Everybody agrees that a design is the mirror of a brand. Their core values, the ideas they stand for, and the concepts they bring to the world, are all reflected in the design of their products, their logo, their website – shortly – their whole identity.
But how are we, as designers or directors, deciding which style or image reflects the identity of a brand perfectly?
Sometimes we get precise indications from clients and the direction is obvious. But what happens when our client has no idea and needs YOU to solve this problem for him? Or alternatively, when the client desires something, but taking that lead would be a bad decision for the brand?
The answers are simple: 1. research and 2. know your target.
Without this we’ll definitely be left in the dark, only hoping that the design we’re making is going to be the right one.
Every time we encounter this, the first natural step would be to understand the problem better, and we do this by researching. Has this problem happened before? How are other professionals solving this problem? What are the possible ways in which I could find the best solution?
And I can’t help at this point not to make an analogy with logical schemas. I remember when I studied IT in school there was this object (field) called “algorithmics” and there we were taught how to design the iteration steps of a small program (software). We were given a problem and we had to draw a logical schema illustrating which options and possible solutions exist for the problem. Below you can see an example how a thing like this looked like.
Later in life I realized that the same algorithmic thinking can be applied in design and it can help me visualize possible scenarios for the project. I come up with questions and then I try to answer them with “yes” or “no” and see what other questions are deriving from each decision.
Another vital factor in decision making is knowing your target market. It is very important to know who will be the end users of your products, to whom is this addressing. The more I get to know people, the more I realize that not everybody thinks the way I do, and not everybody likes the same things as someone else.
There are people who are following trends and people who are revolting against the trends. There are people who have different cultures and different systems of values than others. There are people who appreciate originality and innovation and people who seek things that have been tested before. That’s why it’s very important to try to put ourselves in their shoes for a short time while trying to trace possible situations that could evolve. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that others could do things differently than we do, but it is always a real possibility that they do.
Following trends only for the sake of following trends can lead to failure instead of success (as expected). You never know…! Everything must be based on answers to real questions.
Your users: what are they searching for? What do they need? From where are they coming from? What do they want to achieve by using your design, product, website, etc? What is it that you would like them to achieve?
In a constantly moving world, it is always important to have a point of reference in which to make decisions and take directions.
What is the next step?