Start-ups are always busy. Shipping the product and getting it out into the wild for the market to see and play with is usually a key priority for start-ups. Often, this is why a well designed product, website or app gets compromised for speed to market.  But especially throughout America, there is a growing trend for start-ups that have a strong design background to enjoy faster success. Is this a co-incidence? I think not…

To prove my point that design matters a lot, let’s look at some obvious examples. Firstly, Apple’s Steve Jobs was well known for being addicted to design to the point of insanity. He even studied typography at Reed College at one stage and this love for designed transpired into his products. People love Apple products because they are just as equally beautiful to see, feel and touch as they are to use. In more recent examples, AirBNB’s CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky studied a Bachelor of Fine Arts in industrial design from the Rhode Island School of Design. The mobile app smart journal, Path is also a good example of why good design attracts users. All are well designed and thus loved.

Visually compelling design is a powerful tool in attracting people to come and keep looking. Even if design is not at the core of the product, the layout, spacing, typography still contributes to the user experience.  For a start-up like Dropbox, a cloud storage company, although cloud storage is not very sexy, their products in both website and mobile app are very well thought out. I believe for start-ups that ignore design principles, they do so at their peril.

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Jason Lim

Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.