Critical Aspects of Graphic Design – Research

Robert LaneGraphic Design

Let’s face it, we all live in a world that was designed by someone. We can’t escape it and yet we all have opinions about what we might find in our world. Take for instance can openers. Most of us have used one, and more than that we have probably used one that frustrated us because it was difficult to operate. Maybe it was the way the handle was put together or the fact that a guard of some kind made it impossible to latch onto the top of a can. Regardless someone else out there in the world made the decisions about what and how that can opener is supposed to work. And the utility of that instrument depends greatly on that person’s research or lack thereof.

When it comes to design for any medium it is just as vitally important to employ proper research. Your ultimate goal as a designer is to help your client answer the question, What story do I want to tell? The clients culture and target audience must be identified through research in order to tell the proper story. A story that resonates with that audience and properly conveys your clients culture. A simple way to find an answer to the above mentioned question is to ask more targeted questions. Questions like:

  • WHO do I want to reach with my message?
  • WHAT is my desired outcome?
  • WHEN will the events I am proposing take place?
  • WHERE does my audience need to be?
  • WHY can this help?
  • HOW do I plan to deliver the goods?

The important questions are Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? Finishing off the rest of the question will largely dependent on the type of client for which you are designing. A service based client will obviously require different questions than a product based business. Research is important and should be the first step in a successful design process.

Quick Question:
If I’m not careful, I can be a bit of a procrastinator. Sometimes my best work comes from under the gun. If you don’t mind, tell me your best sources for research and study?