MetaDesign is an internationally renowned firm creating systemic and forward-looking design systems for corporations and institutions with complex information problems. These systems include identity, interaction, and environmental design.
In the classic case of the cobbler’s children without shoes, MetaDesign was spending its energies assisting clients with their information and communication needs, while overlooking how well it was communicating its own value proposition to prospective clients. In particular, it was doing a poor job communicating the business value of its design services, and how these services can lead to a positive return on investment. Looking to bring a business perspective to the world of branding and design, MetaDesign asked Ed to develop new collateral pieces to more effectively tell its story.
The project consisted of two phases:
- Developing a new set of case studies highlighting the business value proposition of previous MetaDesign projects
- Developing a framework and white paper to articulate the ROI of design in general
For the case studies, Ed interviewed key players both at MetaDesign and at client organizations, operating off an interview guide developed jointly with MetaDesign. Emphasis was placed on the business problem faced by the client and how the project helped solve this problem. In addition, Ed explored quantitative metrics to determine the client’s return on its investment in the project. Ed then developed a series of case studies that are currently showcased on the MetaDesign website, and are available for download from the document library.
For the ROI framework, Ed developed a white paper describing in broad terms the elements by which design can positively impact ROI. He leveraged several of the case studies, inspiring three sample scenarios used to illustrate in detail different aspects of the ROI of design: a corporate identity overhaul, redesign of a website supporting sales and customer service, and upgrades to information design in a periodical.
The case studies are currently found on MetaDesign’s website and are shared with all new prospects. Furthermore, ROI of design is now part of MetaDesign’s standard business development pitch, and has proved to be a strong differentiator in winning new business. In fact, partly on the basis of the new marketing materials and the ROI story, MetaDesign has recently won and is currently in the consideration set for a number of high-profile design projects.