How Do You Measure the Success of a Design?

How Do You Measure the Success of a Design?

In the visually-driven world of design, measuring success is as much an art as it is a science. We've gathered insights from eight top visual creatives, including senior graphic designers and creative directors, to explore effective metrics. From evaluating design impact and engagement to analyzing Pinterest metrics for audience reach, these professionals share their proven strategies for gauging design success.

  • Evaluate Design Impact and Engagement
  • Benchmark Creative Output and Client Satisfaction
  • Track Repeat Web Page Visitors
  • Use Sacred Geometry and Focus Groups
  • Assess Conversion Rates for User Engagement
  • Inspire New Ideas and Measure UI Intuition
  • Gauge Emotional Responses and Sales Success
  • Analyze Pinterest Metrics for Audience Reach

Evaluate Design Impact and Engagement

As a visual creative, I believe that design success isn't just about how pretty something looks. It's really about whether the design does its job. Does it help the brand get noticed more? Does it get people to take action? Does it make them feel something?

Personally, I'm all about making sure the design really speaks to the people it's meant for. I love digging into feedback—both the details from surveys and focus groups, and the bigger-picture stuff like social media buzz and clicks.

For instance, we recently worked with a local artisan shop on their branding. We created a look that really captured their unique vibe and products. The result? People started recognizing them more, and customers became even more loyal. That's the kind of success I'm talking about!

It's all about taking a well-rounded approach, looking at both the hard data and the human side of things. This way, we can keep improving and making sure our designs not only look amazing but also hit the mark every time.

Ihor Kirpichnikov
Ihor KirpichnikovSenior Graphic Designer,

Benchmark Creative Output and Client Satisfaction

It's hard to label certain creative output as successful—but there are definitely ways to benchmark work and give value to the output.

One way is to ask, "Has this work answered the brief?" If the brief is well-written, has a list of deliverables and goals for the creative, and you believe you've hit them, then in that sense, the job is a success. Is the client happy? Did it meet the deadline? Did you go above and beyond to deliver the project to the best of your abilities? If so, then this can be seen as a success.

Another way to look at it is: how did people react to the work? Both from the client's side and, if relevant, the customer's side. Were they surprised? Intrigued? Happy? Did it inspire them to interact? These are all things that tie back to the success of the job. In all instances, it's important to go back to the brief and look at the objectives.

We recently had a brief from a brewery who wanted to create their most successful beer. We developed a brand identity for the lager that was above and beyond what they were expecting—not just a word mark, but a full suite of assets that helped give the beer its own independent look, which could be used across print, digital, and motion. After launching the beer across all their sites and promoting it online through their social channels, the beer quickly became their best-selling in the range. From our side, we see this as a huge success. It's not often you can say a piece of design actually led to selling more product—but in this case, it did. "Becoming the best-selling beer" was an objective in the brief, and we delivered.

James Sanderson
James SandersonCreative Director, EverydaySomething

Track Repeat Web Page Visitors

Success in design is like a well-cooked meal: if people keep coming back for seconds, you know you've nailed it! One metric my team and I find extremely helpful is the Google Analytics function that identifies repeat visitors to a webpage. While it's a great idea to pay attention to this metric regardless of website changes, it's especially important to monitor it when you've newly redesigned a website.

For one of our clients, we transformed their outdated, cluttered website—which looked like it was straight out of the early 2000s—by completely redesigning it and rewriting all the copy. After launching their revamped site, the number of repeat visitors and the time spent on each page skyrocketed! Seeing the enthusiastic response from viewers was incredibly rewarding. We were thrilled to help them engage prospects and customers more effectively. So, bon appétit!

Annie Vann
Annie VannCreative Director, Parklife

Use Sacred Geometry and Focus Groups

To measure the success of a design, two effective approaches are using sacred geometry and conducting anonymous focus-group testing.

Firstly, sacred geometry incorporates natural patterns and proportions that resonate with human psychology on a subconscious level, creating balance and aesthetic pleasure. For example, using the Fibonacci sequence or the golden ratio can enhance a design's visual impact.

Secondly, anonymous focus-group testing involves showing multiple design mock-ups to participants and asking them to select the first design that catches their eye. This method gathers unbiased feedback and identifies the most attention-grabbing design, ensuring it resonates with the target audience.

Combining these approaches creates visually appealing, psychologically resonant designs backed by empirical data on audience preferences.

Michael Anthony
Michael AnthonyCreative Director, Goodson Gallery

Assess Conversion Rates for User Engagement

At Innovate, we measure a design's success by evaluating both qualitative and quantitative metrics. Key indicators include user engagement, conversion rates, and client satisfaction. One successful metric we've used is the conversion rate, which measures the percentage of visitors who take a desired action, such as filling out a contact form or making a purchase, after interacting with our design.

For example, while redesigning an e-commerce website, we focused on improving the user interface and user experience. After implementing the new design, we tracked the conversion rate and saw a significant increase from 2% to 5%. This metric demonstrated that the new design effectively guided users through the purchasing process, resulting in higher sales and validating the success of our design decisions.

Daniel Bunn
Daniel BunnManaging Director, Innovate Agency

Inspire New Ideas and Measure UI Intuition

When your art inspires new ideas, as opposed to merely being derivative, you have reached a summit of creativity in that domain. The more successful a design, the more it acts like a mirror of the viewer's inner world. Successful marketing inspires the target audience to ask themselves, "How does this apply to me?" Successful storytelling inspires new stories. Successful fine art acts as a lens that inspires people to see the world differently. Good art stimulates; great art inspires. Bad art is more likely to follow trends than set them. Great art has a coherent identity or purpose (even if it takes time to emerge).

For example, a successful user interface (UI) is one that quickly becomes intuitive, aligning functionality with intention. After redesigning a website's UI, success can be measured by increased session duration and decreased bounce rates. The "rule of cool" is useful only in certain circumstances—intention ought to be the primary driver.

A successful design inspires new thinking, embedding itself in the observer.

Adam Elliott Rush
Adam Elliott RushCreative Director, SCIQI

Gauge Emotional Responses and Sales Success

Firstly, you have to have confidence in your designs. Know that you are creating the best version of what it is you're tasked to create. Be self-critical and always strive to do better.

With that said, "success" is relative. In a commercial venture, having your creation sell is a clear indication of its success. In the cases of installation art or even music, success is achieved by eliciting an emotional response.

Andrew Payne
Andrew PayneFounder & Creative Director, General Knot & Co.

Analyze Pinterest Metrics for Audience Reach

I measure the success of a design through one of my favorite search engines: Pinterest. Pinterest has amazing metrics in their business dashboard to show various engagement measurements. Impressions show me that somehow they're being shown to an audience, whether my followers or new audiences. Saves mean they found value or inspiration in some way, and outbound clicks mean that if I included a call-to-action (CTA), it might have been strong, or they were so curious they wanted to see the context of this design within my blog post!

Kira Violet
Kira VioletContent Creator, Musician, Violet Gaze

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