Thursday, April 29th, 2004
As requested by Jon Hicks,
I present to you none other than one of my favourite gurus: Edward Tufte. From
his book Envisioning Information
to his latest essay on
Powerpoint, the man has changed my views on (information) design and has
been an inspiration ever since I made my first chart.
Through the magic of bits and bytes I have teleported a younger Edward Tufte
to the twenty-first century! As you can see he is giving a presentation on good
design. Somehow that particular slide looks familiar… Can it be that Tufte
has been notified of the latest
revolution in blogosphere? Has he come to realize that the new generation
is ready to take on the living legends?
So what guru shall I draw next? Mention your favourite in the comments.
Tuesday, April 27th, 2004
So, you would think Sweden is only known for producing extremely safe but dull
cars, such as Saab and Volvo. Now, think again. Christian von Koenigsegg grew
up with the dream of creating the perfect sportscar. After several years of
planning he launched the Koenigsegg project in 1993. Designer David Craaford
provided a design concept following Christian’s guidelines. The vikings
now have a car that is going to make some noise in the supercar scene: the Koenigsegg
Saturday, April 24th, 2004
Friday, April 23rd, 2004
As both an economist and designer I welcomed a report by Design
Council entitled “The
Impact of Design on Stock Market Performance”:
“Design is a critical component of business performance. We’ve
heard designers, commentators and companies say it. But, to date, the evidence
for the link between shareholder return and investment in design has been
scarce and anecdotal.”
While I strongly recommend this report to designers and managers alike I’m
afraid it is going to make more than one economist frown. Design is a critical
component of business performance, no doubt. That said, I have troubles linking
design directly to stock market prices, even after reading this report. Companies
are valued using financial metrics — factual and verifiable (behold the accountants
and controllers do their work correctly and honestly.)
More important than trying to link design to share
prices, is the relation between design and business in general (not specifically
stock market performance). In my opinion better design leads to better products,
and eventually improved business performance. My criticism is directed at their
methodology and the variables used to explain the relation. To use stock market
performance as the basis for business performance is dubious. Moreover, nowadays
share prices are predominantly determined by demand and supply. It is
naïve to assume that share prices actually reflect how a company
is really performing.
I would have preferred to see research based on the link between design and
internal business performance, such as sales, customer satisfaction and brand
experience (i.e. better design leads to % increase in sales.) In my opinion
share prices are too volatile and include too much noise to conclude to anything.
That said, the choice to use stock market performance as a metric is obvious and practical,
being freely and publicly accessible information.
Despite the somewhat flawed methodology, this report is an excellent read and,
in all honesty, I could not agree more with their findings. Design matters!
The general ideas elaborated throughout this report make sense and have been
researched extensively. Design is indeed a critical component of business performance
— I’m just not so sure about stock market performance as a good
and reliable metric.