Why Startups Should Hire a Designer

I guess you’ve heard a lot of times that visuals are catchier than just plain words. Visuals are a must part of the nowadays marketing strategy, and their importance in catching the reader’s attention has been acknowledged by research as well. Back in 2012, Forbes published an article titled Welcome to the Era of Design, emphasizing the power and financial value of good design, thus linking it to emotions, stating that thoughtful and innovative design makes us feel good.

Design refers to a lot of things: website and all its details, logo, infographics, product etc. What we focus our attention on here, is the designing for the virtual environment. What we can learn about the importance of good design from successful businesses? These success stories will again confirm the value of design through real examples.

Airbnb’s heart

Airbnb, a website that enables you to rent out someone’s room, apartment or house in many countries around the world, reached the 6th place in the FastCompany’s Most Innovative Companies 2014 list. Two very important lessons can be learned from this example of successful business, one of the main disruptive economy’s leaders today.

The first one is related to coming up with a business idea, and the second one is about making that idea a leading business using the value of design, of course, among many other things. If we trace the story back to its origin, Airbnb started out of necessity. Back in 2007, Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky didn’t have money to pay their rent, so they come up with an idea to rent out beds in their apartment, since the surrounding rentals were fully booked due to the design conference held in San Francisco.

Need a business idea? Ask yourself what do you need, but you can’t find. Maybe someone else needs the same thing as you.

Having an idea and actually starting the business are the first steps. The design, as stated in the beginning of this article, will give you competitive power and your business will be recognized by the community. What I’ve found in many interviews with Airbnb’s leaders, was the great appreciation of design. The story I most frequently read is that one of their designers changed one particular icon. When an Airbnb user wants to favorite a listing, he now sees a heart instead of a star. Joe Gabia stated that this change inspired the creation of the Wish List, thus increased the engagement by more than 30%. Do you recognize the big power of small, but good design changes? Heart certainly appeals to emotions, and the percentage clearly shows the financial value of a good design. As you can see, it pays-off to pay for good design.


“Design is the most powerful when it tells a story about something that matters, in a voice that matters” – John Maeda

Back in 2010, Forbes published an article that identifies Maeda as a name you need to know in 2011. It’s been around 4 years until then, and I guess most of you have heard of him already. He is a former President of the Rhode Island School of Design, and now he is a Design Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and also Chair of the eBay Inc Design Advisory Board. The Rhode Island School of Design is also where Airbnb’s founders Joe and Brian obtained their design degrees.

Probably, the two words I read and hear most often by Maeda are “design” and “simplicity”. In an article published at The Wall Street Journal earlier this year, Maeda highlights three principles to be followed in order to use design in a manner that contributes to the success of your business. Some of the points are also highlighted at the All-Stars Sessions 4 at TED2014 “If I don’t ask, I won’t get”: A recap of “I heart design”.  Maeda considers design as the most potent competency that needs to be practiced since the very beginning, and of course, not end there. He explains the importance of how design appeals to people’s emotions and therefore adds financial value because, as he says: we now choose based upon “how it feels”. And design is what makes the product “feel”.

There are many other examples of the value of design, but those two are enough to illustrate the point. So, regardless of the current age of your business: just starting or already matured, you must use the potential of design to help it grow. When it comes to designing for the virtual environment, you can look for designers who will come up with really catchy e-book, e-magazine, website, infographic, logo etc.

What are you waiting for? Go and find your graphic designer here on Fourerr.

P.S. For the ones who are eager to learn more about the importance of design for business success, but do not have time to search for reliable and informative articles, we saved your time and recommend the following further readings:

Robert Safian, editor-in-chief at FastCompany: 10 Lessons for Design – Driven Success

John Maeda, featured at Wired: If Design’s No Longer the Killer Differentiator, What Is?

Chris Finlay, Director of Experience Design & Innovation at, & Jason Gaikowski: presentation on the Economic Value of Design


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