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Your Design Strategy

Apple_Design_StrategyWhat is the role of design in your organisation? Is it an after-thought or the core driver of your success? Here we consider design strategy and the three building blocks for using it to make a difference.

Design Strategy

A key Apple strategy is not to focus on market share. Instead, they focus on margins – profit per item sold. And, their premium design process drives this premium market position. Whilst most companies slice design to fit costs, at Apple the design of the product takes priority.

Great design puts the user at the centre. It’s not about showcasing your engineering capability, it’s about satisfying the customer. And, nothing lives in isolation. Every end user touch point is considered to create a complete customer experience.

In contrast to others, the Apple product line is limited. There’s only two iPads, one current iPhone and three computer types. This hyper-focus favours higher quality design.

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Design Strategy Building Blocks

  1. BeautyApple products appeal through a consistent design language. Their edges are typically thin, the metal and glass are a tactile pleasure and they’re streamlined, pure and refined.
  2. Ingenuity – Consistently Apple leads the way with clever products that are designed for everyday people, eg. The icons and touchscreens on iPhones and iPads.
  3. Charisma – Charisma reflects emotional engagement. And, there’s a distinct personality and mystique about Apple. They’re widely admired for consistent superb products and they’re highly secretive.

Design Strategy Actions

  • How important is design in your organisation?
  • How clear and consistent is your design expression?
  • Are your products emotionally engaging?
  • What is the quality of all our customer touch points?
  • Are your products a thing of beauty?
  • How well do they meet customer needs?


This is an extract from the Book Rapper issue Apple D: How to be the Apple of Your Industry. It’s derived from John Edson’s book Design Like Apple.


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