laptop with lettering about designing simple experiences

15 inspiring service design quotes for a customer-centric mindset

April 12, 2022

What is service design? One question, many potential responses. In the end, there is no such thing as the one and only answer to it. It’s a mindset, a way of working and thinking, something you have to experience and embrace. We’ve collected a few voices that instantiate the spirit of service design.

The biggest influences on our lives are not products - phones, cars, hoovers or even houses -  they’re services, and they scale faster than any product on earth … The problem we have is that we don't see services as real things. When we do, we think of them as somehow less impactful than physical things. We don't see the harm we do with them to our users when they are badly designed, but we also don't see how much harm these do to our organisation either.

Lou Downe, retrieved 2 August 2022 from https://good.services/blog/why-we-need-service-literacy-now


Imagine you have two coffee shops right next to each other selling the exact same coffee at the exact same price. Service design is what makes you walk into the one and not the other, come back often and tell your friends about it.

Marc Fonteijn. Retrieved 2 April 2022 from https://www.servicedesignshow.com/what-is-service-design/


While it’s tempting to want to check off the box and move on, designing a service is never done. It’s only over when you go out of business.

Jamin Hegeman, TISDD, pg. 353


Frankly, one of the great strengths of design is that we have not settled on a single definition. Fields in which definition is now a settled matter tend to be lethargic, dying, or dead fields, where inquiry no longer provides challenges to what is accepted as truth.

Richard Buchanan, 2002, TISDT, pg. 28


Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.

Tim Brown. Retrieved on 02 April 2022 from https://designthinking.ideo.com


Service design is all about making the service you deliver useful, usable, efficient, effective and desirable.

UK Design Council, 2010, TISDT, pg. 30


Service design helps to innovate (create new) or improve (existing) services to make them more useful, usable, desirable for clients and efficient as well as effective for organizations. It is a new holistic, multidisciplinary, integrative field.

Stefan Moritz. Moritz, S. (2005). Service Design: Practical Access to an Evolving Field. Köln.


Service design also has a heritage that gives it a background and inheritance. Some of this is from older design approaches designed for mass manufacturing or communications. The arts of industrial design and of branding have influenced the thinking and practice of service design. Another strong influence has been from service marketing, whis is where the first service blueprints were developed.

Reason, B., Lovlie, L., Flu, M. B. (2016) Service Design for Business. Pg. 1.


Service design choreographs processes, technologies and interactions within complex systems in order to co-create value for relevant stakeholders.

Birgit Mager. See for example “Meet Birgit Mager, President of the Service Design Network”. Retrieved 3 August 2022 from https://www.service-design-network.org


The advantages of bringing everybody to the same table are enormous. Using the various team members to co-create on tasks, roles, and structure can be a powerful instrument to create ownership.

Francesca Terzi, TISDD, pg. 343


Journey maps represent powerful boundary objects that enable conversations about services. In fields such as healthcare where communication can be challenging, they can move clinicians and patients toward mutual understanding.

Mike Press, TISDD, pg. 50


Over time, not only the scope of the project but also the environment around it may change, for example through new employees or the launch of new projects. It is therefore advised to periodically update tools like your project stakeholder map to review the overall situatin and reflect on such changes.

Julia Jonas, TISDD, pg. 364


Customer experience encompasses every aspect of a company’s offering—the quality of customer care, of course, but also advertising, packaging, product and service features, ease of use, and reliability. Yet few of the people responsible for those things have given sustained thought to how their separate decisions shape customer experience. To the extent they do think about it, they all have different ideas of what customer experience means, and no one more senior oversees everyone’s efforts.

Andre Schwager & Chris Meyer. Understanding Customer Experience. retrieved on 02 April 2022 from https://hbr.org/2007/02/understanding-customer-experience


Designers need to think critically and not adopt a model of the design process without question, but design the design process itself for the problem at hand.

Jamin Hegeman, TISDD, pg. 85


Need a bunch of ideas? Build some prototypes and mess around – ideation doesn’t only happen on sticky notes.

Belina Raffy, TISDD, pg. 163

Got into the spirit? Then it’s time to learn how to practice service design in our basic service design guide.