Thinking designers are very different to ‘do it’ designers.
‘Do it’ designers are people that will reproduce what you give to them (they’ll turn your napkin sketch into a digital file, no problem). They will do exactly as you ask, as they think that this will keep you happy. Now there’s nothing wrong with a ‘do it designer’ if you already have clarity about your brand, how you want people to feel, your brand promise, your target audience (side note: everyone is not your target audience) and a very clear idea and strategy in place. My experience is that most people don’t.
When you start a business you know how to do what you’ve been trained in, but when it comes to legal, accounting, branding and marketing (just to name a few), you’re often a little lost. The saying ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’, is never more prevalent than when trying to run a business. This is a time where you need to build up an external team of professionals that you can bounce ideas off and discuss growth, strategy and direction with, while knowing that it is all in confidence.
Most people start a business or campaign just needing a logo or marketing material. There is no clear message or brand strategy, tone or call to action in place. This is where thinking designers are worth their weight in gold. We will ask you questions, delve into your target audience, find out what personality your brand is and who it will appeal to. We ask you questions, we ask you why? Why? WHY? We keep asking until we are quite clear that you are clear that you know… why!
Thinking designers look at the big picture and help you build a true brand rather than simply designing a business card and wishing you well.
Here are 5 reasons to use a thinking designer
1. Think brand
We are very big on building brands at WRD so this one is near and dear to our hearts. Too often we see people getting cheap logos off sites such as 99 Designs, then they get their cheap business cards off Vista Print and a free website off Wix. Having someone design your logo and collateral who doesn’t know you, your market, your business values etc is like having a vet operate on your body. Not the most effective outcome. Building a brand is more involved than simply having a logo. There are so many more elements required to build a brand such as colour, language and tone through to dress, engagement and training. Thinking designers know this, and take all elements of brand experience into mind when developing a brand.
2. Think strategy
Having a business is one thing, but having a clear strategy about how, where, what and who your brand is all about, will make all the difference between the success and failure of a business – no matter how much work you put into it. Take Youi for example. They exploded onto the market clearly pitting themselves as competitors to the big insurance companies such as NRMA and AAMI. Their message and strategy was simple. “There’s no-one you’er than you”. This strategic positioning communicates the tailored approach that Youi has adopted to their insurance policies, differentiating them from other insurers in the market. It’s bold, memorable and points out what their competitors don’t do. In a nutshell, it’s a great strategy.
3. Think concept
Conceptual thinking is what most refer to as ‘out of the box’ thinking. This ability to see what others can’t, to question and come up with something that will set you apart from your competitors. This is the stuff that thinking designers do all the time, our brains are trained to think conceptually,and it’s these thoughts and ideas that people should value the most. Not only can thinking designers come up with the concepts, but they then have the skill and ability to convert them into a visual representation of the idea. This is true talent and is worth bucket loads more than most clients pay. How often have you had an idea but just couldn’t write or draw it as that part was too hard?
Thinking designers will question who your target audience is. They will adjust the design accordingly to ensure that your brand is appealing to the correct market. There is no point in using a sophisticated, minimalist Mercedes Benz design for a Hyundai Getz advert. It wouldn’t appeal to the correct target audience, so your message will be lost and sales will drop. By thinking about the market you can ensure that your business is always sending the appropriate message to the buyer at the appropriate time.
5. Think BIG
Looking at the big picture is a substantial part of a thinking designers role. What if you were to grow, what if you were to expand out of your current geographic area, what if you wanted to sell your business one day? All of these big thinking questions can affect the look, feel and message of your design. Having someone talk through a big picture vision can help add clarity to your idea and allow you to easily choose which road to take when you come to a crossroad – and trust me, you will at some point come to a crossroad!
WRD is pleased to be leaders in thinking design. We are constantly pushing the boundaries for our clients, giving them more ideas, concepts, strategies and support than they would get from our imitators. We live and breathe branding. We know it, love it and live for it. We celebrate when our clients have a win and we brainstorm when they need addition help. WRD is made up of a team of true thinking designers, so if you are looking for a team that can work WITH you rather than FOR you and give yourself the best possible leverage for future success, then engage with our team.
Call 02 4732 4766 or email us to make an appointment.
Written by branding specialist Debbie O’Connor
Consultant, Strategist, Keynote Speaker