Designing starts off with a blank page, screen or canvas. You'll often see designers doodling and scribbling nonsensical lines and dots in the idea exploration towards a concept. The first stage of this design process though happens before pen to paper or click to screen. It's the questions and understanding of the audience and purpose of the final design.
We've put together a little insight into this process and what it generally includes.
Every good design process starts with clearly defining the target audience. You aren’t designing for yourself, although it's good to like your design.
Understanding the target audience
Creating a view of the audience is an important first step to the design process. This may seem like an obvious statement however this may not always be a deliberate step. Going through this process will highlight any differences between what you may think your audience responds to and what they actually do. Ultimately the tone and creative direction will be vastly different based on the audience.
We believe that any good designer should understand their role is to not only provide a service but to be a partner that understands the client's strategic objectives, challenges and parameters. Part of that job is to ask the questions that help us get a deeper understanding of our clients, their audience and what the project objectives are.
Purpose and use of what you are designing
Ensuring there is a clear definition of what the project or deliverable is aiming to achieve. For example in the case of a website - is it informational? is it a sales tool to generate leads? is it selling product. For a brochure - will it be used once for a specific conference? will it be used indefinitely as the initial touchpoint for sales and marketing when introducing your businesses products or service?
Research and competitive analysis
The research stage looks to get unbiased information. It may involve asking clients, desktop research, brand audits and competitor review. For example, our clients may have a perception of themselves as a premium brand but all the existing collateral may not represent this and their audience may not view them as premium.
Attributes to consider
When building the attributes of the audience, some areas to consider are:
- Demographics - e.g. age, gender, location.
- Behaviours - e.g. time poor, short attention span.
- Aspirations - e.g. grow business, have fun.
- Creating personas can help with this process.
Once there is an understanding of the audience, the design gets moving.
As an agency, we aim to produce the first concept. This first concept is exactly that, a starting point to create the design conversation and refine from there. It's great when it is nailed first go, but understanding that this doesn't always happen and design is a process ensures it's a painless process.
Design is a delicate balance of colours; fonts; shapes; images; text; content and tone all blended to form the ultimate design touchpoint for the audience with some sort of return.
Let us know what you think.