attract.

Only once these factors have been determined, will a designer be able to make decisions relating to colours, fonts and general look and feel. “Before I start a design, I thoroughly research the industry in which the client operates, their target market and the general culture of the company – is it an elite, sophisticated business or a more relaxed, fun type of company? This informs my decisions on what colours and fonts to use and also the general structure of the designs,” says ICSC designer Cara Mego.

Colours are key

“Colours are very important in design as they create a lasting first impression. People respond to colours subconsciously and they can spark immediate emotions. So, when choosing a colour, it needs to be visually appealing, relate well to the type of company, and portray the underlying feeling you want a business or product to evoke in the client or consumer,” she adds.

The feeling that a design evokes in potential clients is far more important than we may realise. As author Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” A design which creates a feeling of purpose and meaning in its target audience will linger in their minds long after they have seen it.

Find the right font

Fonts are another often-overlooked element of design. Popular or decorative fonts may not always be the best match for your designs. “Fonts must be legible – this is crucial. Also, the wrong choice of font can throw off the balance of a design very easily. It has to relate to the style of the company. With a sophisticated company, an elegant and simple font is the best choice, whereas a trendy company can get away with a more abstract, styled font, which should still always be legible,” says Cara.

Logos should last

Another crucial element of design is your logo. A logo should never just fill a vacant space in your letterhead or a prominent corner of your website. Your logo must speak to the values, ideals and vision of your organisation. Once these have been identified, it makes it so much easier for a designer to create a logo design that will encapsulate your company.

Three steps to design success

As a rule of thumb, purpose-driven design generally comprises at least three steps:

  • Research and analysis – what are your vision, goals and values? What sets you apart from your competitors?
  • Create a design strategy – in this step all learnings and insights are combined to create a design brief and strategy.
  • Design with purpose – this entails creating designs based on the creative brief, while remaining true to the essence of the company concerned.


When these steps are followed, the end result inevitably stands out from the rest. “In a good design, all elements come together in a balanced, attractive manner to portray the product or company. Good design flows well on different mediums; it has a uniform appearance and is never disjointed,” adds Cara.

It’s evident that purposeful design allows organisations to tell a powerful story about their businesses. Contact ICSC today to find out more about our design offering and how we can create memorable visual messages for you