Main Content

Evidencing the impact of design

Business leaders judging the 2023 DBA Design Effectiveness Awards share their thoughts on evaluating design, along with tips for making the case for design’s effectiveness.

The most persuasive way of communicating the value of design is by measuring its effectiveness.

“The impact of design is often undervalued and /or overlooked, when in fact it can have a transformative effect on the success of a business,” says Paula Quazi, Co-founder of eco-cleaning brand smol. “Finding ways to evaluate and quantify the impact of design is critically important to enable us all to learn how to harness and maximise what is often an under-utilised marketing lever.”

Design can enhance customer service, drive job creation, deliver efficiencies, improve profitability and much more. Companies that excel at design grow revenues and shareholder returns at nearly twice the rate of their industry peers* and yet, according to the Design Council, 32% of businesses still don’t use design**.

“All of business is a bunfight for resource,” reflects eve sleep’s CEO Cheryl Calverley. “We know how vital design and design thinking is to driving growth and business success, because we live and breathe the industry, seeing the impact it makes, day in and day out. But others will not see or feel this,” Calverley adds. “Evidence is key to stand toe-to-toe with the other resource demands in an organisation and ensure the right emphasis is placed on careful, strategic and impactful design.”

“For me, evidencing the value of design is a critical part of our craft,” says Andy Young, Chief Experience Officer at Lloyds Banking Group. “We have to be comfortable finding ways to measure, monitor, assess and evaluate the impact our work is having on the world. We also need to make sure we’re measuring the right things, at the right time.”

“Having evidenced impact is what gets design into the boardroom, and helps it stay there,” says Andreas Roos, Head of Design Strategy at Visa. Something Diageo’s Global Design Director, Jeremy Lindley echoes; “Producing evidence of the impact of design builds confidence in its role and ensures a business knows where to prioritise investment.”

There’s no doubt the value of design is worth shouting about. “Design is often the very reason something is solved or achieved,” says Arup’s Head of Brand and Creative, Nigel Morris. “Without evidence of its impact, it can be overlooked or diminished when it must be recognised and celebrated.”

The DBA Design Effectiveness Awards has been celebrating and championing effective design since 1989. Any type of design in any industry sector can be entered, so long as you have the measured proof that design made a clear and significant contribution to the results achieved by the work.

“Most design awards are judged on aesthetic appeal,” says Lindley, “what sets the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards apart is the focus on business performance. To win an award you need to prove the link between creativity and meeting or exceeding the objectives of the project.”

The awards are not about “the size of budgets or how beautiful the work looks”, highlights Carlsberg’s Global Design Director, Peter Barwick, they’re about “how the role of design plays an integral part in transforming a business”. “It’s a privilege to be a judge for DBA Design Effectiveness Awards and represent Lloyds Banking Group,” adds Young. “I’m looking forward to meeting other judges, but most excited to see some of the great work happening across our industry.”

And what advice would the judges give to entrants?

“Craft a simple, factual but compelling story,” says Morris, who suggests asking “would it be as compelling without images?”

“Identify your objectives clearly, with metrics and strong reasoning as to the commercial imperative,” adds Calverley. “Explain the role of design, and design thinking in meeting those objectives, and be honest about the role investment in other activities and channels has to play in their success. And finally,” she says, “wrap it all up in a bow with a clear definition of how you reached, or indeed exceeded those objectives.” 

“I’m really looking forward to having the opportunity to review the best work in the industry,” finishes Quazi, “and to understand and evaluate with the other judges how it delivered true competitive advantage for the business.”

To put your design work in the frame for a 2023 DBA Design Effectiveness Award download an entry pack today and enter by 5pm GMT on Friday 4 November 2022. The DBA can help support you in choosing the project to enter which stands the best chance of winning. Full details and entry pack are available here.

The Judging Panel: Judges are CEOs and leading figures from design commissioning businesses across industry and have been carefully chosen for their business experience and acumen, as well as their understanding of how design can – and does – create change in business and society. View the full judging panel here.

Image credits: 



We use cookies to help improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you agree to our use of cookies.