The Voice of Design: Professional Services

How loud is the voice of design in professional services?

Just a decade ago you would be challenged to find a professional service (consulting, accounting, engineering, legal, etc.) firm using any form of design (sorry, a Times New Roman logotype of the five partner names on one line is not thoughtfully designed).

Today, you can find more professional services using thoughtfully designed logos. From consulting firms like Bain to accounting firms like Deloitte and even — dare we say — engineering and law firms like TKDA and Gray Plant Mooty. 

The quality of advice is often the measure of the quality of professional services such as these. But, how does the client know what quality advice is? One, how do you define the quality of advice and two, is it the advice or whether someone is motivated to take the advice?

For the sake of brevity, let's just consider the advice of a law firm. 

Have you ever run into a creative lawyer? Have you ever worked with a law firm that designed their legal documents to be more consumable by their clients? We have run into both a creative lawyer, many actually, and we know of a law firm designing their briefs (sounds like fashionable underwear). 

In our business, we work with a large number of lawyers and have formed some lasting relationships. We have found a few firms who have thoughtfully designed an experience; below is one of our intellectual property friends for whom we designed a blog called: Duets.

The squirrel was written into this design story as a protector of your nuts, a guardian of your most precious assets. This isn't something most law firms would be comfortable projecting. And, for that matter, most law firms are slow to move into social media in general. Stephen Baird has designed an experience unique to his practice and has thoughtfully included the voice of design.

It is a simple equation: the thoughtfulness of the advice is equated and exemplified in thoughtfulness of the designed experience. No client will say as such, except perhaps our design firm and a handful of others. But, what clients will do is judge based on the design of the experience without conscious consideration or articulation.

The voice of design is alive and growing inside professional services where a person-to-person experience is suited to design thinking. If your professional advisor seems to look, feel and express like all the others, maybe you should reconsider the advice.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal



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