When starting a new client project, I always ask three questions:
- Who is your audience? Or, what kind of audience or clientele are you trying to reach?
- What is the one thing you want your prospective audience or clientele to take away?
- What is your vision?
All of these questions are important, but I like to focus on #3. What do you see? What are your desires for the project? Where do you see it going?
I’ll work with your current brand identity, but if you don’t have one (or if I’m designing your logo), I’ll ask about things like your preferred color palette and overall thoughts on look and feel. If I’m designing your website, I’ll ask about function—who’s going to be coming to your site, and for what reasons. I’ll ask for links to other sites whose designs you’re attracted to.
My research process also includes gathering information about your business and your services, your philosophy or approach, your vision/mission/values. This connects with question #2: the “take away.” Usually this is specific info about services or products, or your contact info or links, but it’s also wrapped within a felt sense or feeling.
I’ve had clients say, “I want my website to feel like prospective clients are sitting down and having a conversation with me,” or “I want my website to feel like the dance classes I teach,” or “I’m inspired by this particular tarot deck; can you utilize this kind of illumination in my business card?”
After considering form, content and function, I gather as much of your personality, warmth and quirkiness, and it’s this kind of felt sense or feeling that I try to flesh out in my design. “I want it to feel like…” I translate your felt sense or abstract need into a concrete design concept and final product that drives new business, new fans, and new warm fuzzies.