How do you handle smaller organisations who approach you for identity development but cannot afford a proper discovery process?

03.01.2010 / Question submitted by: Seven25

Studio Junglecat:

A great question, and a challenge I face continually working with small or new businesses, nonprofits, and visual or performing artists with tight budgets. Because these organizations are typically small, their mission, culture, particular challenges, and near- and long-term objectives likely all exist in the hearts and minds of a small number of people. By talking openly with those involved, asking the relevant questions, and getting at the essence of who they are or who they’d like to be, you can pretty quickly gather a sense of direction. These conversations cost nothing but do require time and preparation. However, the more clearly you can outline the objectives and parameters at the outset of the project, the closer in you can start on exploration, thereby recouping some of the resources (time) allotted to discovery. Additionally, I believe that qualified designers bring a certain “x” factor to their work, which is a kind of informed intuition making it possible to connect the dots and bring all the disparate elements together into something meaningful and valuable. This comes from experience, cultural awareness, and an open, collaborative relationship with the client, which nets mutually beneficial results.
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How do you bring color selection out of the realm of subjective client preferences and into the concrete, strategic arena?

02.15.2010 / Question submitted by: Hexanine

Seven25:

Colour is often a tricky element in identity development and there are many ways of managing it. In my experience choosing the right approach depends on your client, the number of people involved in the process, the nature of the project and your relationship with your client. When embarking on a new project I explain our process and broach the topic of approvals and feedback. If any phase of development is measured based on specific goals then gauging colour appropriateness should be no different.
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How do you persuade your client to use research in the most effective fashion?

01.31.2010 / Question submitted by: Ruth Galloway & Glenn Kiernan

Hexanine:

Clients are often the best sources of information about their own organizations—they know their products, mission, and offerings inside and out. But with that familiarity often comes a kind of tunnel vision that limits their perspective. We try to combine the best of our clients’ expertise with our own fresh, “informed outsider” viewpoints. To help build a foundation for good concepts, we can provide clients with customer profiles and schema, trend forecasts, and basic field observations. These are a far cry from the traditional focus group methods, and aren’t used to support already-existing design directions, but to provide a transparent framework clients can see—why we want to focus their communication in certain areas. Usually the biggest barrier to good basic design research isn’t budgets—many of these methods can be done inexpensively. Short, rigid timelines and a “have it done yesterday” mentality are more likely to keep clients from seeing the value in this sort of analysis.
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What Determines the Number of Concepts you Show to a Client?

01.16.2010 / Question submitted by: Steve Zelle

Ruth Galloway & Glenn Kiernan:

There is no hard a fast rule to the number of concepts we show to our clients. It varies depending on the type of project. Ideally we aim to show only three solutions.

If we are working with a mature identity or packaging brand these three routes will include an evolution (if the brief requires), a mid point, and a revolution. Sometimes if we are confident enough with the rationale, the consumer insights and we have complete courage in our conviction, those moments when you know you have the winner, we will present just one route. This rarely happens as the process usually takes the client on a journey from their present position to the winning idea. We never just present concepts to ‘fill’ a presentation, each concept presented must fit the brief and be something we would happy to develop and be proud to show if chosen by the client.
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