what is design

Before we discuss the confusing question of “what is design ?”, let’s take a look into 8mango’s story.


Dhiraj is an artist – a really good one. From the trash we discard without even a second thought, he creates a fascinating world of miniatures. In 2006, he started 8mango to showcase the work he was doing. In the years that followed, his art received a lot of appreciation, from people and media alike.

what is design

It’s 2016, and now he wants to sell some of his creations. Given the craft he possesses and the beautiful things he makes, you’d think it won’t be hard to sell them. Because he knows Photoshop and social media well, selling should be easy – make a pretty picture, add a buy now button, run an ad on social media and wait for the leads to roll in.

But, it has not been that simple.

“It is fantastic” “great work” “genius” were the responses he got. All likes, all appreciations, but very few sales.

But why no sales?

Probably, there is no demand for such art. But art is never really driven by demand. In fact, it opposes it most of the times.

Thinking he wasn’t targeting the right people? Trust me he was – Art collectors, CEOs of creative companies and some serious art lovers.

I have seen people steal his artwork images and get thousands of shares. Something that Dhiraj never could. There has to be something he wasn’t doing right. His is not an isolated incident. There are countless businesses with excellent product or services, and a huge demand but they still fail to sell them online.

There could be a million explanations for that. But if you ask me, there are three major ones:

  1. Not getting noticed by their audience
  2. Getting noticed, but failing to engage them
  3. Failing to convert the engagement to sales

In this book, I will tell you how to get better at these three aspects of marketing using design as the weapon.

What is Design?

In simple words, design is to communicate with a purpose. Before designing even a single dot, you should have a clear idea of what you intend to achieve.

You probably saw the circle below and read it before reading this paragraph. That was intentional – achieved by the contrast in shape and color (circular and yellow).

What is design and how is it different from art?

I did not have a formal education in either, so whenever I met a designer or an artist, this was the first question I asked. After speaking to many people and reading quite a bit, I figured out one simple explanation.

Art is interpreted and design is understood.


art vs design

Mona Lisa wasn’t done with a specific purpose. Like most art, it was an expression and is interpreted differently by different people.

Whereas iPhone is a design because it has a purpose and it is interpreted and understood alike by most users.

Go to Chapter 2

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