Building a Foundation
“The visual part is fun,” says Thomas Hull, a principal at Rigsby Hull in Houston. “You want to cut right to the chase quickly.” Taking the time to plan, however, is one of the most crucial stages of any successful project. Without knowing exactly what you’re trying to achieve, it’s nearly impossible to come up with an appropriate solution. So, where do you start if it’s not at the keyboard? Ben Graham, a principal at Turnstyle in Seattle, believes there are three things you need to understand right away:
1. The client: do you know who the company really is and what challenges it faces?
2. The target audience: whom does your client want to reach and what will this group find compelling?
3. The relationship between the two: what will be believable to the audience?
These three knowledge points provide the foundation for working on any project, and if you want to truly understand each one, you’ll need to spend some quality time getting to know your client. When Tim Hartford, president of Hartford Design in Chicago works with a new company, his team sits down with the key players and goes through a list of important questions. They’ll ask about the business, target audience, and competition. Most clients can provide fairly detailed information about all three. Also, asking for samples of the company’s existing materials offers further insight.