Design and business: The substance of style
Correlation is not causation, of course, but some of the world's most successful companies are good at design
Design has come a long way in a relatively short time. In 1985, 32% of the S&P 500 value was in intangible assets. By 2015, it had reached 84%, according to Ocean Tomo, an investment bank focused on intellectual property. Not all of intangible value depends directly on design, of course, but it does seem to be a major component: between 2004 and 2015, the returns of an index of 15 major design-driven companies (including such disparate firms as International Business Machines Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Nike Inc.) outpaced the S&P by 228%. Nor is this pattern unique to the US: another study found that in the UK, market-to-book values for design-effective companies were 40-80% higher than for the less style-savvy.
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