Design and the customer experience

How important is good design in creating a great experience? Let’s take a look at a new store that hit my radar recently. This is in a funky, older two-story strip mall in the Mission Hills neighborhood of San Diego. It sits between a cabinet/kitchen design store and a Japanese restaurant. Other tenants are insurance, physical therapy, and skin care.

These lanterns caught my eye.

I stepped over for a closer look.

The graceful logo script and cute name got me to pull out my camera phone. The shop was closed, but I could see this sign through the window:

I was officially hooked. I came back when the store was open.

Warm colors, cute yoga clothes, great details.

The all-important themed bathroom.

This is the front of the business card. The design is carried through on the Web site and the email invite to the opening party.

I contacted designer Coleen Choisser for more information. She said that the client/shop owner wanted a warm, inviting, fun store that would appeal to Bikram Yoga enthusiasts, her target audience. She already had the name and tag line, “Catch the Spark.” They chose the palette by going to fabric showrooms. Once they found the beautiful silk fabric for the dressing room curtain, they worked from there. They worked together on various details, some contributed by the designer, some by the owner. Coleen’s final word, “You only have 30 seconds to make a good impression.”

Tip of the day: Design matters. A designer’s eye can guide you to create a seamless experience like this one. If you can’t afford the full treatment, see if you can find someone who will trade services with you, do a consult, or look for a student who wants a portfolio project. Design matters.

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