Stylescapes: Your Client's Best Friend

What are Stylescapes?

Curated visual elements(such graphics, images, typography, textures and, colors) that display a unified style. They are not meant to explore all styles but to agree on a specific style. Design vocabulary isn’t universal, and words and descriptions can have drastically different meanings.Many clients want to see examples — “I don’t know what I want, but I’ll know it when I see it.” This can be supremely inefficient for the working relationship. We now choose to design ten different styles of “professional” looking logos or compile styles for three unique stylescapes. Compiling is much more efficient than designing original concepts at this stage.

Requires energy but saves time and money overall, ensuring the designer and client are on the same page. Depending on the scale of the project, we use stylescapes to start on the right foot with our client.

How to Start

You can start by doing a small brand workshop. Listen to the company’s origin story, vision, values, and positioning goals. Though it seems like a long process and a lot of background information to wade through, it really helped develop an aesthetic for the stylescape.

The questions started slow, but my confidence began to build as I probed into the passion of the business and where that passion comes from.

1. The Goal

Sometimes it’s easier to pull information from a client when it’s worded differently. Instead of “What’s the goal of your company?”, you can try “Imagine it’s 2030 and you’re looking back over the launch of your company. What is the most important thing you’ve achieved as a business?”

2. Value Proposition

By asking in-depth questions, you can learn the driving principle of the company. Usually, they are gonna say “make money,” but then you can ask, “What are you trying to bring into the world, into the industry?”

3. Unique Sale Point

The unique selling point is always a hard one to tackle. It involves understanding that the market needs a differentiator.

4. Personality or Brand voice

This might be the hardest but most insightful. It is the soul of the business, and it’s similar to the unique selling point. It’s a way to be different than the competition. The business's personality -especially a small one- is often defined pretty closely by the owner.

5. Positioning Statement

To design the identity, create the stylescape, and identify the target audience, your client will need a positioning statement. You can start with the unique sale point and then focused on the industry and goals.

6. User Personas

For the user, the persona doesn't make any assumptions. Go and actually interview face to face 2–3 potential or existing users. Examine their expressions while they talk or use your client’s solution. Ask them about the pain points and the benefits.

7. Creative Parameters

Lastly, ask your client if they had any design sensibilities or creative parameters. Some clients like specific content, and we should play around with it.