A Designer’s Three Opportunities for Impact

Hi, I am Kelly from Knack, where we help mobility brands make their products irresistible.

I want you to think back to the last time a new pair of shoes caught your eye. Something tells me they weren’t the same pair that were already on your feet. Instead, they might have had a fresh new look. They could’ve had self-tying laces that promised you a tailor-fit. Or, they could’ve been a whole different type of shoe altogether. Maybe they were a waterproof work boot that deemed your old sneakers obsolete.

In today’s noisy markets, products have to first get noticed in order to be desired. They do so by doing something different from their competitors. There are three factors that differentiate and then drive desire for products: purpose, experience, and aesthetic.

Since our job as designers is to create desire to ultimately drive demand for a product, these three factors are our opportunities for impact.

Pain-Relieving Purpose

By solving a meaningful problem that no other product does or solving an existing problem better, a product will naturally attract people who are experiencing that problem. Conversely, if a product doesn’t solve a new problem or offer a better solution, it gets buried in a sea of similar offerings.

At the start of your next design project, ask yourself, “Will this product provide relief to a meaningful problem that no other product does?” If your answer is no, dive deeper into understanding your customer to get to the heart of what they really need.

Delightful Experience

When a product works better and delivers a more seamless experience than any other product, it rises to the top. The ideal scenario would be to have a product deliver a delightful user experience.

Thoroughly walk through the user’s journey and observe real users interacting with the product you’re designing. What hurdles do they face? What issues become apparent as they use your product? Work to resolve every point of friction and then go one step further to incorporate interactions that will delight them.

Enticing Aesthetic

This one is a little more obvious since designers are usually pegged for their contribution to aesthetics. However, how a product looks and feels can play two significant roles. One, it can grab attention. Two, it can resonate with the user.

When establishing the aesthetic of your next product design, make sure that you choose the aesthetic that is both attention-getting AND compelling to the user. Your product’s aesthetic should connect with the user on an emotional level and to do so, you need to understand your user on an emotional level.

Which of these three factors are you focusing your design efforts on? Are you able to contribute to more than just one? An irresistible product requires all three.


Kelly Custer is the Founder + Design Director of Knack

Pairing her transportation design education from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan with over 8 years of design consulting experience in consumer products, Kelly has built a strong passion for mobility. She founded Knack in 2014 and leads the studio to deliver irresistible simple mobility products.

When she’s not in the studio, she can be found on a mountain bike trail, trying to keep up with her husband on her dirt bike, or exploring the Tennessee river on their vintage stand-up jet skis.

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