If you’re stuck trying to make sense of a clients brief or explanation of what they do, try simplifying the task and start again.
I will read the online form that potential clients take the time to fill yet all too often feel I am reading an obituary rather than a colourful and useful introduction to their business.
Not everyone finds it easy to verbalise such things or even consider that this business has potential to be a strong personality with a dynamic heart and soul. Often seen in a sterile and practical way, devoid of feeling and emotions.
My end game, deciding if I should take on a new project, is to get a more intimate awareness of this business. Only then can I truly gauge if my design style is an appropriate fit. I believe it’s wrong to take on all logo and identity projects, even if you don’t feel it’s a right fit.
Show genuine interest in what they do
The following paragraph is an example of what I will send to a client in order to dig further under the skin. It is usually enough to evoke a deeper and emotional response from the client. Helping them to better perceive their own business, and how they describe it to others.
The idea is for us, both client and designer, to feel more more connected.
This is NOT an exact copy of what I send, it’s just the points I usually make, shoehorned together. Feel free to borrow, edit and do as you like with this. It may sound a bit ‘guh’ and ‘blah’, but it can work a treat if you follow it through. Certainly will give you an idea of what I angle for.
A request for deeper insight
We are at a point where a deeper understanding and view of your business is needed. I have the facts, I have the details, but what I don’t have is any emotion, passion and soul. Without these, we are like surgeons, not creatives. We might be able to fix and cure, but we cannot create and build (plastic surgery aside).
Could you pelase explain more about what you do, how you want/need to be perceived by potential clients etc. View me as someone who does not know anything about your business, I am someone you are trying to describe in detail, the heart and soul of what you do.
The trick is to imagine introducing a loved one to a dear friend for the first time, you will talk excitedly, you will be animated and passionate whilst explaining all the virtues of this person. The good points and maybe the bad, and the areas that are just unknown. Sometimes we find it awkward to talk openly about a person but we may get excited and motivated about something else in our lives, whatever sparks up that pilot light, use that to help.
It may feel awkward at first and quite foreign, but it is essential that you relate to your own company in an emotional and deeper way. Only then can you really understand what is required to brand and market yourself accurately.
To be able to visualize your business in a deep and meaningful way, is to see and hear all that you know, feel and think about it. Look at is as a person with an evolving personality, one that you are helping to put on the right track in life.
Without that deeper and meaningful description, we can only touch the surface with a visual representation of the company identity. If you want future clients and customers to build a profitable and emotional bond with your company, we would have to ideally built in a level of emotion to start with.
This is where some fail, business owners failing to understand the real driving force of a successful brand and company.
Back to me
As a designer you may feel uncomfortable with this, but it can be so important to creating a really strong identity. The times I have needed to put this in action, I have seen a real change in the clients response. One minute the brief is very solid but lacking in soul, the next minute I can really sense the real excitement and drive that made them start it up in the first place.
Often you then hear them saying what a useful exercise it was, to be reminded of some of these most basic feelings. This method is not needed all the time of course, but some of those projects that need that ‘zest’, it’s a good thing, trust me.
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