Breaking from a Brand: Google vs Apple


We all have our favorites. They suck us in with bright, shiny new products and we fall for them.

Some of my absolute favorites are

  • Apple
  • Free People
  • Will Leather
  • Prismacolor (I do art in my free time)

Switching from these choices to other options doesn’t come easily. So what makes me, and people like me switch?

That’s what I want to explore today. Through the case of the new Google Pixel and the classic Apple iPhone, here are my two features that can poach any unsuspecting shopper, and my best tip for keeping them loyal.

Embed from Getty Images



Technology can be a very useful tool in poaching customers, especially if it’s technology customers use every day. Vlad Savov at Circuit Breaker writes, “It was the Pixel’s camera that nudged me into using it as my daily phone over the iPhone 7,” and this is probably true for most people switching to Google’s new phone.

Cameras not only take pictures, they document memories, and that is the key. By taking something that directly affects customers emotions and making it better, the Pixel comes out ahead.


Who doesn’t want to make their life easier?

The more convenient a product is the more people will buy it.

If you’re anything like me, you use Google for a lot. Email, Calendar, and Drive are all part of my daily routine and if the Pixel makes using these together easier, I will probably buy it.

Anything that makes people’s lives easier is a selling point. Google already knows this from the vast array of apps they’ve designed for that very purpose. Because it’s recognized for convenience already, people are more likely to give the phone a closer look.

Embed from Getty Images


Now, how do you save those customers from the jaws of your competition?

Keep it easy. 

Customer’s love what they know.

It is always easier to stick with the technology that you’ve learned to let control your life. Oftentimes, people won’t even begin looking for an alternative unless some big change has occurred to the product they are used to.

Apple is a prime example of this. The reason the iPhone has been the go to phone for so long is because it doesn’t change.

The technology is easy to grasp and most of the changes from generation to generation involve enhancing software without changing the initial design.

Embed from Getty Images


That changed a bit with the iPhone 7. The new iPhone has no earphone jack (The main reason I won’t buy it) and though it has great new features such as water resistance, Apple will lose customers based on this one small design change.

Keep it easy.

I will reiterate this point again. The more work your customer has to do, even if it’s just buying bluetooth headphones, the less likely they are to remain loyal.


Embed from Getty Images


Cover photo courtesy of


Design on Display: My thoughts on this years Senior Show

Every year, as senior product designers begin to make their final designs before graduation, I am amazed at the innovation and technology that our future holds.

This year was no different.

Though small, the senior showcase for product design, on the University of Oregon campus, did not disappoint.


Perhaps my favorite piece of the night, these hanging planters show the forward thinking that the next few years will bring.

They bring the green element.

Green, sustainable design must be at the root of all new products coming on the market. I say this for a few reasons.

First, with the looming threat of climate change, the US government is facing increasing pressure to regulate sustainability among businesses.

Second, consumers are much more aware and wary of the chemicals that go into manufacturing the products they consume.

Third, green design is simply cooler. It brings you closer to the environment, the process of manufacturing and it’s a product you can feel good about owning.

What’s better than that?


A close second to the planters is this backpack. I really wanted it.

The design is simple yet sharp, and though the lines are clean, you can still make out the small details that tell you this is a handmade product.


The last products of the night that I wanted to feature were these meal trays. Though they may not look like much, these trays represent a real world application of the future of design.

Beautiful while compact, these product designers were able to make something as boring and monotonous as an airline meal tray into something displaying culture, refinement and effort.

Product designers are people we don’t think about often. However, these professionals create the concepts for products we take for granted everyday. They may not be as sexy as a fashion designer but, they shape our lives in more ways than we can imagine.

Therefore, I believe its important to take a break every once in a while, and consider the young professionals who will shape our entire lives.

Cover image courtesy of

What is BusinessDesigned?

“It is not enough that we build products that function, that are understandable and usable, we also need to build products that bring joy and excitement, pleasure and fun, and, yes, beauty to people’s lives.”  

–Don Norman

Embed from Getty Images

How many times have you walked down a street, and found yourself stopping at a shop window, marveling at the beautiful display of items designed to draw you in? For me, the times are countless. I am a complete sucker for good design. Whether it is simple, intricate, minimalist or all-encompassing, good design should and will stop you in your tracks.

Now, you have entered the store. Once again, you stop. You take in the objects around you. Have they been mass-produced? Are they from local designers? Where are they made and for what reason? What is the difference between a designer handbag and one made from a small studio in someone’s backyard?

This blog is designed to answer those questions. To explore what makes design good or not so good. To try to get at the root of what makes someone walk into a shop and decide to buy something.

This blog is also about understanding the ethics and business practices that come along with all things designed. What makes a shop owner deal in locally sourced products or buy from local designers over mass-produced designer brands? Is one way better than the other? What are the implications of buying from companies with questionable labor practices or that use unsafe chemicals in their products?

I think these are questions worth looking into. Over the next few months, I will be exploring topics related to design, ethics, and practices of both creators and businesses. Each week, this blog will research why the design of a business, and the designed products businesses sell, matter.

Cover photo courtesy of


Why Fonts Matter

Every time I see the sign for Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon I feel joy. Not only is it one of my absolute favorite places to go today, it also reminds me of when I was a child. I grew up in the 90s when going to bookstores was common and ebooks didn’t exist yet. Today that isn’t so normal. However, Powell’s lives on.

But this post is about font.

The font used of Powell’s sign tell us a lot about the business. It tells us Powell’s has been around for a while, 45 years to be exact, and that they view themselves simply. The font chosen is one that relays information but, doesn’t overwhelm the reader with gimmicks, because they don’t need gimmicks, they’re established. The use of a subhead gives them a movie like feel, warm, inviting and nostalgic.

All of this from one sign.

Font is important, for several reasons. Font tells your customers who you are and what you value. They can take you back to a certain time period in your life or in history. They can can manipulate emotion and they are a visual reminder of your organization, for better or worse.


Photo courtesy of

According to Ellie Martin, co-founder of Startup Change group, “Typeface, color, weight and point size are not just aesthetic factors. They make deep-seated psychological impressions on how people read, comprehend and judge your content.”

A great example of this comes from Google. Not only is it one of the most trusted brands today, it is also one of the most recognizable.

Embed from Getty Images


A large reason for this comes from its typeface. Not only does Google use the same font for all its products, it also uses the same color, thickness and spacing.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images


Google doesn’t just do this for their products. They also use these guidelines for any presentations made about the company.

Embed from Getty Images


In return for this consistency, users trust Google. According to Google controls 75 percent of the market share for all searches and performs on average 100 billion searches a month.

Font matters. Trust me.


Cover photo courtesy of


Five Display Tips to Skyrocket your Curb Appeal

How many times have you woken up in the morning, crawled out of bed, put on a pair of leggings, and thought, “this is good enough right?” We’ve all been there. We get tired, we get burned out and we get sloppy.

Businesses are no different. When employees and management get stressed they often start forgetting the little things. One of these things is window displays.

Window displays are one of the most important, and most overlooked opportunities to gain new customers for brick and mortar businesses. However, just like you love your leggings, businesses love going for the same, slightly boring, safe window displays.

So here are five tips to stop simply showing new merchandise, and start seriously impressing those window shoppers.

1. Don’t be afraid to mix it up 

Embed from Getty Images


Can I just say how much I love this image. Not only is it fun, creative and beautiful, it brings two of my favorite vices together, shoes and wine. Would you stop at this window? I would.

Can you think of a better combination than a gorgeous pair of shoes paired with a perfect wine?

That’s why this display works, it not only shows off the merchandise but sells the experience of owning those shoes.

When creating a display, try to think of the experience you want your buyer to have when using that product. If there’s something that goes along with that experience don’t be afraid to put it in your display, not only does it make you different, it makes your products more enticing too.

2. Redesign something simple into something essential 

Embed from Getty Images


How many times have you heard the saying “show, don’t tell?” It’s not only good advice for your personal life, but also for your business. No matter how simple an object is, it has the potential to be an valuable part of any good display.

The picture above is a perfect example of that. What is more simple and overlooked than a mannequin? However, in this context the mannequins are the main focal point of the display; they are showing, not telling.

Every part of your display should be essential to its success. Otherwise, it is a placeholder, and placeholders don’t sell products.

3. Don’t be afraid to be cliche

Embed from Getty Images



Growing up, I was told to avoid cliches like the plague, but as I got older I realized, as with most things, it’s all about moderation.

One of the cliches that I choose to embrace is the seasonal display. Sure, it’s overdone, but who doesn’t love the holidays?

Just like everything else, make it original, and make it unique to your brand.

4. Make your sign POP

Embed from Getty Images


Nothing screams your brand more than your name. Think of Coco Chanel,  Kate Spade, and Marc Jacobs. Name recognition pulls the consumer in, opens up new markets, and establishes your company among the top. Your logo should reflect that.

Not only does your logo need to stand out, so does its placement. Where your sign is, and how it’s designed can be the deciding factor between having a customer walk in, or walk away.

Get creative, use a great font, and make it pop.

5. Be fearless in the face of color 

Embed from Getty Images


One of the easiest and most obvious ways to make a display stand out, is through color. Color draws the eye, elicits emotion, and has the ability to personalize any product.

Elle and Company put it best saying, “Design is all about first impressions, and one of the most important factors of any design is color. Color choices, pairings, and usage can affect how someone perceives a billboard, a website, or a box of cereal.”

Of course there are many palettes to choose from, but don’t be afraid to take a risk either. Rather than staying safe, try using colors that clash every once in a while. Or if that’s too nerve racking, enlist an accent color to help your display stand out.

As long as it’s not beige.



Cover photo courtesy of

Designs for Dignity: Making a difference through creative space

When we think of nonprofits we generally think of helping cancer patients or disaster relief funds. We often fail to grasp the millions of causes that people dedicate themselves to every day.

Because this blog is centered around design, I wanted to feature a group whose mission is providing highly creating environments for nonprofits. Designs for Dignity is dedicated to helping nonprofits build empowering spaces through pro bono design services. They believe that in order to do your best work, you need a space that encourages the “wellness of the human spirit.”


With the help of donated time from architects, contractors, interior designers, landscapers, and other industry professionals, Designs for Dignity turns dreary rooms into spaces where professionals strive: no matter what the cause.

Designs for Dignity is founded on the notion that nonprofits dedicate everything they’ve got to their cause. If you have ever worked for a nonprofit, you know that to be true. With most of the funding being allocated to their work, the space in which they do that work often becomes overlooked. That’s where Designs for Dignity comes in. With funding from grants, events and donors, Designs for Dignity create new spaces for that nonprofits that need them.


The designs themselves are not just for the employees. They are also for the clients that those nonprofits serve. If the nonprofit helps children with disabilities, Designs for Dignity focuses on making spaces accessible and comfortable. If the organization is working to get animals adopted, then Designs for Dignity helps facilitate relationships through spaces where animals and potential owners can bond.


Designs for Dignity is one of many nonprofits making a difference in an unconventional way. Regardless of the cause, all nonprofits need support, funding, and resources that only others can provide. Can you think of a nonprofit in your community that could use Designs for Dignity’s services? Comment your answers below.


All images courtesy of


Local vs Large-Scale: What does it say about you?

Local vs large-scale. That can mean a lot of things. It can be referring to the size or outreach of you business, it can mean your personal preference, but in this context, I am referring to the products a business carries.

Making the choice between carrying local products or mass produced products can say a lot about your business. Actually, it can be a large factor in how your customers and your community view you. There is no right or wrong when deciding what you will stock, but it is important to consider the different implications associated with either option.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images


Lets start with local. Carrying locally made products can be beneficial in a variety of ways. First, it tells the community you support them, and creates a closer connection with your customer base.

Second, it allows you to build more intimate relationships with your suppliers. Having one person to talk to when ordering a product is a lot more personal than calling a large dealer service department.

Lastly, you are more likely to carry better-made products. Local products are often handcrafted, making them unique and better quality than those of their larger competitors.

Embed from Getty Images


That’s not to say that there aren’t advantages to having large-scale products in your store too. When buying from larger companies, you are given more products to choose from, and more options for those products.

When working with a larger supplier, you are able to order more items from those suppliers. This saves you time and resources spent having to locate many different suppliers for many different things.

This also saves you time when deciding when you want those products to arrive or if you need to quickly reorder a bestseller.

Lastly, when working with a large company, you often have name recognition that can help advertise your product and build trust with your customers. When a customer recognizes something from a brand they already own, they are more likely to buy it.

Embed from Getty Images


Regardless of what you choose, the main goal is to carry well-made products that sell, and that keep your unique customer base coming back fro more.

Embed from Getty Images


Cover image courtesy of