July 21, 2020

Share a Common Visual Language With Stylescapes

Posted by Sharmarke Hujale

Often there’s a challenge as a designer to have the same visual vision as the client. We have especially trained our eyes to see colors, shapes, forms, types, patterns, etc.

That’s not always the case with the client. The client comes to you to help them. That could be a design for a logo or a website or both.

In your early career as a designer, you would take what comes your way. You ask the client a few questions like what’s the name of your company. What colors do you like and don’t like? What types of logo do you want and how will you describe your brand.

You ask that in a form of a questionnaire or through a message. You go back to create design concepts that you hope your client would love. You send them the concepts and expect great feedback.

The client replies back and tells you that they don’t like the logo for example. The colors are off, the mark looks funny, the typeface is not right. You will find a place where the client becomes the creative director.

What went wrong? You and the client never had the same vision, to begin with. Words can mean different things in terms of images.

You left them in the dark and worked on the concepts alone. They never felt like they were a part of the process. They didn’t feel a sense of ownership.

With vague information about the client’s business and brand. The present work becomes vague as well.

The client’s feedback then becomes vague. And the focus is only about aesthetics and not functionality. You will find yourself doing countless revisions for free.

Why We Need to Have a Shared Visual Language 

A shared visual language helps build excitement and trust.

You and the client can see what the brand could look like. It saves you time when you're in the design phase. That's where Stylescapes come into play.

A stylescape is a design prototype tool. You curate found images from the internet that provides an overview of the visual direction for the business.

The curated images are found through keywords that you extracted from the client through a discovery/strategy phase.

We also attach the client's ideal customer on the stylescape - we design for the audience, not the client.

A stylescape made for Brshh

The stylescapes take place right after a discovery phase that you have done with the client in person or through a conference call.

The purpose of a stylescape is to make the client feel like they are part of the process. That’s why it’s crucial to present them while you can see their reactions.

Not all clients are willing to go through all that. And want to get quickly over with it. Those types of clients can be tedious to work with and would waste your time. Explaining your process to the client early is really important.

The Pros and Cons of Stylescapes

If done correctly it helps the client vision their brand better, visually. Since you’re only curating the images and not creating anything from scratch. It minimized the round of revisions. It will be a lot easier to make adjustments at this stage.

Not only clients, but stylescapes is also great for initiatives

The only cons that I can think of is the learning curve. Not only the curation part but also the way to present a stylescape. Not going to lie. It took me some time to understand it.

But once it’s in your blood. Stylescapes is a game-changing tool to bridge the gap between discovery and design.

To sum it all up

In the beginning, I binge-watched every free video about stylescapes. But if you want to go deep into the topic. I can’t recommend The Futur’s course about stylescapes enough. All the credits go to them.

If you are looking to reduce the countless revisions. And have a more collaborative partnership with your client. Stylescapes must find their way into your design process.

It gives the client excitement and helps you be more clear about what the client wants. Above all — it saves you and the client time and money.


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