We have to begin with strategy. It‘s crazy to try and build your communications without understanding in detail what needs to be communicated. We need a blueprint. Because our design work is always driven by communicating, we take Phase 01 to talk with your key people and distill you brand essence. This entails working with you to sort out positioning and collaboratively define your prioritized hierarchy of core messages. Since messaging is never in a vacuum, another important part of this process is understanding the segmentation of your audience and what their needs, desires, frustrations are. We then match these components up and begin to work on the best ways (visually, linguistically, experientially) to articulate them. This results in a brand map – an outline of prioritized messages matched with audience segments.
We discuss design direction, look at reference material (usually other people in your space) and make determinations about approach. Key to keeping this discussion on track is stepping outside of just looking at design from the perspective of personal preferences and stepping into the place of the intended user to make for the most appropriate fit for an experience that connects with them.
When we are creating a website, this process produces an information architecture (sitemap) with notes on content segmentation and a brand map that is used internally here at the lab to produce your talking points and make sure everything done in Phase 02 (the design stage) is on target.
Next, we go to Phase 02: Creative.