Your response to our last post, “Ode to the amateur logo,” covered such a wide range of viewpoints — from “clients are clueless” to “my client changed my life” — that we figured it would be helpful to publish an article on the topic. We used designer Karen Barranco’s brilliant logo for the Jennifer Diamond Cancer Foundation as our model and laid bare the process she used to create it.
How do you design for a client? (“client” being a broad term that includes committees, employers, whoever it is you’re designing for)
Rule #1: Listen.
Rule #2: Embrace the client’s vision.
Rule #3: Write it down. You and the client sign it.
Rule #4: Design that. Don’t design something else.
That gets you started on the right foot. Then, of course, you do the work. There are many paths to a good design. All involve a process of evolution. Our article illustrates how Karen morphed a dragonfly into an angelic image of beauty, simplicity and dignity. Especially striking is that her logo not only befits a premium cancer foundation, it can belong to only this one.
Key is the creative brief. The stuff you write down plays two major roles. One, it keeps the goals in front of everyone. You’re a designer; you know how easy it is to follow the form and lose sight of the function. Two, it gives you and the client a way to judge the results. This keeps the conversation at a high level. Everyone asks, “does the design convey confidence, trust and stability?” not, “why did you use a two-point line instead of a hairline?”
We expect the article to help you with every design from this point forward.
Once you’ve read it, I’d like to know if it left you with questions, and if there’s anything you can add to it. And you may want to visit Karen’s site, where you can read more about her process.
Before & After subscribers: “Design from a creative brief” is the current article of your subscription. Download it, read it, and get back to me.
Everyone else: Buy the article, read it, and get back to me.
About your projects . . .
We’ve invited all of you to send us projects that you’d like to talk about. I should mention that while we read every submission — often two or three times — we have time to respond to very few, and fewer still become articles. If you have the time, write anyway, and please forgive the silence.
That said, if you write, be at least a bit specific. We get questions like, “Should I use two folds or three for my company brochure?” and, “My current logo works, but I think it could be better. What do you think?”
What we think is that we need more information.
Good place to start practicing those creative briefs.
For more on creative-brief-based design, we recommend the following issues, which are available only in print: