May 6, 2014 | Think & Feel

I’ll Know It When I See It

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As a branding and communications designer, the statement “I’ll know it when I see it” is one of our most difficult challenges in a client relationship. No matter if the statement occurs at the beginning of, or during a design project, it gives us nothing to guide our design effort.

Whether it’s the development of a brand identity, a website, an annual report or any other form of branding communications, the design effort should begin with tangible objectives, and meaningful feedback during the design process. The same is true of other things that are designed. Imagine if “I’ll know it when I see it” was the design challenge statement going into the design of a new consumer product, a new automobile, a building or a new tool? Every design exercise should be guided by tangible objectives, at the beginning and throughout the project.

In the world of fine arts, the creation of a work of art can be inspired and directed by emotion or the personal expression of a concept or an idea. That’s the magic of a work of art! It’s an artistic exercise. However, in branding and communications design, we need a strategic target for the design effort. What’s the story to tell? The audience to reach? The tangible objectives to be met? The desired outcome? How will success be realized and measured?

That’s not to say there isn’t that magic moment, and a bit of a creative leap in arriving at an inspired solution. In every design assignment, there is usually a creative leap from stated objectives to differentiating ideas. However, the leap is most effectively made from the firm foundation of objectives that help identify the desired outcome.

It’s said that “design is intelligence made visible.” I think that thought can also be stated “design is objectives made visible.” Without tangible objectives, a direction, a purpose or a plan, design is just a shot in the dark.

Image Credit: Sharp Suits

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