Distill the message to its essence. An image. A word. An idea.
It’s true for speaking, it’s true for writing and it’s true for graphic design.
While a client, and their audience, does not speak like a designer, he or she, like all of us, has a fine visual imagination, a theatre in the mind. What’s fun is that my skill at putting solid words on vague images—harnessing the mechanics of design—lights up the presentation of my client’s brand or trademark.
My work cuts through the marketing voodoo about branding and design and offers my clients help in useful attractive ways. It is not enough that my designs are clear to me, my challenge is to make it clear to my client and their market. This means my designs must work in practical ways; there is no passing off pretty pictures when the art I speak of is commercial.
Though a design look is simple, it goes through a sequence of steps. I start with this one, learned from the Bauhaus school…
Determine function; question form.
I begin by asking what a work should do. Match copy to concept. Question who is the audience, what do they know about my client’s business now before they see this piece, what do I want them to know about the client’s business after they see it, why will they believe you?
This process has no effect on the intuitive sense of design. In other words critical analysis does not strip me of my artistry, any more than knowing chocolate melts at 98.3°C makes it taste any less delicious. It does, however, put a sharp point on my ability to state a design problem I have observed and being able to describe its solutions, and then bring the skills I have to create them.