The first project of any designer should be their own business. Most often, we are so focused on creating the best possible product or service for our customers that we neglect ourselves. However, a project includes not only the final product we deliver, but also the experience that the customer gets on hiring our services.
There is a Latin sentence that says “Medice cura te ipsum” (Physician, heal yourself). This phrase seeks to remind us the importance of carrying out an exercise of introspection, of self-questioning, before (and to) serve others. From this point of view, as designers, we should question ourselves. If we were to design our business to a customer, it would be as it is now?
Designing our business based on the same principles that we apply to the products and services that we create is important for two reasons.
First, we are our own portfolio.
One of the things that generate more distrust are professionals who do not apply to themselves the principles they preach to others. Who would respect an English teacher who commits misspellings? Who would trust a web designer with a badly designed website? How credible is an advertising agency that doesn’t know to advertise itself?
Second, our work goes beyond the design of a product or service.
Our work also includes an experience. Providing good service, building a memorable experience, will positively influence the way our customers perceive our work.
The design of our business should look like good theaters. Upon arrival, someone opens the door and we access an elegant hall. We show our entrance to a theater employee, who greets us politely, and we continue walking until we find a long hallway with many doors. When we start to get nervous because we do not know where to go, another employee comes over and leads us to our seats. At the end of the evening, we will remember not only the performance, but especially the service. That is why the next time we’ll return to that theater.
Apple is one of the companies that best applies this principle. Buying an Apple product includes the product, the packaging and the customer service at the Apple Store.
Designers who do not take care over the customer experience as much as the design of the product/service they deliver are not only raising questions about their skills as professionals, but they are also giving a halfhearted service.