Signs that You’re Designing for the Wrong Audience and How to Avoid It

It’s not uncommon for graphic designers to share their work or their portfolio online and/or ask for feedback from other designers. After all, it serves you in many ways: you’re able to hone your skills, discover more techniques in developing your personal style, while at the same time, you improve the areas you might not be able to see yourself from other people’s perspectives.

And that is not a bad thing.

However, part of being a good or even excellent designer is knowing his audience and what kind of design that suits them. Getting praise, affirmation, and positive reactions from contemporaries might give a wrong impression that a particular design is for everyone’s taste, which can be problematic, especially when you’re designing for different clients with their own respective audiences. When designing a specific project, remember that the client’s opinion is important to achieving your desired goal substantially and aesthetically speaking. Primarily, it has to function according to the purpose the client intends it to be, in a manner that it will speak to their audience effectively.

Keep these pointers in mind when you are designing for a client and a targeted audience:

Communication is key

Before you begin on the creative phase of the work, you must ask these basic, important questions:

  • What are this project’s goals?
  • What market or demographic do you target primarily?
  • How will you able to create a clear, yet unique concept that will set you apart from your competition?
  • How will you gauge the impact and success of this project?

Don’t overdo it

A good design is not measured or quantified by the techniques you applied or the new, innovative software of style currently out there. “A good design is honest,” said Dieter Rams. “It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept,” he added. And that is essentially correct. Even if taste and style are subjective, an honest design that speaks to its audience effectively is a good design. Keep in mind that not all of our ideas may work well when we apply it, especially if we are designing for design’s sake.

Always keep yourself in line

It’s easier said than done. But it helps a great deal to ask yourself if you are designing just for yourself or for your client’s audience. It’s important to maintain a healthy balance between your creative style and attaining your goals in a way that your client’s opinion of you wouldn’t suffer. Take a deep breath, look over it again, and when your answer is, “Yes, I’m doing it for both,” then you know that you’re in the right track.


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