Business confidence for designers.
95- Muji - Business Design Teardown
Born in Japan yet embraced globally, Muji challenges the consumerist tide with its 'no-brand' philosophy. From their iconic pens to the soft glow of their aroma diffusers, Muji has reshaped how we perceive functionality and design. In this episode, we'll explore the minimalist marvel that is Muji - its roots, its rise, and how it carves tranquillity in everyday life.
Heralded as the epitome of simplicity, Muji isn't just about simple aesthetics; it's a masterclass in brand strategy, thoughtful global expansion, and sustainable business practices.
So how does a company champion a 'no-brand' philosophy and still achieve global recognition and loyalty? How have they navigated the treacherous waters of international retail? And what lies beneath their sleek product designs in terms of production, supply chain management, and profit margins?
In this latest Teardown, we will also discuss…
How Muji has taken their home product philosophy into some unexpected areas… like campsites and cars!
Why a commitment to user-centered design remains a hallmark of the Muji mindset
The challenges Muji continues to face taking a brand rooted in Japanese culture into Western markets
A critical KPI for retail: inventory turnover rate, and how Muji performs compared to some other brands you might know…
So grab your Muji gel pen and notepad as we unpack the business genius behind those unbranded, beloved products. If you've ever bought a Muji product or contemplated its strategic international footprint, this episode is for you.
94- Helvetica - Business Design Teardown
You may not think about it often, but it's everywhere—on billboards, in your emails, on your favorite websites, and perhaps even your company's logo. Yes, we're talking about fonts and, more specifically, Helvetica. Our latest Business Design Teardown explores the iconic typeface used by businesses worldwide for over half a century. Created in 1957, this Swiss-born font has become one of the world's most used and recognized fonts. Today, we'll explore the intricate details that have propelled Helvetica to its iconic status. But that's not all. We'll also pull back the curtain on Monotype, the powerhouse font foundry behind Helvetica, and many fonts that define our visual landscape. How did Monotype come to wield such influence in the world of commercial fonts? And how do they monetize typefaces, an asset that most of us use daily but seldom think about? Together, we'll explore the combination of aesthetics and commerce that's turned simple lines and curves into a multi-million-dollar enterprise, including… How Helvetica was successfully rebranded to appeal to a wider English-speaking market Monotype's most crucial strategic move; from typesetting hardware to font distribution Why big businesses are constantly developing Helvetica clones (hint: it's usually to cut licensing costs!) Threats and opportunities for the typeface industry, including AI font generation and virtual reality If you enjoyed this dive into the world of Helvetica, join our new Teardown Slack (invite is on www.d.mba/slack) channel and let us know your favourite brands using this iconic font.
93- Aesop - Business Design Teardown
Ahh, the unmistakable scent of a new Business Teardown! This one has notes of brand elegance and a touch of sophisticated aesthetics… but does it have the sweet smell of business success? Excuse our indulgence in some beauty-based puns; this week, we're taking our first look at a skincare brand that has long been admired for its design, customer experience, and attention to detail - Aesop. With its unique amber bottles, stunningly designed stores, and a deep-rooted commitment to botanical science, Aesop's strategy goes beyond just selling skincare products. It's about selling an experience, a philosophy, and a lifestyle. The brand has carved out a niche in the competitive skincare market by merging a keen sense of design with quality formulations. In this episode, we'll explore how Aesop's distinctive branding, commitment to sustainability, and authentic storytelling have made it a beacon in luxury skincare. But is this high-end brand all looks and no business substance? Or does Aesop deserve its fabled status? In this latest dMBA teardown, Alen, Franz, and Tom discuss…. Why Aesop's investment in spa-like store experiences has been a strategic masterstroke How a deep commitment to saying 'no' has helped Aesop own its place in a competitive market The reasons its recent acquisition was a complete no-brainer for new owner L'Oreal How China (and its booming luxury market) could unlock enormous growth for Aesop So relax, unwind, and indulge in another episode of the Business Teardown. www.d.mba
92- Eames chair - Business Design Teardown
When you think of truly iconic design, what comes to mind? In tech, perhaps it’s the iPhone. In typography, Helvetica claims legendary status. In the furniture world, one piece has a hold over designers like no other; the Eames Lounge Chair. If the name doesn't ring a bell, its form is instantly recognizable. From appearances in Frasier, Iron Man, Beyonce videos, and Bond films, the Eames silhouette has become a cultural icon, unchanged since its inception in 1956. The brainchild of design legends Charles and Ray Eames, the Lounge Chair has become a case study in great design and business... So in today's Teardown, we're not just unpicking what makes the Lounge Chair a great product, but the business of the company behind it - Herman Miller. From the Eames Lounge Chair to the Aeron tech office staple, Herman Miller products have found their way into our homes and offices and earned a place in prestigious museums like the Museum of Modern Art in New York. But this episode isn't just about chairs. Today, we're diving deep into the business side of Herman Miller. What strategies have propelled them to the forefront of the high-end furniture industry? Why has design collaboration been critical to the enduring desirability of their products? How has their commitment to design, innovation, and sustainability shaped their business model? And in this new age of remote work, how is Herman Miller evolving, and what does it mean for the future of office spaces? So get cozy (or better yet, settle into your favorite chair) and let's unfold the business story of Herman Miller.
91- Tour de France - Business Design Teardown
The Tour de France isn't just a test of physical endurance; it's a spectacle fueling a vast economic ecosystem. From the massive investments poured into team sponsorships to the bustling local economies along the race route, the Tour de France leaves no stone unturned when exploring potential income streams. In this Business Design Teardown, we'll examine the financial gears that keep the Tour de France rolling. We'll dive into the lucrative world of sponsorships, uncovering how corporate giants strategically align themselves with teams and riders to gain exposure and promote their brands. We'll explore the unique factors that contribute to the Tour's success and the strategic masterstrokes that have helped made it the world's most-viewed sporting event. So zip up your lycra, clip into your pedals, and Join Alen, Franz, and Tom as they discuss: The surprising business-focused origin story of the Tour (it was created to sell more newspapers!) Genius strategic maneuvers that opened up lucrative income streams for Tour organizers Why every city wants the economic boost of a visit from The Tour (and not just in France!) How climate change could be the biggest threat to the Tour's existing dominance www.d.mba
90- WeWork - Business Design Teardown
When is a real estate business not a real estate business? When it declares its mission to "elevate the world's consciousness", brands itself a tech company, and promises to blur the line between work and life through beautifully designed spaces. Yes, we're talking about WeWork in the latest Business Design Teardown. With its lofty promises to deliver not just a desk, but a dynamic, community-driven environment, WeWork swept the globe at an unprecedented speed. This meteoric rise was fuelled by eye-watering investments, inflated valuations, and a well-documented fall from grace. In this episode, Alen, Franz, and Tom grab their hot desks, refill their complimentary coffee, and cast a critical eye on… How WeWork’s business model disrupted traditional commercial real estate The economics of co-working: is it a business worth being in? How WeWork's new leadership steadied the ship toward sustainability Why the Sunk Cost Fallacy could be the only reason WeWork is still in business! So settle into your hot desk, put those headphones on, and prepare for a deep dive into the wild story of WeWork. www.d.mba
THE podcast for all designers
Love the topics, especially the new concept The Business Teardown. It is fun easy to learn with the real real-world examples. The hosts are amazing too!
Great questions asked, followed by amazing guests & introduction to the game changing ideas. I can’t praise this podcast and beyondusers.com enough. A must for any designer!
Full of great info!
Super amazing insight in design work!