Why is it important?
On a business strategy level, common design language creates coherence among company products, building greater brand awareness when consumers identify and recognize the different products as part of the same family.
For example, Apple has a wide offering of products from phones, tablets, laptops, and now a watch. Even though each product has a different form factor, each has the same aluminum finish and contrasting black or white plastic. The simplicity and quality of the material and finishes is a subtle physical way to create a consistent design language, and enhance brand recognition and uniqueness in the market.
For the internal functioning of a company, having a strong design language minimizes product reinvention between often siloed departments. Ultimately, it can help shorten the time needed to launch a product. A common design language will take into consideration complex requirements on multiple fronts: for users, for materials, for the market, for the regulatory environment.
MARKET AND BUSINESS STRATEGY
The first step in creating a design language involves strategy, and depends on the company’s stage of development. If it is a new venture with a first product, or an established company entering a new product category, the design team will gain an understanding of overall market and propose a strategic positioning, including brand values. If instead, the company already has a foothold in a market, the design team would look at potential new markets, offering its expertise as design visionaries.