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Design: a lasting legacy

We love to celebrate great design and its legacy here at the DBA, and the Design Effectiveness Awards ceremony is certainly that – a cracking night of champagne and trophies, and a roll call of inspiring designers and clients who together have collaborated on designs that have had a tangible and measurable impact on business success.

But the success of those design projects doesn’t stop as the champagne corks pop.

The work that agencies and their clients created so successfully together often becomes the foundation for future growth and opportunities, with the impact felt for years ahead.

Flying high

Take Acro Aircraft Seating for example and their Superlight seat by Factorydesign. Legacy

Start-up company, Acro recognised the need for creative input from the start: to turn manufacturing constraints into positives and to provide the differentiation that is vital in the airline world. The resulting seat designed by Factorydesign was the lightest in its class, provided real fuel savings to airlines, more comfort for passengers and a significant environmental advantage because of the reshoring of their manufacturing into the UK.

A decade on from their inception and five years since they won a DBA Design Effectiveness Award, Acro’s success is unquestionable. They’ve grown by over 100% year on year for the last four years, to take seventh place in the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 league table, which recognises Britain’s private companies with the fastest growing sales.

It was a fabulously effective piece of design and one that cemented the business’ long-term strategy. “Our new Series 6 and Premium Economy seats embrace the same approach as well as our philosophy of comfortable, robust, maintainable and lightweight seats”, says Acro’s Chief Executive, Chris Brady.   

Of Acro’s success, Brady adds “it’s impossible to under-estimate the importance of the contribution design has made.”

Changing lives

LegacyThe long-term impact of design is not always financial. Design also has the power to change people’s lives and positively impact on society. Mental health services online hub, MindMate launched in October 2015 and through its uniquely agile and user-centric design, has helped transform support for thousands of young people with complex issues. It has become the ‘trusted friend’ young people turn to.

Having landed a DBA Design Effectiveness Award for smashing targets and inspiring a sector, a more recent snapshot from the last three months (February to April 2017) shows that MindMate is helping more young people than ever.

Users are up 56% on the same period last year and they’re coming back for more, with sessions up 41% too. Given the nature of the service, it’s particularly impressive to see that visitors aren’t just dipping into the site – MindMate deals with the moLegacyst extreme sensitivities in a way that relates rather than patronises and young people are genuinely finding the content relevant and useful.

At a time when a sweeping mental health crisis is reported amongst young people, Thompson Brand Partner’s and NHS Leeds South & East Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) MindMate really is leading the way, with other NHS CCG’s now using it as a ‘best practice’ example to create similar services in other regions.

With the latest ‘What Clients Think Report’ finding that 88% of clients expect the business environment to be tougher this year than last year, it’s more important than ever to be able to convince on the commercial impact your design work can wield..

The DBA’s CEO Deborah Dawton sums it up: “There’s been an explosion in the desire to measure and evaluate, and a creative positioning alone is no longer enough. Brands need great creativity and design effectiveness.”

It’s not too late to start your Design Effectiveness Awards submissions to enter by the deadline on 30 June. A win will provide irrefutable evidence that your design work delivers results. It will prove to clients why they should invest in design – in your design – to help drive growth for their business over the long term.

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Call for entries

Everything you need to support your entry for the 2018 Design Effectiveness Awards can be found in this downloadable entry pack. Read the pack and submit your entry before the deadline: 5pm GMT, 30 June 2017.