What is Service Design?

Let’s face it, products don’t exist in a vacuum. In today’s industry, it’s not just about delivering a great product but the entire timeline of an individual’s experience with a product or service that matters. Service design takes a holistic approach to design, considering the continuity of an individual’s interactions over time and thoughtfully stitching them together for maximum delight and brand integration. Service design considers the steps involved in a desired user experience and the behind the scenes support that is required to accomplish that across multiple touchpoints and channels. It is the union of an individual’s relationship with tangible products and intangible experiences and how to accomplish that as an organization.

Companies and products win based on service. Our extensive experience in product design and development, coupled with our research team, allows us to understand the nuance of both product and experience, coming alongside your team to design an ideal service experience and bring it to fruition. We serve as a neutral third party who is able to stitch together the 10,000ft view of your service with the 5ft view of your individual stakeholder experts into a comprehensive user journey and blueprint.

CX & Service Design

While some use the terms interchangeably, at PD, Service Design and CX are two distinct but dependent parts of the experience design process. CX, or customer experience, focuses on designing the idealized user experience across multiple touchpoints. Service design takes it one step further and considers how that experience can be developed and realistically created. Service design is the visible and invisible people, products, and technology that make an experience real for a customer.

Service design cannot exist without a strong CX foundation. Whether you come to us with the ideal experience established or don’t know where to start, we partner with you to understand your users and your business goals. It’s during this process that we can set the stage for how we measure success down the road.

Service Design Process


Research takes multiple forms, whether that’s surveys, interviews, observation, or secondary competitive analysis. This helps us to develop a strong baseline for current customer and stakeholder experiences. From these conversations, we’re able to map out the current state of your experience and, using your brand values and goals, identify key moments that can create the biggest impact for your customers. Ensuring the system is functional first, and amplifying moments of delight.


With the key moments identified, we’re ready to begin exploring ways to create new and better experiences. We’re not only focused on how users accomplish each task, but how to infuse your brand personality into those moments through both visible and invisible changes. This stage of hypotheses development ranges from tactical solutions that tweak a key moment to more overarching experiential and systemic changes. An example of this would be redesigning the structure of mobile ordering at a restaurant to better infuse a more laid-back brand personality while meeting changing interaction needs caused by COVID-19.


In order to transition from new designs to developing a comprehensive service blueprint, we conduct rounds of testing to confirm our hypotheses. These tests use established metrics to compile data on key concepts, allowing us to make an informed decision when choosing the best options to implement. Testing can range from small prototypes and user interviews to full scale service modeling at test locations. We ensure that the type of testing conducted is appropriate for the scale of the solution so that you get the answers you need without unnecessary cost.


When it comes to implementing new service design concepts, whether large or small, we know it can be challenging even for the most robust organization. Our goal is to create something actionable that can be built on by the experts already in your organization. This looks like facilitating conversations with different stakeholders and teams in your company to collaborate on a unified deliverable resulting in internal buy-in and investment for those who will be bringing this service to life for your customers. This is an important part of the process that ensures your service will truly come to life throughout the organization.


After sufficient research and testing, its time to handoff the finished service blueprint. To many, this handoff might be considered the conclusion; however, we recognize this handoff as a launch point and the beginning of your service design journey. We not only prioritize educating your team on the functional implementation of this new service, but also determine reasonable metrics and methods to measure success moving forward. With our multidisciplinary team, PD can continue to support in product or interface development, as well as evaluative research to quantify and measure the success of the service and implementation down the road.

Our Tools

Each service design projects calls for a different set tools to achieve success. While these are some of our most used, rarely do we need to employ all of them to meet the needs of every project. We often seek out tools not listed here and cater them to fit each projects needs, rather than trying to force an inappropriate tool for the sake of a predetermined process.

Internal Audit

Competitive Analysis

Design Research

User Journey Maps

User Personas


Hypothesis Generation

Concept Prototyping

Service Blueprint

Design Specialties








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