For the past two weeks, I've been busy working up a design concept for a new client, and I thought I'd share a bit of the process here...

It all started with a site visit to the location with the client, then some research of the brand images of the products to be represented. By combining those factors, I managed to develop a whole new expression of the brand image for this company & its products. (And while that sounds oh-so-thrilling to conceptualize and develop, it is a daunting undertaking!) Once I have a visual image to work from, I can move on to creating materials to show my inner 'vision' to the client. I begin with a 'masthead' style sheet:

This is the overall visual concept of what the brand is and how it is communicated to the customer. It is color, style, energy, and mood. (When presented to the client, it has typography on it. I've shared the pre-text version here, since I can't disclose who the client is yet.) That being said, I don't develop brand mission, iconography, or ethos. The client has already done that. I combine everything they use to define their brand image (taglines, colors, icons, labels, ads, etc.) and combine it into a visual plan for their space.

Along with that, I write up a design development report that outlines the way I approach their project. I discuss their brand image and target market. I discuss the objectives of the project - why a new space, or redesign of an existing space? And I present my choices with facts to back them up. I'm not a decorator choosing a color because it's the 'HOT' thing right now, I'm a designer helping the client market themselves through their use of space. I've become a member of their marketing & advertising team at this point. It's kind of like I'm pitching an ad campaign to them, really.

More of the process: I create a 'Materials' sheet, that specifies the tools used to express the brand...

The materials to be used for textiles, flooring, walls, trim, accents, lighting, cabinets, furnishings, etc. are presented here. It's taking the masthead sheet to the next level - 'let's look closer'.

Then I create a representation of the way I 'see' parts of this space when complete...

So by the time you see this image, you think of the masthead imagery combined with the materials sheet, you see this photo of a room, and you can begin to imagine actually standing in the completed room. I've just taken the client on a visual journey from concept to reality.

I prepare some perspective sketches, too, but I find it's so much more effective to create a 'picture' of a design for the client to see than to sketch it out. I use pages and pages of tearsheets from magazines and catalogs and actual fabric samples and all kinds of materials to create this 'virtual' image. If I were technologically brilliant, I'd do it all on the computer. I'm not, so I go the old-school route of cut n' paste: make a big mess all over the studio floor, move things around on paper a few dozen times, finally step back and say 'YES!' as the fully developed, 3-D vision inside my head emerges on paper for everyone else to see.

In all, I prepared five sketches, nine style sheets, and three floorplan/overheads for this design. And that's the third go-round. After one and two, the facility footprint changed and I had to start from scratch on the floorplan & sketches. I don't mind - each step leads to better ideas, clearer execution, simpler terms to relay the ideas.

Tomorrow, my ideas go from the client, whom I submitted them to, to their corporate office for approval. Once I get word to continue, I'll share more with you as this process unfolds. For now, it's classified.
(Which means I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you... thankyouverymuchMaverick)

This project really couldn't have come at a better time... One of the seminars I am preparing for the Denver Gift Show is on developing a Brand Image. I have lots of info already, but being immersed in the process right now has brought up many of the things I want to share about this vital part of merchandising your business and your products. I'm really looking forward to it!

1 comment:

  1. First time I've been to your blog...and I'm inspired! My recent assignment is designing an urban feel in a church! The building is new construction...I'm not a decorator by trade, but have an "eye" for how things should/could be. Any tips/design ideas welcome for this adventure!