I met a young entrepreneur the other day to discuss requirements he had for rebranding his small chain of retail outlets. He had done his homework and knew his sector inside-out and was ready for the next stage of expansion. He had a vision, and as anybody in his position would be, extremely excited about this stage of the business. Over a couple of chats and the formulation of a brief, we all got caught up in the moment. It was a good feeling. This is how a design project should start.
Brand and design projects don’t always instill that sense of excitement. There can be other factors at play, and years of experience can make you a little jaded, but it made me realise, that for a small business client like this, it’s just as important for the client and the designers to share the emotional journey as it is the design process.
The investigative part of the process, the part where you try to get as close to what the client wants, whilst imparting good design is where the relationship is built. And trust starts when your client recognises his vision reflected back at him through you and your work.
There will start to be an equal need for him to want to work with you to realise his dream, and from you, the need to fulfill those goals and perhaps show him something he hadn’t thought of, in addition.
This project was a pleasure to work on, so the excitement continued. When we got to the final presentation of the positioning and the creative work, it was fun because we had built the relationship and understanding to a point where we were confident of a positive outcome.
After a certain number of years in the business, it is easy to forget the client’s sensibilities/emotions during the design journey and what it means to them. You tend to home in on the design itself and you live with it for weeks which somewhat takes the shine off the newness and excitement of the final work.
It’s important to take a moment and remember that for the business owner it’s often personal and that for them, this process will not happen too many times in the course of their business. It is momentous and exciting, and it’s important that they see those emotions are reflected back at them, signaling your interest beyond the mechanics of the design.
Karen Selby – Forty49