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

Author: Seven25. 4 replies. Share yours.

Creative Process Discussion

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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  1. Steve Zelle

    Great answer. What is essential for me is that a reduced budget should not remove the need for some form of discovery. Clients that come asking for that step to be skipped are not looking for an identity but generic clip art to decorate their letterhead. The “x” factor that Studio Junglecat speaks of means I know if I can properly meet the clients needs with reduced resources. If I can’t, then I don’t do the work.

  2. Isabelle

    Great answer indeed. I agree that we can add value to the conversation and “fill in the blanks” somewhat. However I feel that this is one of the most valuable skill sets we bring to the table: our ability to see the big picture and distill meaning even before moving on to expressing it visually. If we don’t convey the value of that service to our clients, or charge for it appropriately, we may continue to be perceived as executors rather than thinkers and strategists.

  3. rajesh satyarthi

    I don’t skip any step of the design process because that’s what makes it effective, what i do is compress them in terms of time and depth e.g. research on industry involves its history as well but in these projects we can just ask to client and refer some online resources.

    its not best but hey “better. cheaper. faster. pick two”.

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