Design – Planning 101

For most businesses and organizations, design choices begin by defining their audience. Once you know WHO you are trying to reach, you then need to ask WHERE you are trying to reach them.

The medium matters. What works well in digital form rarely works well in print. Additionally, one demographic of people may be reached with Facebook ads, while another may be better for Instagram or SnapChat. Short videos can be great for certain people, while solid content marketing is better for others.

Every business needs to who they are trying to reach, where the audience can be found and what methods will be used to reach them.

Once these basics are defined, we begin flushing out the style and culture of the organization, so we can incorporate those elements into the unique design of logos, websites and ads that will follow. All of this information comes together to form something unique that stands out – to the right people.

To intentionally oversimplify this first design exercise, I’m using some art created for my personal family reunion. Areas of concern are:

  • Who is the audience: family members. What do we know about them? Friendly and highly interested audience covering all demographics. Planners knew nothing too edgy would be a good idea.
  • Location of audience: event (captured crowd, in-person at a family reunion)
  • Medium: banner and flag (print)

Background and intent: The planners wanted to tell a family story incorporating very simple imagery, knew they would be having conversations with people in person at an event and had plenty of time to flush out all the imagery used. So, they channeled a quilt-like feel that evoked key shared history and appealed to a diverse group.

Can you guess the areas of concern for these other designs?

  • Who is the audience:
  • Location of audience:
  • Medium:

Background and intent: social organization focused on issues and study around the philosophy of liberty. They envisioned the flame to be the human mind sparked and enlightened from learning. The basic design was easily converted to single color for t-shirts.

  • Who is the audience:
  • Location of audience:
  • Medium:

Background and intent: advocacy group focused on unity and action with a need to drive messaging around the exact words “Workplace Freedom” as they were re-branding controversial public policy in Ohio. The art above was used in social media, websites and animated for digital use.