How Design Makes Products Sell        

Why Design Sells: Transforming Products from Ordinary to Luxury

March 7, 2024

How much is good design worth? 

Strategic design decisions are powerful enough to transform perceptions of brand value and quality. Fine visual cues signal prestige and persuade customers to pay premium prices (even for functionally similar products). Thoughtful branding and design elevate user expectations by solving frustrations through precision engineering. And aligning stylistic elements with customer values cements higher status tiers by eliciting powerful emotional connections. 

A company’s visual identity impacts much more than aesthetics alone; it tangibly signals what it stands for. Read on to explore how everyday design choices build a product’s value by categorically shifting buyer perceptions. As a result, strategic design decisions play a pivotal role in solidifying higher status tiers within the market landscape.

Branding Sets First Impressions

A company’s visual identity shapes consumer perceptions. Logos, fonts, colors, and other design elements form a consistent brand image over time and associate said imagery with a brand’s unique values. Leaning into a visual identity and the power of design signals what a company provides and the principles it holds.

Well-considered brand elements make or break the perception of luxury.

Consistent, intentional design allows brands to signal luxury, integrity, and authority. Household names utilize iconic, recognizable branding so consumers know what to expect from their products. Overhauls to these critical identifiers can reposition brands to compete at high-end levels.

Take for example Kia’s remarkable brand transformation over recent years. Previously positioned as an affordable, budget-friendly automobile manufacturer, Kia Motors invested in efforts to radically elevate brand perceptions and better compete with luxury rivals.

Kia’s logo upgrade improved its sellability in the US market.

Central to this identity overhaul was a complete logo redesign. The new minimalist logo elicits sensations of contemporariness and poise. Paired with a shift towards performance-focused advertising, Kia set the stage to fundamentally rewrite public expectations.

Additionally, recent vehicle releases embrace more aerodynamic exterior styling to clearly segment economy models from premium designs. Nappa leather trims, ambient interior lighting, and real metal accents further upgrade interiors to rival those of Mercedes and Audi.

While functionality remains the same, Kia’s new aerodynamic bodies look more luxurious.

Through this meticulously engineered identity shift, Kia successfully charges premium prices aligned with technical precision and high-quality manufacturing that far surpasses those of an economy brand. Customers readily equate design sophistication with durability and performance—key factors when making purchase decisions. Thus, by investing in a world-class design overhaul, Kia expanded its market share and realized immense sales growth in the US.

Functional Design Elevates Worth

Design choices that address customer pain points, like optimized layouts and functionality, massively boost a product’s sellability. Carefully considered design creates a streamlined, convenient product that lends to an ideal workflow and overall functionality.

Added and improved functional elements signal skilled craftsmanship.

Consumers perceive this tailoring of form to function as signaling engineering prowess and excellent material quality. Products optimized through design for flawless performance command higher prices from users valuing quality experiences.

Clever solutions that fix frustrations or meaningfully improve upon standard functions also add buyer value. Very similar products can demand vastly different pricing when one is set apart via better, more thoughtful functional elements.

A prime illustration can be found in luxury kitchen appliances. Brands like Sub-Zero Wolf can easily demand 3-5 times competitor prices within the wider home appliance industry. Despite similar core functionality (refrigerating food), what accounts for such astounding price gaps?

Sub-Zero Wolf’s products have premium pricing due to their space optimization and organization features.

The answer lies in clever functional design advancements built into aesthetics. Wolf’s refrigerators command top-shelf prices because their precisely engineered storage capacity delivers immense daily value. Adjustable glass shelving customizes shelves and compartments for all kitchen needs. By intimately understanding and adapting to user needs within meal preparation workflows, Wolf’s products alleviate frustrations and establish a premium brand that sells.

Essentially, when practical utility melds with beautiful aesthetics, buyers happily fork over much higher sums. They assign a monetary value to superior functionality and purposeful precision built to fit their lifestyles.

Aligning Brand Values Attract Premiums

Design choices that reflect user identity or values build further perceived value through emotional connections. Sustainability, status, or innovation philosophies signal shared principles with consumers. Products better aligned with the audience’s self-image or consumer aspirations command higher premiums.

Customers are willing to pay more for a brand driven by values that align with theirs.

These brand values should not only be communicated through product function and marketing but also through optics. As an example, color palettes and font choices with green, eco-friendly cues denote environmental values. Similarly, sleek or opulent styles signal luxury and status affiliations. Users are willing to pay more for products flexing subtle design details that resonate with their lifestyle and beliefs through association.

Consider for example the rise of battery-powered outdoor tools. While tools with gas motors remain more economical and practical for intensive commercial use, brands like EGO Power+ built a following catering to sustainably-minded outdoor aficionados with their battery-powered chainsaw.

EGO’s chainsaws use unconventional colors that convey their eco-friendly mission.

Beyond performance metrics equivalent to their gas-powered counterparts, EGO’s loyal customer base flocks to the distinctive green accents that symbolically tie into their eco-conscious sensibilities. These visuals create unity among products and create a brand identity that aligns with green values, further cementing the brand loyalty of like-minded customers. Therefore, brands seeking a premium price for a product that denotes social consciousness should ensure that the visual design aligns with the selling point.

Building Value Through Intentional Design

Great design builds tremendous value. Subtle visual cues shaped over time have the power to fundamentally transform and enhance consumer perceptions of brands. When thoughtful design choices creatively reflect a company’s core values and aspirations, public views of associated quality and integrity shift.

Experts have the knowledge and skills to craft designs that warrant premium prices.

Design that is ingenious and practical hails significant pricing compensations because it directly solves user frustrations. And shared principles woven into aesthetic details forge powerful emotional connections with buyers. Whether through inventive problem-solving, aspirational styling, or philosophies converted into precise visual details, strategic design choices signal brands to higher tiers. Making intentional design decisions categorically elevates products from ordinary to luxury.

Ready to explore how you can transform your product designs to command higher pricing? Our strategic design experts at Beyond Design have elevated countless brands by solving pain points and forging emotional connections with users through innovative product design.

Call 773-290-1797 or email us at to discuss tailored approaches for your business.

Up Down