Designing for others is always a challenge, and when we sit down with clients, one of the first things we remind them is that we’re not actually designing for them, we’re designing for their target audience. This may seem obvious, but put yourselves in the shoes of someone who is having something designed. It’s really, really hard to not judge it based on your own opinion, but through the eyes of the person you’re trying to reach.
We work with many different types of clients across a multitude of industries and we absolutely love what we do every day. When we get started on the creative journey, we challenge them to take a moment to step outside of themselves and put themselves instead into the shoes of their prospective client. Who are you trying to reach? What is important to them? What design style or messaging will resonate with them most?
Sounds easy right? Well, this is actually the most challenging part of designing for others and the struggle here really is understanding and identifying the difference between subjective and objective feedback.
Subjective design and feedback is influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.
Objective design and feedback is not influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions. It looks at the work and focuses on one primary question: “Is this driving people to do what we want them to do?” – It’s focused on function over form and understands that while being visually appealing is important, all of that is lost if it isn’t creating the desired response or action.
We all know what we like and don’t like, sometimes not until we see it first, but that immediate reaction is visceral – and deeply personal. So how do you remove your own personal preferences from the equation? Even for designers, and for me in my role managing projects and client relations, this is more difficult that it might seem.
At the start of each client engagement we schedule a two day Understand Your Brand workshop where we discuss the Brand Identity, mission, and overall goals, but most importantly – the target audience.
We challenge our clients to create a target audience persona that includes not only the name, age and gender but also general lifestyle, shopping habits, likes and dislikes, and what’s most important to them. We get really specific.
The best part is when we all try our hand at drawing the personas we come up with – there have been some doozies believe me, we’re not all amazing artists here at Proof. But that’s all part of the fun.
At the end of the day the most important thing is that we walk away from the session with a full understanding of who we are designing for. Not our client, certainly not ourselves, but for our client’s target audience.
This is what leads us to focusing on objective, not subjective feedback. And objective feedback is critical to ensuring we design the best final product for our client, and more importantly, for their audience.