When I work on a client’s materials, I am both consciously and unconsciously melding a lot of data… Consciously, I remember the things the client has told me, how I perceive their personality and energy in relationship to what they want to create. I know what goals they are trying to achieve and/or what the various impressions are that they can make on their target market and how that might relate to their ideal work/clients/ROI. I may just be making a logo, but living in the back of my mind are many pathways for all their other materials, whether or not I ever get to design them, because no element exists in a vacuum.
Unconsciously I am also reading the energy of the business and the bond between the person and their business. There are probably also personality cues I pick up on that I don’t even register.
All this blends in my process, and it’s so fun to see it play out so differently from client to client as I intuitively narrow down and hone in on options, rule out directions, and juggle my working process to fit the person I am working with. Sometimes I just know a color is wrong for the person… I feel energy on letters and their unique combinations in various fonts and can see them almost like a new outfit on a person, and can “see” how it is right or wrong for the business and its aims. In the back of my mind I am also registering design trends to some degree, and ruling things out just for the mere fact that they “feel” dated.
These are things that designers do all the time, and it amazes me how much of an influence time has on our process and instinctive skills. I can concentrate several hours of work into one or two simply by trusting my gut, and leaning into all the study I’ve done over the years. Following my intuition has been the best business skill I’ve learned for keeping myself and clients happy. I think it especially takes my client satisfaction up several notches, because my work is focused — not on maintaining my own ego — but on really paying attention and finding the ingredients that really fit the client.
Delivering something beautiful doesn’t matter if it doesn’t actually fit the purpose, need, or doesn’t “wear well” on the client.
I pride myself on being an intuitive designer, but I won’t deny a goodly amount of it is just part of the artistic/creative experience… The other half is being good with people and learning how to adjust your methods for the sake of collaboration, something essential in a service-based business.
How have your own processes, internal monologue, and methods evolved in your work? Do you ever stop and notice just how much you have to internalize and then refine to do your work? Can you see your years of experience or intuition at play? Do you trust in it, and when you do, do you find that it carries you further than you could have imagined? How does it help you in making your customers happy, and keeping them knocking on your door?