Design the difference


In our recent OnDesign podcast we spoke to Tom Blomfield, CEO of challenger bank Monzo, about the role of design in his company’s explosive growth.

iPod's superior design to its competitors explains its ongoing culture caché

Monzo isn’t the only ‘new wave’ bank. It has stiff competition in the UK with Tandem and Atom, and globally with Nubank and N26. In truth, they all offer a similar suite of smartphone-enabled features. So what will define who succeeds and who fails?


As Tom put it, “the ideas are relatively meagre in value… execution is everything”.

That’s been true throughout history and across categories. The difference between the iPod and the ill-fated Zune wasn’t really how it worked, how much music it stored or how it sounded. It was in the design of the object, the method of interaction, of every detail down to the ‘clicks’ as you scroll the wheel. It’s the reason why the 2001 product is the star of Baby Driver in 2017, and Zune is forgotten.

You could argue the same applies to the Volkswagen vs Skoda, Dyson vs Hoover, Nike vs Reebok. On the face of things, their products aren’t really all that different, but there’s a million executional nuances which add up to a more memorable, enjoyable and superior experience overall.

In other words, design is the difference.

OnDesign: Episode 7 – Tom Blomfield