Design with the end in mind

Amanda Homeniuk

Let’s say you are about to renovate your house. You’ve decided that you’ve had enough of the 1970’s kitchen and chipped linoleum and it’s gotta go. You’ve saved up your money and carefully chosen a contractor who is trustworthy, reliable and does excellent work.

So when you first meet with this person to discuss the upcoming renovation, you probably have a reasonably clear idea of what you like. Chances are you’ve looked at magazines, searched through thousands of photos on Houzz.com, PVR’d episodes of Fixer Upper on HGTV and maybe even taken photos of your friend’s kitchens when they weren’t looking. There may not be one clear, exact version, but you can piece it together - these colours, this door style, this floor tile etc.

When you show these examples to your contractor, they in turn have a general idea of the style and scope of what you want for your renovation. They come up with a plan based on your input and everyone is on the same page right from the start.

So why the detailed story about home renovations? Well...this is pretty much the same process when it comes to discussing your upcoming design project (minus the 1970’s decor.)

When you come to Sproing for help with your visual communications, we like to begin the creative process with something called a design discovery meeting. It’s a conversation that’s intended to provide context for the design team and help us get up to speed with your business and understand your client’s needs, behaviours and attitudes. We want to confirm that what matters to you is in line with what matters to your customers and hopefully strike the perfect balance of both.

What is often missing for us in these meetings is the visual inspiration and ideas that YOU bring to the conversation - you know...those pictures I mentioned earlier that you would show your contractor of your dream kitchen? If your design project is a new logo for example, we would love to see some examples of logos that you find interesting or inspiring. Maybe it’s a poster, or an advertisement, maybe a website banner. These are all examples of visual communication that could help inform the design direction and get us both started on the same page.

Maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t want you to copy something…” Wow, neither do we. But as creatives, part of our process is to look at what’s out there and glean inspiration from styles, colours and typography in order to come up with something that’s uniquely yours. Maybe you like the drawing style of a logo graphic, or maybe it’s the style of font - whatever it is that you like, is a piece of the design puzzle that we will assemble.

The great thing is that visual inspiration doesn’t have to come from something similar to what you’re doing. We had a client who came to us with a logo design project and something they mentioned as an inspiration was a blog about furniture design. The rustic style of those furniture photos, indirectly became part of the visual style of the new logo. So you might want to consider looking online for inspiration in a totally different industry from your own, or photography with colours or styles that might influence the design.

We designers are visual thinkers and an image is worth a MILLION words to us. So if you are embarking on a new design project with Sproing, here are some things we would like you to think about/gather in advance of your design discovery meeting:

  • Do you have some design examples from other businesses that you think would be good for your project? (ex. Newspaper ads, brochures, business cards, websites) It’s also helpful sometimes to show us things that you don’t like too...so we know what to avoid.

  • Could you bring in some photos of things that speak to the visual style you like/want to use? (Magazine clippings, pinterest photos - think about colours, textures, graphics, illustrations...)

  • Do you have examples of designs you’ve done in the past? (old business cards, newspaper ads)

Between this, and the strange and wonderful questions we will ask you during this conversation we hope to rule-out certain design directions that show potential for failure and help increase chances for building your successful brand.

We aren’t just interested in creating a design that looks good, it also needs to function well and resonate with you and your customers.

The more visual ammunition you can bring to this conversation - the better our chances of making something truly fantastic together.

Ready to get started?

Kitchen image via http://www.designsponge.com/20...

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