Joshua Conran is the Managing Partner at Deksia.View all articles written by this author
Deksia’s previous brand was very colorful, and very high-end design driven. It was gorgeous and we loved it. The problem was it wasn’t communicating to the people we were trying to reach. We had to suck up our pride and realize that the people we were communicating to weren’t responding to it. Our “why,” to help people, was not being communicated. You, as a business owner, have your own aesthetics and tastes, and it makes sense on paper. You might think as the owner, you can make any decision you want regarding your brand’s design choices and presentation. The problem is that it might not resonate with the clients you’re trying to connect with.
When it comes to working on the creative, design-driven side of your business, I really think it can take years to not infuse the things you’re doing with personal taste. Which may sound weird, but it’s a fine line between what you like and what your consumers respond to. Creating things that don’t address your customers’ desires goes directly against the why, what and how concept laid out by Simon Sinek. When you do the why, what and how, and relate your business back to it, you realize the design choices you’re making are selfish. You have to let your desires go, and it can be really hard to do. It’s really hard for a business owner to do, because when it comes to the visual representation of their brand, they might think, “if I don’t like it, I’m not going to use it.” To tell him or her that what they like as far as design goes ultimately doesn’t matter can be a tough pill to swallow.
Let’s say you’re a dentist, and you need to decide what music you’re going to play in your waiting room. You’ll probably want to play background music that’s unobtrusive, right? But what if you hate that style, and would rather play Metallica and Guns ‘N’ Roses, because that’s what you love. Most people, unless they’re delusional, would probably consider the latter to be a bad choice. Yet when it comes to design, poor brand choices can be harder to discern. It’s the same basic thing, but it’s not as glaring.
If you’re clientele is 75% female, but you’re using extremely masculine typefaces and colors because you’re a male doctor and that’s your taste, it can be hard to tell that it’s an issue that’s keeping customers away. It’s like a ghost. You don’t even notice you’re losing business because the people who aren’t coming don’t consciously realize they’re being turned off. It’s so subtle and subconscious. It’s a gut reaction. All aesthetics are like that.
Going back to the Deksia brand, we had to go back to the drawing board and reevaluate why, how and what we do in order to communicate our message clearly to our audience. We boiled our brand down to black and white…literally. We needed to design a site that spoke to our clients’ needs and desires, and didn’t just impress our design peers. We had to meet our current and potential clients where they live. The best designers might not be showy or winning awards every week: but they’re out there creating great design based on what a client needs and what they can get the client to do. It’s an approach that’s leads to better businesses and greater success.