Day #16 – Efficient Design #Backers101

Efficient design ー how to reduce costs in your design without reducing quality, social or environmental responsibility

Objective: You will learn how to analyse your business designs to reduce costs without reducing quality, or social and environmental responsibility.

There are many costs that you can reduce that do not cut at social and environmental responsibility. There are ways you can tweak your designs that can save you money in prototyping, production, fulfilment, and more – at all stages all the way through.

Let’s take an example scenario that is real.

We have two packages:

Package #1 = 15cm length * 15cm width * 2.1cm thick, 299g

Package #2 = 15cm length * 15cm width * 1.9cm thick, 299g

We are shipping these two packages using Canada Post from Toronto to Vancouver.

When we go to find out the rates, we learn that Package #1 will cost around $17 to ship, while Package #2 will cost only around $5. Why? These packages appear to be almost identical, don’t they?!?!

Well, Canada Post has sizing cutoffs, and one of them makes it so that if your letter is over 2cm thick it must be sent as a parcel rather than as a letter. The price drastically increases when you change from letter to parcel.

So what’s the point of this realworld example? Small design changes can make for major savings. If you were at the early stages of designing a product and had to decide if it was to be 1.9cm thick vs 2.1cm thick, you would probably think the decision was completely insignificant – you’d probably believe it won’t matter, but in some cases it really will!

So, what do we do about this?

You need to try to understand the constraints you’re working in and design effectively. Each business interacts with different constraints in different ways, but you want to be a master of understanding the boundaries of your designs and how those boundaries will impact your success. Do not limit this to just the shipping example above. Think about how your business interacts with technology, how it engages with its customers, how you create content, the ways your employees need to interact, and all the different tools you can use to reduce these costs without cutting your product/service quality, damaging the environment, or exploiting people.

On another note, if there is something you need to do, but aren’t quite sure how, a great place to start is by looking up “How to  ___ for $0” on Google. For example, if you need to make a video as a piece of content for your community, look up “How to make a video for $0”. If you need to make some basic brand assets or do something with graphic design like a poster, you could look up “How to make a poster for $0” and you’ll probably be directed to a website like Canva. The point is to be resourceful and understand how you can transcend the current design boundaries and barriers facing your project.

Action Item(s):

  • Look back at your cost list you made in the Cost/Pricing/Market Analysis lesson. Assess what areas might be able to have costs cut without any negative impacts. Make a list of these areas.
  • Do further research on each of these areas to better understand if there are ways you could reduce costs with a more efficient design.

Further Reading:


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