The Language of Graphic Design

Seth Godin posted a great blog recently called Avoiding “I’ll know it when I see it”   http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2012/11/avoiding-ill-know-it-when-i-see-it.html

He raised some very good points, but I’d like to add to his ideas. In addition to creating boundaries, asking for benchmarks, and describing the assignment – don’t forget the language differences that can arise.

It is important to recognize that when speaking to a client about graphic design or branding, or even marketing in general, it is quite likely that you and your client are speaking two separate languages. Just as wine has its own language, so does design! The same red wine can be described as “dry and leaving a weird taste in your mouth” and also as “richly full bodied, with a lingering finish reminiscent of  spiced leather.” The descriptions come from two different tastes, perceptions, and abilities to describe those perceptions. A client’s idea of the colour red may range from candy apple to burgundy.  It is our job to figure out which it is.


As the leader in the design process, it is my job to ask clarifying questions, restate what is said, and keep the ‘jargon’ to a minimum. I know my job is to please the client by sing my graphic designer’s talents to create a product that achieves their goals – but it is also my job to ensure a pleasant experience during the design process. I can ease the stress of translating what they envision into the final product by taking the time up front to clarify language and explain the concepts before they are presented. A little considerate communication in the beginning makes the whole process easier and happier for everyone, especially the client.

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About Lauren Pibworth

Lauren Pibworth is an internet marketing strategist specializing in growing the business of professional speakers. Lauren and her team of graphic designers, web developers and online product and course development and launch specialists work with speakers who want to diversify their revenue streams and move 'beyond the keynote' through smarter marketing solutions, delivered with care.

Lauren (an amateur sommelier) and her husband enjoy fine Ontario wines, great food and travel to exotic, warm destinations where they spend the majority of their time underwater - scuba diving.

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