Graphic Design and Business

Graphic design and Business, the great love-hate affair

Graphic design and business are the perfect companions. In business this known as commercial design. It is important for every business to considering hiring a designer to create effective advertising and marketing material. So this leads me to the graphic designer and client relationship.

I’ve been working as a graphic designer for over 13 years now and in that time, I must admit I have asked the question many times. After completing the first draft of a poster, brochure, logo etc I present it to my client and posed the question, What do you think? It’s taken me most of those 13 years to figure out that this is, in fact, the completely wrong question to ask at this point. The correct question sounds more like “does this speak to your target market” ?

The problem is the subjective nature of design. People’s personal preferences and tastes are huge factors in their response to any piece of design. For example, on a few occasions, I have been asked to change a key colour in a logo. I have no problem making alterations to any piece of design with exception to changes that are not coming from rational reasoning like ‘the clients’ wife just loves the colour red’.

When I ask my client “what do you think? I am asking them the wrong question. My design work must speak to their target market.

What is important?

To get to the right question a designer has to be able to step into the shoes of our client’s customers and be able to design based on their wants and needs.

What is Graphic Design?

It is all about communication. The communication of a message that is:

  • Planned
    Clear
    Concise
    Easily understood

AIGA – the professional association for design states, “Graphic design, also known as communication design, is the art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content. The form of the communication can be physical or virtual, and may include images, words, or graphic forms.”

One of the first things we address as graphic designers when working with a new client is to establish their target market. As designers, it is crucial we understand our client’s customers. After all, at the end of the day that’s exactly what a (good) graphic designer aims to do. Capturing attention, then, communicating the message. For this very reason, graphic design is commonly referred to as visual communication. So, whether working for one client or more, the approach is similar because you are still focused on how their message to their customers will be communicated.

Applying A Design Approach

Even when I work with groups, where you have a number of people all with their own personal tastes, I focus on the message. It still can be challenging. Going back to our earlier logo example. Imagine I present varying versions of a logo design to a room of twelve people. After giving a brief presentation of the concepts behind a logo, I turn to the group and ask, “What do you think?” Mary thinks that shade of green should be darker, John would like the text to be in all caps and Amanda would like to see a version using a more ‘swirly’ font. If asked to expand on their reasons for these changes “what do you think?” They will be based on the personal tastes of each committee member NOT on communicating with the target market.

Always ask the right question

The correct question is always “Does this speak to the target market”? When you apply this question the answers are not based on personal taste. And, now the committee are thinking like their customers and the feedback is much more cohesive and valuable.

 

Talk to Us today to ask the right question

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