War and Marketing
I got the chance to sit in on a networking meeting where Don gave a presentation about marketing and Elliott Design’s approach to marketing. He used the military treatise The Art of War by Sun Tzu as a guideline for marketing principles. As a successful war strategy Tzu wrote that a victorious army in a war would use their resources to gain money for funding during the war efforts. For marketing this means planning out a timeline so that the assets you create in the beginning marketing stages are making the company money in order to pay for the subsequent stages.
As a designer there is no way to separate marketing from design. The designs are always created with a purpose and an audience in mind. If I create something that ultimately doesn’t accomplish it’s purpose then it is a bad design. Form follows function is a phrase thrown around in architecture design but it works for graphic design as well. Only after you consider the function of your design can you really focus on the form it will take. Both a roadside billboard and a business card need to have effective layouts and creative design, but the approach to each function is completely different.
I have been thinking a lot about the audience with my designs. Each person or company I have been designing for has a target audience and I want to make sure that whatever I create is appealing to them. Sometimes it can be difficult to move between projects because I have to be in the mindset of the audience as I critique and design. There are even times where I need to throw out my personal aesthetic preferences in order to make something that is more appealing to the client and their audience. It is difficult, but ultimately I am making something for the client and not myself so it is necessary sometimes. I realize that I am constantly looking back at my notes to make sure that the design is headed where the client wants it to go. Working at Elliott Design has helped me understand this give and take a lot better than I did before.