It is not always easy for a client to talk visually about what they are looking for in a design. Whether it’s a logo design idea that they’ve been thinking about for months or a web design that is “just right” for their company, the graphic design process requires a visual conversation between the end client and the designer or project manger. In many cases, clients often find it difficult to communicate what they are looking for.
Why is this process so difficult?
Visual concepts are never easily put into words, and talking about graphic design is no exception.
What does sophisticated mean to you? How about professional? Classy? Does describing something in this way, (i.e. a classy dress) give one a good image of what the other is trying to communicate?
Now, how about the phrase “a red wagon”? That’s a little closer. What about “a red Radio Flyer Wagon”? Now that is pretty darn specific. With this description, average Americans from most age groups and backgrounds could pull together very similar images of a red wagon.
Of course, in our experience, business owners come to design firms for insight, creative direction and ideas. They do not always have a clear picture in their mind as to what they are looking for. It’s our job to help drive and lead both the creative process and the accompanying conversation.
The Good Work graphic design method is simple:
We try to have visual conversations about visual things.
We start with a client consultation to help define the general parameters and marketing goals, and to also draw out some of the clues that will help us find the “that’s it” design. At this point, even the most specific answers can leave a lot of creative leeway and the vaguest answers can drive an artist into a corner. It’s our job to listen carefully and hone in on the important information.
In the second stage and depending on the project, we submit a variety of radically different rough designs. Now this is when the verbal conversation evolves into a visual conversation. Each graphic element is a signpost in the world of visual communication. Each piece an element that we can talk about in terms of how it functions in the design and how it works with the client’s brand as a whole. Our team has listened to the client and has produced a roadmap of the visual representations of each thought, and the more specific the feedback, the more meaningful the conversation.
Here is an example of some meaningful conversation at this stage of the design process:
“While design one has the professional feeling we like, we really feel like the second has more impact. The third design is just “way too out there” for us. Let’s pursue the first design, but incorporate some elements from the second to see if we can find a happy medium between professionalism and impact.”
The least successful answer would be “we like them all”. But either way, we have now started to hone in on finding the “right” design, and after each stage of this process, our team listens and responds to the conversation with a narrowed set of proof options until the right solution is reached.
We love having visual conversations with our clients, and at the same time understand that some clients find this process difficult. The most successful projects happen when the end client is open, honest and timely in providing feedback. We truly enjoy the thrill of finding the right solution for each client, one that incorporates both professional design and targeted marketing messaging.