April 23, 2018

Influence of Good Design on Customers

At least once a year I relearn an important lesson about myself: I am a short-hair woman. Long hair (even longish) doesn’t work. So this weekend I went to my salon to bring me back to reality. While there, I picked up a copy of Salon Today, and was intrigued by the savvy articles on marketing, branding and customer experience. Many, many parallels to the library world.

Take this article, for example: The Influence of Good Design on Psychology. The article asks salon powerhouses to answer this question: How does good design influence consumer psychology and impact retail and service sales?

Doesn’t this sound like our library world?: 

"The beauty industry is evolving at a rapid pace. Today’s initiatives become tomorrow’s minimum standards with increasing rapidity. Never has design been more important in seducing and alluring a consumer to purchase a product or service. If we as consumers choose based on design, we choose a design based on emotion." 

"Color and interior design trends change approximately every three to five years. From a pure business perspective, owners should redesign or remodel within this time period because good design positively influences consumer psychology. Good design alerts customers that you realize image is important."

And this one:
"Good design is just as crucial to the success of a salon as the staff’s creative and technical ability.” 

From my vantage point I perceive that libraries are very conservative when it comes to design. Sure we have some outstanding architectural design, but it mostly stops there. Perhaps it is fear that we’d look too big for our britches or simply that library staff have no real training in design concepts. 

But as the author states above, design trends change every three to five years. When we don’t upgrade design, our customers, who are out in the world observing great design, see us as looking old-fashioned. Good design is a signal flare to the public that libraries live in the same world they live in and are relevant to it.

Alison Circle About Alison Circle

Alison Circle is director of marketing communications for Columbus Metropolitan Library. Previously she was an Account Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global branding agency, and her primary client was Target Stores. Prior to that she was the National Marketing Director for Minnesota Public Radio and "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor." She has advanced degrees in English and Fine Arts, and is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.



  1. Excellent correlation between two disparate fields – beauty/salons and libraries. Good things to think about!

  2. Stephanie says:

    I’d like to know how any library could afford to redesign every 3-5 years?