True or False? Designers don't need to understand the business

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Research and knowledge of the client’s business are core to creating great design.

My sister used to be an amateur designer. She dabbed at designing logos for her friends’ passion projects and stuff. Once she got more confident, she scored a gig with this start-up that was all about eco-friendly cleaning products.

Super pumped, she started designing without knowing the business or its goals. She made this cute cartoon character with a broom and dustpan, thinking it’d be a fun way to show off a cleaning product.

But when she showed the logo to the start-up peeps, they were like, “Uh, no.”

They told her their brand was about being green and eco-friendly, and the mascot just didn’t hit the mark.

My sister was shocked and felt pretty bad. She apologized, promised to do better, and didn’t even ask for money for the next round of changes.

She did her homework this time, and after talking with the team, she made a sweet new logo with a leaf and water droplet to show off the product’s natural vibe.

The start-up crew loved it, and my sister learned a huge lesson about really getting her clients.

Falling into the trap

Sometimes, designers are rushed to crank out work ASAP and don’t do enough research. Some people think designers don’t need to know the business to make good designs, but that’s totally false.

False, false, false! Understanding the company is super important for creating designs that actually work with their goals.

Top 3 things the designer needs to know

The company’s vision and mission

A designer’s got to know what the company does, its values, its target audience, and what makes it unique. If not, they might make a logo that’s way off base, like what happened to my sister.

Production constraints and budget

Knowing the limits of a project helps designers make smart design choices that won’t break the bank or be impossible to pull off.

The campaign’s main goal

Designers who get the objective can communicate better with clients and make sure their designs line up with the project’s goals. 

This is especially true when there are so many approvers or design revisions that even the clients lose track of their primary goal.

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Clients and businesses evolve and so must our design knowledge

Knowledge is power

So, if you’re a designer or work with them, don’t fall for the idea that you don’t need to understand the business, no matter how in a hurry you might be! Most importantly, don’t assume that business A is similar to business B.

Research is critical to making awesome designs and building strong connections with clients. We do it all the time at Deer Designer before creating a client’s first design request.

And if you’re working with designers, encourage them to learn more about your business so they can make designs that really support your goals.

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