If good design truly matters, then shouldn't everyone have access to it?
Studies have shown that design-led companies are more likely to successfully launch new products, are better equipped to innovate, and even outperform their competitors in the stock market. So it's no wonder that companies from IBM to are Intuit are now touting themselves as "design-driven."
The problem is, despite these companies' best efforts, their focus on design tends to be pretty top-heavy. We may see it's impact in a company's branding, PR, product, and marketing, but it rarely extends to something just as important: the work it's employees do every single day.
All you have to do is look at a company's PowerPoint slides to see that it's commitment to good design hasn't trickled down to everyday work. While some in the organization have access to professional designers for high-profile projects, staffers in Marketing, Sales, HR, and Operations are usually handed a presentation template and asked to fend for themselves. And we've all see the results.
But this is not an issue of "fairness," per se. It’s about results. There are reams of data indicating that the visual aesthetics of our communications—from websites to presentations—has a significant impact on it’s perceived value. And yet we continue to neglect the work being created by those who communicate our message every single day.
These are the employees on the front lines of a company. Whether they're communicating internally or externally, the messages they're delivering—and how they're designed—are a reflection of the company itself.
Any company that cares about design and isn't helping their employees to communicate more effectively is doing itself, and its people, a disservice.
And it's not as if these employees don't care about design. Most PowerPoint users have a pretty good sense of what good design looks like and how much value it adds to their work. The problem is that they often don't have the skills, the time, the resources, and/or the desire to do it themselves. According to our own survey of 500 professionals who make at least one presentation per month:
72% have felt “self-conscious” about the appearance of their slides
62% have "run out of time” to make a presentation that meets their own standards
42% say that designing slides takes time from other work they should be doing
These are precisely the problems we’re solving with Beautiful.AI.
We want to break down all barriers to good design so that every document an employee creates is imbued with the benefits of working with a professional designer—both in terms of the quality of the work itself and the amount of their time it takes to create it.
In other words, we are democratizing good design at scale. And we’re doing it the only way you can: with artificial intelligence.
The foundation of our approach is Design AI, our proprietary heuristics engine that (a) helps users translate ideas into visuals and (b) automatically applies the “rules” of good design in real-time. Put more simply, it allows a user to focus on telling her story while good design "just happens" for her.
Our first application of Design AI is, fittingly, a tool that empowers anyone to build better presentations in a fraction of the time it takes with tools like PowerPoint. Beautiful.AI helps users to discover the best way to visualize their ideas, and then designs their slides for them—in real-time—as they add or change content. Our bet is that what the tool offers in terms of time savings, aesthetics, and the “expertise” of a designer will far outweigh the “freedom” they’re used to with tools like PowerPoint.
To be clear, our goal is not, and never will be, to replace designers with software. Instead, we want to give those who can't afford a designer the chance to work with one every time they sit down to work. We believe that making good design a given will both improve the quality of communication at a massive scale and level the playing field so that everyone's ideas get the platform they deserve.
And this is just the beginning. We believe that all of the work we do on a daily basis—whether it’s an email, or a document, or a report—should be well-designed, by default.
It’s about time that AI do more than just make our lives simpler. It should also make our lives—and our work—more beautiful.