This is part of a series of posts entitled “WHY BOTHER?” – covering why you should bother with branding and design in your business.

One of the very first things you need to do when you’re working on the design of something is to consider who it’s for. It does you no good to design a website or a brochure without having your client in mind.

Say you sell wedding bouquets. The kind made of buttons. You won’t be targetting EVERYONE. You’ll probably be targetting brides who like things to be a bit quirky, maybe even vintage. So when you’re creating your brochure you’ll need to think about those brides while you’re working on it. You might have photographs styled with vintage dresses or bunting or maybe use retro inspired illustrations to frame your product shots or tie the whole thing up with a ribbon held together with a brooch – or maybe your clients come to you because they are all hay fever sufferers needing an alternative so you would need to mention allergies somewhere. There are a lot of possibilities and what you do will depend very much on who your ideal client is. It’s worth delving into this in as much detail as you can. Which magazines do they read? What cars do they drive? What programmes do they watch? Which social media channels do they use? What brands do they buy?

Do you already have customers? The easy way to find this information out is just to ask them. Send out a quick survey and then when you get new customers take a note of their preferences.

You can also find out quite a lot by looking at who your customers are and drawing comparisons. I have blogged about this before – click here for that post!

If you don’t have customers already then you can start by spending some time day dreaming about who your perfect customer would be. Make educated assumptions, do a survey to get people onto your list who would like to know more about what you do – asking them about their interests, talk to people and see what similarities you can find. Write up a profile for who that person is.

It might be a good idea to ask them what they think you do too. This will give you what you do in your clients words but would also be useful for you to know what they think!

Once you have all this information, what can you do with it?

You can look at how you can appeal to people based on what you know they’re interested in. You can use design to ensure that the user of your product or service is clear. It’s about making sure that your biscuit brand looks like it’s for grown ups to dunk in their tea and not like a snack for kids. Choosing the right colours, fonts and style to appeal to THESE people and not to anyone else. Not that you mind if they’re being bought with pocket money, but that’s not your ideal/ most likely/ perfect customer.

Branding isn’t all about visuals. Maybe your perfect customer is really into Downton Abbey, if you know that then you might want to send out a few relevant tweets so show that your business is on their wavelength. Perhaps they love reading Homes and Antiques, so you might invest in a series of ads in that to get in front of the right people.

Or, it might be that you realise that your current customers are not who you need. Perhaps they’re all freebie-seekers or maybe they just can’t afford you? In which case you’ll need to decide who your ideal client needs to be and target them accordingly.

Design is not just about creating pretty pictures. It’s about creating visuals with purpose.

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