Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Language of Design

Last week, I attended a conference on emerging technologies. I met several fascinating people: venture capitalists, bank CEOs, scientists, physicians, software developers, etc. As in most networking situations a particular question came up in our conversations

"What do you do?"

I mentioned that I own a graphic design firm like I usually do when I'm talking to friends or family. Except, I received a much different response.

"Oh, you mean like a sign shop?"

"So, you're a printer?"

"You probably make t-shirts and stuff like that, right?"

Uh, no.

There's a particular language groups of people respond to and it is important to quickly tune in to that audience. This was our audience and I immediately realized I was not communicating on their level. Once I started speaking about brand development and corporate identity, they were on board. I was no longer some kid with a t-shirt shop. I was a corporate business partner.

The terms and language you use about your business may have completely different meanings to different types of people. Is it difficult for people to understand? Does it get the point across? Do people tune out when you speak to them? Are they engaged by your collateral materials or do they throw it out?

The message you communicate to your audience is as important an element in design as the visuals. When a company can put thought and effort into its message, the design is powerful and people take notice.

©2008 David Scott | Cosmic: Graphic Design & Branding

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