Appeal | Personal | Lucy Michell

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Lucy Michell/Appeal/Personal

Appeal is to attract, and what us as designers are attracted to is not necessarily what the everyday consumer is attracted to. Throughout my four years in the design program I have struggled with what I am attracted to as a designer to what the everyday consumer is attracted to. Obviously we have learned that you can't design for everyone but you must design for someone, and that someone cannot be yourself...unless you are putting together your portfolio.

As a designer it is hard not to design in my own aesthetic, but that is what a successful designer does. They are able to achieve what they are trying to portray in a multitude of different style and new ways. When showing my portfolio to my mentor he said you have a very apparent style and that's a good thing to have but you have to be able to be as effective in other styles, which therefore make you more desirable in the working design world.

I am currently doing freelance work for French Meadow Bakery and Café, working on the advertisements and art-directing photography shoots. It was difficult at first because my personal style is so far removed from their modern, country, classic aesthetic, that I had a hard time visualizing what kind of ads would fit with their aesthetic and what would be appealing to their audience. So I drilled the owner and manager with questions and since I had already worked there as a server for over a year I had a pretty good idea of their clientele. What I learned was that I could apply my problem solving skills, that I use for my all my projects, but I couldn't apply my own personal style. And we as designers have to be ok with that. Once you can get past that and research the situation the final outcome will be so much better.

I have come away with that experience with the knowledge that we must always know who we are designing for and we must put aside our own personal aim to completely change the world with our personal styles.

Obviously the client must approve our designs, but ultimately, the real moneymaker is the consumer. We have the job of not only appealing to the client but also the consumer. What is interesting is that you have to sell your design to the client with the consumer in mind; the client may think something is one way but the real determinate are the consumers. In the Brad Gap Marty Neumeier states "a brand is not what you say it is it is what they say it is." They meaning the consumer, you have to make your client aware that it is the customer that defines their brand, and that like you must maneuver away from their personal feelings. So I reiterate how important it is to understand your audience and steer yourself away from designing it for yourself. You are not the consumer (only in very slim circumstances.)

We all have what we think is the right design or the right thing to do, so it's very difficult to step outside of that. Our speaker on Tuesday from 3M said something to the degree that, everybody thinks they are a genius, the one with the right ideas, but with that attitude nothing ever gets done. The importance of understanding your audience as well as working within a group are just a few of things needed to successfully appeal to your consumer. Everyone is always going to have their own opinion, but the ones that can compromise, know their audience and work with others are the designers that can successfully appeal to their target audience as well as feel ownership on their personal designs.

Neumeier, Marty. The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance between Business Strategy and Design. Indianapolis, IN: Pearson Professional Education, 2003. Print.

Berry, Nathan. "3M Product Design." Senior Seminar. McNeal Hall, St.Paul. 23 Mar. 2010. Lecture.

I think your post really rings true to designers today. A lot of people don't understand that we need to please the clients, and not ourselves. However, I think that each and every one of us puts our own style to a project whether it's creating a great design or maintaining a positive attitude. Understanding and pleasing our clients is probably one of the most important things we need to do as designers and it can't be ignored. With personal experience, I have realized that the client really does know what they want, and all we need to do is listen!

The most difficult part of working as a designer is working with people... we have to both communicate our ideas well when they really are great, but be able to see when there is a better idea or approach from a colleague.

this is so true. Sometimes I find it so frustrating trying to design to a client's needs and not the way i want something to look, because I don't think that THEY know how consumers look at THEIR business, and i think i know the best way to design something, not the way they want it to be designed. it's hard to leave your personal style at the door(most of it at least) when you go into work, but in the long run it will benefit you, and help become a more well rounded designer.

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This page contains a single entry by Lucy Michell published on March 24, 2010 3:05 PM.

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