Monday, January 09, 2012

Design Isn't a Fashion Show

Okay. Now your client or boss wants to see some design ideas for a project they have in mind. What do you show them? Well, if anything, it shouldn't be a set of final designs.

Choosing a design approach isn't like a fashion show. Here's what I mean. In the last post, I discussed how important it is to create a visual design plan based on a creative brief. This plan is a rough sketch that allows the client to select the best visual approach to answer the design brief objectives. When this is done well, the client should be able to choose an approach that is based on a set of objective criteria. Following, if needed, a copywriter should also be able to write text that works in conjunction with that visual approach and with the communication goals.

At this point it is now important for the designer to create a prototype of what the finished product will look like, and the client must give approval to go ahead with design production. A prototype can include a cover page and an inside page of a book, the cover of a brochure, or a home page and secondary page of a website. The client should be able to get a sense of how the design and copy are beginning to work together and the project is progressing.

This is unlike a fashion show, where various designs get a thumbs up or down based on the tastes of the client. And where the designer works endlessly on all sorts of design approaches with no idea whether it meets any communication goals. Although the tastes of the client may influence a decision, it shouldn't be the critical factor. Rather, how well it meets the objectives of the design brief, and stays true to the visual plan should be the main determiners of the design approach.

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