When I was a child, there’s one moment I remember distinctly of how design, specifically packaging design, inspired me to buy. I was toddling by my Mother’s side in the supermarket and turned the corner down the cereal aisle. Rows upon rows of sugary delights – welcoming me with the faces of Captain Crunch, Count Chocula and Mr. T. It was one of the only times I was given free rein to buy what I wanted, and the lure of a sugar laden breakfast was strong. Little did I know that the characters, the promotions, and where they sat on the shelf were all designed by people like us to push more product.

While my example is elementary, both in concept and in content, it illustrates the concept of designing desire. It’s something we all practice, but very few master.

When was the first time, consciously or not, you were tempted to buy based on how something was designed? Many things are very thoughtfully designed, and the best design is completely transparent.

“Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.” – Joe Scarano

Desire in itself is a simple thing. Desire is a feeling triggered by a need. A need is triggered by a gap. We, as designers, should ask ourselves constantly – why does someone need this? If that’s not easy for you to answer, it’s going to be tough to convince someone that your product is desirable.

So, how do we design more desirable things?

Solve real problems. Get intimate with your customers. Understand their problems. Great products are made great because they have a sense of purpose and solve real problems.

Define what quality means. As an internal mantra, everyone that touches your product should live and die by a set of prioritized standards.

Design less features. Don’t add superfluous features as a means to differentiate. It’s better to design a solid core product and add features only when people ask for more.

Understand the true value of the product. Be sure the original problem is solved, and be crisp and clear about why someone should buy your product. If you make a quality product that solves a problem, then the product should sell itself.

Infuse your brand, especially in the small details. Articulating your brand in small details will help reinforce what your brand means to your audience.

Gregory Pepin
Creative Director, User Experience Design at Fidelity Investments
Boston xCHANGE – Keynote Speaker