Equinox and Adobe Execs on the Future of Design and Creating the Best Brand Experience for Consumers

Plus, why designers will no longer exist on teams of their own

The two executives spoke about why design is important in today's world. Courtesy of Cecilia Farooqi and Adobe Systems
Headshot of Ann-Marie Alcántara

Content is everything and everywhere, a sentiment that Equinox’s director of digital design, Cecilia Farooqi, knows all too well. Farooqi is responsible for overseeing Equinox’s digital experiences and products, such as content on an Equinox email or in the club itself.

Adweek sat down with Farooqi and Ashley Still, vp, Adobe Creative Cloud Enterprise at the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas, to chat about the future of design, the challenges designers face and where the field will go in the future.

Designing for different mediums requires designers to think beyond themselves

With an array of channels—from email to social to the website—designers are handling a lot more content than ever before. This is causing brands to think about both form and function. For designers, it means balancing how the content works for the brand and what the consumer will actually find useful.

“It’s just really trying to think outside in and stepping outside of yourself, stepping outside of your team, stepping outside of your department and then ultimately, outside of your business,” Farooqi said. “Ultimately, [you need to have empathy] for people who aren’t yourself and [think about] what they want and design for them.”

The vast amount of content needed also means scaling appropriately. New features and tech products help the designing process, Farooqi said, but building out the actual team to deal with all the content has been challenging.

Designers will become more integrated across different teams

Farooqi believes designers will no longer just exist on a team of their own and will instead join others across the company.

“Already, designers are sitting next to engineers potentially sitting next to operation teams and service teams and kinda helping them—and it all ties back to an experience,” Farooqi said. “You’re designing an experience for your customers.”

Still also mentioned a growing trend of designers reporting higher up in organizations and participating in strategy meetings, since they have a bigger insight into what the experience is actually like. For example, at Adobe, the studio team reports to the CMO, Ann Lewnes, and the product design team reports to Scott Belsky, the chief product officer for Adobe Creative Cloud.

Don’t underestimate the importance of design

To understand what a customer wants, a good design experience is “critical,” Still shares. Acquiring and using data is still important to come up with the right consumer products and offerings, but the customer doesn’t interact with that data—they come face to face with the experience of a brand’s product.

“If you’re experiencing data, that’s definitely a problem,” Still said. “You experience an experience that’s well informed through analytics and kind of the data we’re talking about. You experience visuals and you experience the design of the overall experience.”


@itstheannmarie annmarie.alcantara@adweek.com Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.
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