What techniques or processes do you use to open a client’s mind to broader, more innovative, or unconventional ways of seeing or thinking about their business, products, messages, or identity?

03.15.2010 / Question submitted by: Studio Junglecat

Author: Studio Junglecat 4 replies. Share yours.

Creative Process Discussion

Andrea Cutler:

In a word “samples” (a.k.a. SWIPE) a picture is worth 1000 words. I like to inform my clients thinking by showing design work and solutions that are outside the box of the conventional. Whether it’s my own design or examples of clever promotion done by other designers — in annuals etc, I get the client to start thinking about solutions to promote their brand that exceed the average norm. I love brain-storming with them about various solutions and even have a “client punch list” that I offer to get them thinking about their identity and voice in the marketplace. It is helpful to define the brand and target audience. It lists 10 questions to steer conversation and creative efforts. You would be surprised how many clients don’t consider these basic premises before they hire a designer to help brand them.

My Client Punch List:

  1. What is my product?
  2. Who are my customers?
  3. What is the overall tone of my brand? hip, modern, classic, fresh, tailored, traditional, urban, casual, upscale, trendy, edgy, sophisticated, approachable, exclusive, luxury, non-luxury?
  4. What is my core message?
  5. What are the essential marketing tools I will be using to insure my brand has the right voice and audience?
  6. Who are my direct competitors, and do I want my brand to reflect a similar aesthetic or be positioned apart.
  7. What is my budget for branding/marketing/PR?
  8. What is my timeline?
  9. What materials am I collecting to assist my design team to be inspired, and design my unique marketing vision?
  10. Who are the other professionals I have enlisted to realise my brands full potential? web developers, interior designers, PR specialists, business coaches, and how can I get them all working together for more cohesiveness?




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  1. Isabelle

    Love #10. That part of the conversation doesn’t always happen at the outset. Great to keep top of mind.

  2. 04.10.2010

    Juan Eduardo

    I like to bring some examples of BIG brands that have succeeded by getting out of the box, examples of integrated campaigns that show results, so the client wont think is just a “thing we’ll like to do”, must times i get the “budget wall” but there is always a way.

  3. Walt K

    I work with a lot of big companies, who are usually stuck somewhere at 2.3 on the out-of-the-box scale.

    To unclog the pipes, I go way off the wall and sketch out some ideas that scale about 10.4 or so. A startlingly new voice, disarming candor, scary/edgy, self deprecating funny, whatever.

    They laugh, they nod, they appreciate. Never use them of course, but it does help make other ideas seem less outrageous. Nudges the needle toward a 3 or 4.

    Sort of like swinging a weighted bat to make the real bat seem lighter, he said, mixing metaphors.



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