The aesthetics of a product’s design plays a crucial role in its success. Research shows that aesthetics significantly influence buyers’ first impressions of a product. Long before learning the price of a product, buyers form price expectations based strictly on visual cues provided by extrinsic product attributes and design aesthetics. The visual impression a product makes on a buyer is far from a superficial affair. As this piece will show, companies looking to launch successful products must be aware of the competitive advantage conferred by products that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are functional.

With over 50 years of experience bringing successful products to market, Pivot International delivers leading-edge product design that drives bottom-line results. Pivot’s top design talent and DFM (Design for Manufacture) deploy advanced design applications to elevate product aesthetics and optimize manufacturability to help clients scale. Our extensive portfolio includes a wealth of design-driven, award-winning innovations that span fourteen industries, including medical, industrial, and consumer markets.

Aesthetics: A Brief History

Disciplines like art, philosophy, and psychology have always taken aesthetics seriously and appreciated its profound yet often hidden influence on human perception and value judgments. In the western philosophical tradition, discussions of beauty date back more than 2,000 years. Plato espoused an understanding of aesthetics based on proportion, harmony, and unity. Aristotle articulated a similar view by asserting that beauty rested on the perception of order, symmetry, and definiteness.

In the last century, aesthetics escaped the academy and became permanent bedfellows with the business world with the advent of modern advertising. And in the last several decades, aesthetics has been increasingly studied in relation to product development. Moreover, prominent design leaders and thinkers such as Steve Jobs have done much to make a business case for design. Consequently, in the last decade, more and more companies have recognized how visually pleasing product design can function as a key differentiator and revenue driver.

Why Aesthetics Matter: A Business Perspective

A product with beautiful form can improve awareness of product usability. Especially when the quality of a product cannot be quickly or easily assessed (as is often the case with many medical, industrial, and high-complexity consumer innovations), buyers use a product’s appearance to infer its quality and price. Especially when buyers are unfamiliar with a product or a brand, design aesthetics are an outward marker for evaluating quality and forming price expectations. Savvy companies looking to launch new products know that both aesthetics and price play a crucial role in buyers’ decision-making process. What they often underestimate, however, is how a product’s visual design has the power to bridge the gap between expected cost and actual cost and thus significantly impact sales performance.

What the Latest Research Says

A recent research study titled Effects of Design Aesthetics on the Perceived Value of a Product examined the effects of design aesthetics on participants’ perception of product value. In this strictly controlled laboratory experiment, participants viewed various sets of electronic products. Their brain activity was monitored to measure neural responses that correlate with pleasure, interest, excitement, and other positive emotions. The products they viewed were divided into two categories: high design aesthetics and low design aesthetics. Five significant findings emerged.

1. Products With High Design Aesthetics Attract More Attention

Participants looked significantly longer at the more aesthetically pleasing products and experienced more positive emotions than when encountering products with low design aesthetics.

2. How a Product Looks Significantly Influences Purchase Behavior

Behavioral results revealed that the products with high design aesthetics enjoyed a much higher purchase ratio than their low aesthetic design counterparts.

3. Design Aesthetics Can Make Up for Minor Weaknesses in Product Functionality

Given a choice between two products — one with no functional weakness and one with minor functional weaknesses — participants consistently chose the more aesthetically attractive product.

4. Participants More Quickly Reject Products With Low Design Aesthetics

Participants took a significantly shorter time to move on from products they found aesthetically non-compelling, essentially causing them to dismiss a product out of hand and invest their cognitive resources into more aesthetically pleasing innovations.

5. Buyers Will Accept Higher Costs for Products With High Design Aesthetics

Participants perceived greater value in products with high design aesthetics, whereas participants perceived products with low design aesthetics as not worth their listing price.

Gearing Up to Launch a Successful Product?

It’s not an accident that design aesthetics play such a crucial role in product success. If you’re looking for a proven design, engineering, and manufacturing partner to help you leverage the power of advanced design applications to launch a profitable product, Pivot is the partner you’ve been looking for. Pivot’s collaborative approach to doing business and one-source model ensures a smooth, seamless approach to product launch. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you turn your product vision into a winning reality, contact us today.