Any emerging startup with a bold, innovative product can be held back by a lack of attention or focus on design.

Andy Budd is a UX designer and CEO of Clearleft, a digital design agency based in Brighton, England. He took to the stage at The Next Web Conference today to deliver a keynote on the importance of design and how technology companies should position these creative minds at the center of the product.

So why isn’t every startup doing this already? The problem centers on money and the pressure to build a product with as few people as possible.

“The difficulty is that you can create a startup with just a technical team and no designer,” Budd said. “But it’s very difficult to start the other way around, unless you’re creating physical design products.”

He suggests that startups hire “a few really good designers” at an early stage to set the initial vision and groundwork, as this will attract better talent down the line.

“Designers want to work on products and in companies where they think there’s a big design culture,” he added. “So if you don’t have any of the designers in your organisation, or you don’t have a really senior designer, that spells a warning sign.”

Startups can also struggle to hire high-quality designers because their company website looks sub-par or is misrepresentative of the company ethos and vision.

“You would think that was a really attractive proposition because they (designers) get to change a lot of stuff, but it also often backfires,” he said. “If the website looks terrible, that’s usually an indication that the company doesn’t care about design. And if the company doesn’t care about design, why would you join it?”

TNW caught up with Andy Budd after his speech to discuss the importance of design, the lack of user experience designers in the UK and much, much more.

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Image Credit: Julia Deboer/Flickr