Renault’s former design manager Patrick Le Quément had the habit of saying that designing the first Twingo (a revolution in automotive design) cost as much as one exterior bar on the driver’s side door, which is a pretty good metaphor for illustrating just how profitable design can be. Today it would be impossible for a corporate accountant to tell you precisely how much design improves your profit margin: there are simply too many variables to account for and some of them are entirely subjective. However, no one would dream of refuting the benefits of design for paradigms of success like Apple, Dyson or Audi, or for distributors like Decathlon, or smaller businesses like Mastrad, Lorflam, or Thuasne.
In addition to the cost of a design project, one must take into consideration what experiences the designer can bring to the table in terms of value-added strategy: internal job training, networking, patent registry, visionary innovation, reduced production cost, technology transfers, and brand promotion, to name a few. Finally, studies show that companies that have had experience with design can specify two main elements of profitability: increased profit margins and increased company fiscal worth. You can ask a lot of design, and if it is well executed it can be very profitable!