Join Bill Gardner for an in-depth discussion in this video Visual discovery, part of Logo Development: Identity Design and Discovery.
- We have an incredibly visual task in front of us, and today, much of our discussion has been the written or the oral word. It's time we start allowing the client to consider the visual representation they've offered up to the public over the years. It's time to perform a visual audit. Hustler mowers was a textbook case, so it was easy to gather an internal collection of all their print materials past and present. Business cards to invoices, catalogs, correspondence materials and literature of every kind.
That even meant internal technical documents that helped us better understand them. Yes, the internet it a trove of information, and in their case, even a bit cringe worthy. But it's hard to craft a smart brand if you can't see the print materials impressionable clients have been clinging to for years. Physically seeing all these specimens is one of the quickest ways for your client to see the lack of coordination and disparity of market messages the firm has been championing over the years.
I have seldom seen this collection come together that a client doesn't suddenly start to edit down the number of actual print items they need. This phase also serves you well to identify unique parameters to this client or even to their industry. Much as Hustler had this strong horizontal surface on their mowers, imagine this is a theater and they're building has a vertical marquis. If you come back with a highly horizontal solution, they may be challenged to pay your invoice.
Imagine working for a trucking firm or in the construction or agriculture industry where a ball cap is a primary marketing tool. If you design a logo that is heavily dependent on gradation, you may be surprised to learn that embroidering an effective gradient is close to impossible. Keep your colors flat. Will the new identity cut into the product or stencil? Will it be used on corrugated cartons that use crude flexo-printing? Or is it embossed in the sole of a shoe? Or always viewed in a 16 by 16 pixel favicon? Identifying early the challenges on the road to an effective logo for your client, will save you both from grave heartache.
If this client has a sales team, or even if they don't, I'm willing to bet they have a file of their competitor's literature or intel as well. This is going to be valuable in trying to determine your client's point of differentiation. It may also give you a more complete perspective on the industry, and provide clues regarding the perceived weaknesses of your own client. Hopefully these files will provide you the flavor of the industry your client competes in. Is the industry pretty stoic and factual, or is there an easy, gentle tone to it? Is this a field stilted in legal jargon, or is it more of a handshake is my word? Getting a grasp on the persona of the industry keeps you from showing up to a formal in yoga pants.
I'm not suggesting you have to fully reflect your industry, but there are customer expectations, and if you have to pick your battles, this may not be the one you want to choose.
- Preparation and research
- Client motivation
- Asking questions to understand your client's business
- Research and discovery
- Discovering business personalities
- Identifying competitors
- Crafting your design road map