Distinguished by Design

In today's competitive market, companies that embrace design as a core part of their strategy will not only survive but thrive.

In recent years, I am noticing a significant change in how products are conceived, designed, and marketed. This shift is mostly because consumers today prioritize not just the functionality of a product but its aesthetics and user experience as well.

Design can be a biggest differentiator for your product from the rest. Consumer products has taken a leap of design in recent time. They are well crafted from day zero.

But what brought this change? Or let me be fancy and say "what brought this paradigm shift?"

The Role of Competition

In this crowded space, having a unique design is a powerful way to stand out. It's not just about the product anymore; it's about creating an identity. And when we say that, the first few products comes to my mind are Linear, Airbnb, CRED, and Swiggy.

You might argue that they are established startups with millions in bank and that's why they are like that. Then you are wrong. They are like that from day zero. Linear's foundational culture itself is based on design. They recently did a redesign and you must read about it. Here's the Part-I and Part-II.

Consumer Expectations

There is a big change in the way consumers perceive and adopt a new product in the market. And trust me, design plays a vital role in it.

The products we use today are no longer mere tools or commodities; they are expressions of lifestyle and identity.

Most of us seek products that not only solves a problem but also resonate with our personal values and aesthetic preferences.

In the world of Google Docs and MS Word, we have Notion. Chrome and Firefox, then we've Arc. This is not a comparison, but we choose products to express our lifestyle and identity!

Consumers became more aesthete. This has led to a consumer market that values design as an integral part of the product experience.

Form vs Function

You must have heard a term "form follows function" multiple times.

In a saturated market, products that stand out due to unique or innovative forms can attract more attention and interest, regardless of their functional similarities with competitors.

My point is form and function both are equally important. But in a competitive market you can create a differentiation by form!

Products I Admire

Here are some of my favorite very well designed and well crafted products. Some of them I use everyday.

  • Folk App — It's a personal CRM.
  • Attio — It's a personal CRM too. I am contemplating between this and Folk
  • Todoist — As name suggests, it's a todo app. In the market for really long time.
  • Superlist — It's a todo app but a lot simpler. But I use it for todo & taking notes.
  • My Mind — Who would have imagined that bookmarking apps could be this cool.
  • Oku.club — It's a Readwise alternative to track your book reading.
  • Atoms — This is a habit tracker app by none other than James Clear.

Please do add your favorite ones in the comments section below 👇.

The elevation of design in product development reflects a broader trend towards a more aesthetic, user-centered approach to consumer products. It's a recognition that design is not just about how it looks but about creating a connection, conveying a message, and improving user's life.

As we move forward, the role of design in differentiating products and brands will only grow. In today's competitive market, companies that embrace design as a core function of their strategy will not only survive but thrive.

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